In Thumbnails III, the German Federal Supreme Court ('BGH') held that the depiction of so-called thumbnails of pictures available from the internet does not constitute an act of copyright infringement, unless the search engine operator had knowledge of the fact that the copyrighted material had been illegally uploaded. The BGH further stressed that, with regard to search engine operators, there is no room for a presumption of infringement. Against the background of previous case-law of the European Court of Justice in hyperlinking cases such as GS Media, this constitutes a significant development. The decision was based on balancing the rights of copyright holders on the one hand, and those of potential users on the other. Also considered was the impact on the functionality of the internet, and the need for a 'search pictures' option. Please refer to the full article by Dr. Anette Gärtner and Iris Kruse for further commentary.
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