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Blocking Marrakesh: an argument based on a house of cards

Ana-Ramalho Back in April 2014, following the Council’s authorization, the EU signed the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled (“Marrakesh Treaty”). Under the Treaty, parties are to adopt copyright exceptions to facilitate access to formats of works accessible to persons who are blind, visually impaired, or print disabled. Countries must moreover provide for the cross-border exchange of accessible-format works.

There were however no less than 7 Member States that considered that the Treaty fell under an area of shared competence between the EU and the Member States. According to the opposing Member State [...]

It takes one to tango? The ever-expanding EU exclusive competence in IP-related treaties

anaramalho“With the decision in case C-114/12, the Court is now placing emphasis on the hypotheticals by holding that the mere possibility of an international agreement impacting the EU acquis is enough to rule out Member States’ intervention, making the EU exclusively competent to conclude this type of agreement.”

On 4 September 2014, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) delivered its ruling in case C-114/12 – Commission and Parliament v. Council, concerning a decision of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States. The decision authorized the Commission to participate in the negotiation for a Convention on the protection of the rights of broadcasting organiz [...]

The TTIP-gate: a tale of access to documents, secrecy and EU powers

Ana-Ramalho“The Court added a cherry on top of the transparency cake.”

It is no secret that secrecy in the TTIP negotiations has been bothering several sectors of civil society (apologies, but the links to back this up were too many to insert here). Just last week, the Court of Justice has issued a decision in Case C-350/12  that sheds further light into this matter.

The case concerns a dispute over access to a document – the opinion of the Council’s Legal Service covering certain aspects of the opening of negotiations on an international agreement to make available to the United States some financial data. One of the elements of this document is an analysis of the legal basis and the respect [...]

The EU mandate to negotiate the TTIP: should copyright be an outcast?

anaramalho“It is not the European Parliament that officially determines the scope of the negotiating mandate, although its position now can certainly give a sign regarding the political winds that await the TTIP agreement.”

The EU and the US have been holding talks on a trade agreement that goes by the name of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Apparently, it is both parties’ intention to include a chapter on intellectual property, which has caused a lot of ACTA-related bells to ring. Regardless of the (de)merits of including an IP chapter in the TTIP, the specific mandate regarding copyright aspects is (still) unknown.

The Committee of International Trade of the European Par [...]

EU: Playing Sherlock, or spotting copyright consequences in patent cases

anaramalho“The most obvious one is the fact that, if enhanced cooperation is permitted in the area of creation of unitary titles, then a similar solution could be envisaged for copyright.”

Last month, the CJEU came to a decision in joined cases C-274/11 and C-295/11, where the claims of Spain and Italy against enhanced cooperation for the creation of a unitary patent were dismissed. Did this blogger just take the wrong exit on the IP interstate and arrived in patent city? Not really. While this is a patent decision, some of its splinters might indeed land in copyright town.

In a nutshell, 25 Member States of the EU decided to establish enhanced cooperation between them in the context of creating a [...]

Murder they wrote – the Dutch kill ACTA

As readers of this blog might recall, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has spurred fierce criticisms across Europe. Probably as a consequence of that, the EU has suspended the ratification process and, last 4th of April, the College of Commissioners has agreed on the wording of a question to refer to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU): “Is ACTA compatible with the European Treaties, in particular with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union?”.

The Dutch decided not to wait for any European move and struck ACTA down. On the 29th of May, the Dutch Parliament approved three resolutions that oppose ACTA or any future similar agreement (a translate [...]

The Donner case: when EU law meets copyright law

“It can be argued that the Commission looks at this type of decisions as a mandate to legislate, at least to a certain extent. The possibility of further harmonization based on a possible CJEU decision cannot therefore be ruled out.”

On 29 March 2012 the Advocate General (AG) Jääskinen delivered his Opinion in Case C-5/11 – Criminal proceedings against Titus Donner. The case concerns Dimensione, a company located in Italy, which sells copies of well-known pieces of furniture. In Italy, these items are either not protected by copyright law or copyright in them is unenforceable in practice. However, Dimensione sells the items to German costumers, and in Germany  those items are protec [...]

Is secrecy the new black in IP?

Secrecy might be the new black for the ones using it. However, the rules introduced by the Lisbon Treaty and the rising public awareness of the need for transparency might mean that such fashion will be outdated soon in Europe.

In the last couple of years, relevant laws and international agreements in the field of intellectual property have been shrouded in secrecy. A very recent example is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), dubbed ACTA 2.0. It is a trade agreement between Singapore, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei, Australia, Peru, Vietnam and the United States, which includes a chapter on intellectual property. The relevant intellectual property provisions were arguably discussed in secret th [...]

Ten years InfoSoc: a small note from a biased attendee to the conference

Last Friday, 13 January 2012, the conference “InfoSoc @ Ten: Ten Years after the EU Directive on Copyright in the Information Society” took place in the European Parliament. The conference, organized jointly by the IViR (University of Amsterdam) and the CRIDS (University of Namur), had an ambitious goal: to evaluate the achievements of the Information Society Directive and to discuss the next steps towards fostering creativity in the digital age (more details on the programme can be found here).

There were too many interesting (and opposite) views  being discussed, and the space available in a blog post can hardly begin to report on those.  Some  issues, however, are worthy of note. T [...]

Winds of Change or Delusional Optimism?

Copyright policy strategies at the EU level have been criticized by many, mainly academics. Critiques include, but are not limited to, the fact that copyright legislation tends to favour more the intermediaries and less the individual creator; or that the interests of users have been lost somewhere along the way. However, a couple of recent developments might indicate that the scepticism is working its way into EU institutions.

First there was the Resolution on the EU-US Summit of 28 November 2011, adopted by the European Parliament on 17 November 2011. There, at point 26, the Parliament stresses “the need to protect the integrity of the global Internet and freedom of communication by refr [...]

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