The District court in the Hague, Netherlands, has made a ruling that may freak you right out of your pants, especially if you believe copyright laws are too often muzzlers of innovation, creation and conversation.  

Embedding, or even linking to, a legitimately-offered live stream of a radio broadcast is now illegal in that country.

The ruling came in a court case Dutch copyright enforcement agency Buma/Stemra brought against two websites with the same owners, Nederland.fm and Op.fm. Nederland.fm embeds the official streams of radio stations on their site, while Op.fm links to them.

Buma/Stemra argued that by carrying the embeds and the links on their sites, the websites’ owners were “publishing” them without recompense. Pirating them, in other words. Note that the owners did not capture the broadcasts and host them on their own servers. They linked to and embedded the freely available, free, official streams from the stations.

This provides a precedent for any other instance in which a website has linked to the media of any other company, not just in Holland, but in courts across the European community.

The decision contains a number of actions the defendants must now take, according to Nathalie Falot on Future of Copyright.

“The owner of the two radio platforms was ordered to cease the exploitation of his services within a month after the courts’ ruling, after which a  fine of €1.000,- is imposed for each following day, up to a maximum of €50.000,-. Moreover, the sites have to present Buma/Stemra an overview of revenues and costs in order to establish the damages suffered by Buma/Stemra’s contracting parties.”

The owners could always apply for a radio broadcasting license from the Dutch government, of course.

Photo via Foistclub/Flickr