RealNetworks sues over a hyperlink to freeware

first_imgIt’s safe to say that most people are, to some extent, bargain hunters. Why pay for a product when there’s a cheaper, possibly free, but equally as good product elsewhere? Sounds logical. What happens when you direct people to the cheaper version? In the case of Hilbrand Edskes, you get sued by RealNetworks.The court case concerns a hyperlink to freeware that Edskes had on his website, Codepack.nl. His website hosts links to a number of freeware programs with one of them being Real Alternative, a competitor to RealNetworks’ RealPlayer. RealNetworks alleges that Edskes hosted certain software. This isn’t the case–Edskes only linked to the software in question. Edskes’ computers were confiscated as a result.RealNetworks claims that Edskes failed to remove the link from the site and the company alleges that the reference in the DNS directories existed after February 12, 2010. Yet, the company that confiscated Edskes’ computers confirmed the link’s removal, as did the hosting provider. Despite this confirmation, RealNetworks maintains that the link stayed up for 43 days which translates to €210,000, roughtly $302,000 in damages.Edskes has already racked up €66,000 ($95,000) in legal fees. Should he lose, he will also be required to cover RealNetwork’s legal fees which currently total €75,000, or roughly $102,000. Edskes asserts that DNS caching, which takes a long time, is the reason for the delay.RealNetworks’ decision to pursue Edskes instead of the people behind Real Alternative is deeply concerning. Edskes didn’t make the software, nor did he actually host the software. He only held up an arrow sign to where the freeware actually lived. There’s no real harm in linking to the freeware because the software is available on a number of sites. Edskes is not to blame and most would agree that RealNetworks has the wrong guy.This case has a serious financial burden for Edskes as it has prevented him buying a house. What do you think? Is hosting a link to freeware a crime?via PC Advisorlast_img

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