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Ryanair Ltd v PR Aviation BV: contracts, rights and users in a “low cost” database law

RENOIRThe CJEU’s interpretative work on copyright law issues launched in 2015 with the decision of 15 January in the case of Ryanair Ltd v PR Aviation BV (Case C30/14). The Ryanair ruling is the latest stone added to the complex edifice of legal protection of databases in Europe.

PR Aviation operates a website which allows consumers to search through the flight data of low-cost air companies. It obtains the necessary data to respond to an individual query by automated means, inter alia, from a dataset linked to the Ryanair website.  Access to Ryanair’s website presupposes that a visitor to the site accepts the application of the air company’s general terms and conditions by ticking a box [...]

Danish Court issues website blocking ruling concerning the illegal distribution of replica products

Maria-FredenslundThe first Danish court decision on blocking an infringing website selling replica products was issued on December 11, 2014. It was the Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court that issued the ruling, which orders Danish Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to the online store, Interior Addict. Interior Addict is a website which illegally distributes replica furniture and lamps in Denmark.

Danish right holders and their local content protection organisation, RettighedsAlliancen, have a long history when it comes to website blocking. Right holders have, since the first blocking ruling in 2006, obtained a number of court rulings requiring Danish ISPs to block access to illegal we [...]

Publication: The variable scope of the exclusive economic rights in copyright

B_KLI003_16 INFO 31 Depreeuw.inddThe book “The Variable Scope of the Exclusive Economic Rights in Copyrightrecently published in Kluwer’s Information Law Series is the result of my doctoral research (which led to a doctoral dissertation defended at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2011).  This article provides an overview of the research described in the book, followed by a more detailed description of some of the key subjects covered.

Overview of the Book

Originally, the starting point of the research was the observation that in a digital always “ON” world some acts are protected under copyright, while the same acts are not in the analogue world.  Take searching for information as an example:  in the analogue w [...]

France: Do members of collecting societies retain the right to sue?

Brad-SpitzArticle L.321-1 paragraph 2 of the French Intellectual Property Code (‘IPC’) provides that collecting societies are entitled to take legal action to defend the rights for which they are responsible under their articles of association (by-laws). Collecting societies may therefore take legal action to defend their repertoires and those of foreign collecting societies that they manage, whether before the civil courts (Supreme Court, 22 March 1988, 86-11874) or the criminal courts (Supreme Court, 25 October 1988, 86-91720). In its judgment of 13 November 2014 (13-22401), the French Supreme Court answered a very important question: do authors who are members of collecting societies retain the [...]

Happy Public Domain Day

Emilie KannekensWhen it comes to copyright it is a game of all or nothing. During the term that a copyright exists, the owner of a copyright has a monopoly on the work due to the exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution and communication to the public. When the copyright protection expires and the work enters the public domain, all exclusive rights vanish and the former copyright owner is left empty-handed.

On January 1st 2015, the works of the world-famous Dutch artist Piet Mondriaan (along with several other significant artists including Edvard Munch, best known forthe scream) fell into the public domain. The colourful grid work paintings that Mondriaan is so well known for, can now, in prin [...]

Switzerland: ETH document delivery service, Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, 4A_295/2014, 28 November 2014

The document delivery service of ETH Zurich (scanning individual articles and sending them by email to the users) is covered by the exception for private use (Art. 19 CopA), as a person entitled to make copies of a work for private use (Art. 19 al. 1 CopA) may also have them made by libraries and sent by email (Art. 19 al. 2 CopA). Such a service is not in direct competition with the publishers’ services (publishers’ pay-platform), as the library may merely scan individual articles on request, but shall not provide an entire online database. This reverses the decision of the Zurich Commercial Court of 7 April 2014.

A full summary of this case has been published on Kluwer IP Law

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Latvia: Authorship as a legal fact, District Court of Zemgale, Riga, C31338513, 30 October 2014

The Court rejected B’s application to establish his authorship of a film as a legal fact.  Under Copyright Law no registration or other formalities are required to enjoy copyright protection. It follows that a person owns copyright upon creating a work and there are no special documents certifying the authorship. Therefore a court cannot turn into a copyright registry by establishing legal facts of authorship.

A full summary of this case has been published on Kluwer IP Law.

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Switzerland: The library’s document delivery service (scanning and sending journal articles by email to users) complies with copyright law

Yani-BenhamouIn a battle between the Zurich Eidgenössischen Technischen Hochschule (ETH) and three publishers (Elsevier, Springer, Thieme), the Zurich Commercial Court, in its decision of 7 April 2014, prohibited the library from providing a document delivery service (scanning and sending journal articles by email to the users). The Supreme Court reversed this ruling, in its decision of 28 November 2014 , and agreed with the ETH that such a service complies with copyright protection and may continue to be provided.

According to the Supreme Court, the library may rely on the exception for private use (Art. 19 CopA): users, who are entitled to make copies of journal articles for private use (Art. 19 (1) C [...]

Publication: Guide to Copyright in France

BSBookI am happy to announce the release of my book Guide to Copyright in France – Business, Internet and Litigation.

French copyright law is one of the most original and dynamic copyright systems at this time. This book is a practical and straightforward guide to how copyright works in France: protection, ownership, assignment agreements, collective management, and litigation. This guide is divided into six chapters (see table of contents):

Chapter 1 ‘Subsistence of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights’ explains the conditions of protection of works such as photographs, audiovisual works, architecture, conceptual art, computer programmes, videogames, databases, etc. and the conditions of protect [...]

Thus bad begins and worse remains behind: Google News closes to Spanish media

pedro-letaiOn December 16, search engine giant Google started excluding stories from Spanish news media on its Google News service. The Californian internet company has taken the decision in the wake of the so-called ‘Google tax’, which forms part of the Spanish government’s new Copyright Act, due to go into force on January 1, 2015. The legislation requires Google and other news aggregators to start paying ‘fair compensation’ to publishers for the reproduction of their content.

Spain has thus become the first country in the world in which Google has closed its news service to media outlets. As a consequence of the measure, links to all Spanish media articles will be removed from the service globally [...]

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