Well, hot links aren’t just a topic for food blogging: The disputes over sites that hyperlink to others that may be infringing have now been put before high judicial authorities in Europe. The Court of Justice of the European Union has received a request for a preliminary ruling from a Swedish court, the Svea hovrätt, concerning linking, a practice of embedding hyperlinks in websites to other sites with infringing material. The pending Swedish case, Nils Svensson, Sten Sjögren, Madelaine Sahlman, Pia Gadd v Retreiver Sverige AB (Case C-466/12),  concerns a third party subscription search engine linking to infringing material.  The request to the CJEU asks four questions which are simplified here courtesy of the 1709 Blog: 1. Does linking constitute communication to the public?; 2. Does it matter if the website being linked to imposes restrictions on access on its users? (It’s unclear from the questions what these restrictions on access are in this case, however they are likely to be the website’s T&Cs or paywalls requiring subscription.); 3. Should there be a legal distinction between linking and framing?; 4. Can a Member State expand the meaning of “communication to the public” to cover more than is set out at Article 3(1) of the InfoSoc Directive? In the United States, the oracular Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court Court of Appeals wrote in a ruling in Augustthat linking doesn’t constitute infringement. More on that and the opinion can be found via this link here, The British government awaits a decision in its high court NLA v Meltwater before it legislates to clarify existing copyright law pertaining to the issue. Although the Berne Convention and the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights, aka TRIPS, promote an international conformity in intellectual property law, there is no requirement that countries do so.