Website fined for linking to privacy-invading content

French court rules website owner liable for content of external site

The Paris Tribunal last week ruled that a user-generated website had violated the privacy of French actor Olivier Martinez by hosting a hyperlink to an article about him.

The website allowed users to post links to their favourite stories elsewhere on the web, with the most popular ones automatically displayed at the top spot.

The court ruled that website creator and owner, Eric Dupin, was responsible for the content of on the basis that he had made an ‘editorial decision’ by permitting a link to be made to a story on a gossip news site about the actor and his relationship with singer, Kylie Minogue. The court found that the use of the hyperlink was “akin to Eric Dupin writing such a blog himself”.

Dupin, who intends to appeal the decision, was ordered to pay Martinez €1,000 in damages and €1,500 in legal costs. The entire website was taken offline following the action, with Dupin claiming it was impossible to vet all links posted upon the site.

In the same action two bloggers were fined €500 for similarly having violated the actor’s privacy, having linked to the story on their own blogs.