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IViR Anniversary Conference (Information Influx), 2-4 July 2014

Although the actual founding of the Institute for Information Law is shrouded in myth and mystery, in 2014 it will be 25 years ago that IViR was officially established as a research centre at the University of Amsterdam. IViR’s 25th birthday will be celebrated next year in Amsterdam from 2 to 4 July, with a major international conference on the myriad challenges facing information law today: Information Influx.

When IViR was set up a quarter of a century ago, the digital transition was only just underway. Since then, our societies have been undergoing enormous changes in the modes of expression, organization and (re)use of information. Traditional roles of producers, intermediaries, users an [...]

Goodbye, Geschriftenbescherming!

Bernt-HugenholtzBesides tulips, cheese, football and other recreational matters, the Netherlands are famous for its copyright protection of non-original writings. Geschriftenbescherming, as the Dutch call this legal anomaly (and only they know how to pronounce it), is a remnant of an ancient eighteenth-century printer’s right that lives on until this day in the Dutch Copyright Act of 1912. Deviating from the idea of author’s right (droit d’auteur) to which Dutch law otherwise subscribes, the Dutch Act protects ‘writings’ that do not meet the test of originality. Article 10 (1), first item, of the Act, mentions as protected subject matter ‘books, brochures, newspapers, periodicals and all other wri [...]

European Copyright Society issues opinion on Svensson hyperlinking case

Bernt-HugenholtzThe European Copyright Society, a group of prominent European scholars, today issued an opinion on the Svensson case (Case C-466/12), which is currently before the European Court of Justice. The case, which was referred to the Court by the Swedish Court of Appeal (Svea hovrätt) on 18 October 2012, raises the important question whether setting a hyperlink to a copyright protected work amounts to ‘communication to the public’ within the meaning of Article 3(1) of the Information Society Directive.

In a detailed, 17-page opinion the European Copyright Society argues that the answer to this question should be a resounding no. According to the Society, “The importance of this particular re [...]

A Century of Dutch Copyright Law

On September 23, 1912, the Dutch Copyright ActAuteurswet – was enacted. A century after its enactment the Dutch law is one of the world’s oldest ‘living’ acts of the author’s rights tradition. While the Act has seen many small and large amendments since its adoption in 1912, it has never been thoroughly revised, so its conception and basic structure have remained essentially intact.

On August 31, 2012, the Dutch Copyright Society (Vereniging voor Auteursrecht) will celebrate the Act’s hundredth anniversary with a large international conference to be held in Amsterdam at the beautiful Royal Tropical Institute (Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen). The conference will look at [...]

The InfoSoc Directive Ten Years After

On May 22 of this year Directive 2001/29/EC was exactly 10 years old – a birthday largely gone unnoticed. The ‘Copyright Directive’ or ‘Information Society Directive’ (for experts: ‘InfoSoc Directive’) marked an important stage in the process of harmonization of copyright and related rights in the European Union. In contrast to earlier directives that dealt with distinct – mostly technology driven – issues , such as computer software, databases, satellite and cable television, this directive sought to harmonize the main rights and limitations in a largely technology-neutral way.
The main aim of the Directive, as stated in its recital no. 4, was to foster creativity and grow [...]

Europe 1 – Premier League 0

In its groundbreaking judgment of 4 October 2011 the Court of Justice of the European Union has essentially legalized the import, sale and use of foreign satellite television decoder cards. The judgment, which was given in two joined (originally British) cases, concerned decoder cards that provide access to encrypted satellite transmissions from Greece of British Premier League football matches. Foreign decoder cards such as these are widely sold and used in the United Kingdom, both for private viewing and in public houses, for they provide access to televised Premier League football at substantial lower cost than in the British domestic market.

In response to a request for a preliminary rul [...]

O No, Not Again: Term Extension

Bad news from Denmark. According to an official press release, the Danish government has changed its position and now endorses the European Commission’s proposal to extend the term of protection for sound recordings. Since Denmark was part of a fragile blocking minority in the European Council, there is a danger now that the EU Presidency (Hungary) will try to push through the proposal within a matter of weeks.

After having been adopted in amended form by the European Parliament almost two years ago, the proposal has stalled in the Council, facing fierce opposition from a bloc of mainly Northern and Eastern European countries. Why Denmark has deserted this blocking minority is unclear. But [...]

Football, Decoders and Territoriality in Copyright

The football leagues in Europe seem to be on a losing streak in Luxembourg. On February 17 the European Court of Justice pronounced that Member States may reserve television coverage of FIFA World Cup events to free-to-air public broadcasters, on the basis of nationally drawn-up lists of ‘events of major importance’, as defined in the former Television without Frontiers Directive (joint cases T 68/08, T-55/08, T-385/07). Two weeks earlier, an opinion of Advocate-General Kokott was issued in two joint cases that spell even more doom for the football associations (joint cases C 403/08 and C 429/08), and which might have even broader ramifications for the law of copyright in the EU in gener [...]

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