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Tank Man hits the Constitutional Court

bielik-photoRegular readers of this blog will be familiar with an earlier decision by the Slovak Supreme Court about unauthorised use of a famous Tank Man picture in the Slovak media. The case has now hit the Slovak Constitutional Court, thus providing it with the first ever opportunity to discuss the interface of copyright and freedom of expression. And it is very interesting reading.

Some background first. In 1968, when Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia following the Prague Spring, the Tank Man picture was splashed across the front page of major newspapers globally. It was taken by a young photographer, Ladislav Bielik, and showed a bare-chested man in front of the occupiers’ tank who was ready to be sho [...]

CJEU: Mere Accessibility of Websites Enough for Jurisdiction

Martin HusovecIs the mere accessibility of a copyright infringing website sufficient to establish jurisdiction in a Member State? The Court of Justice of the European Union says a resounding “yes” in Pez Hejduk C-441/13.

The decision does not come as a big surprise, given the earlier (in)famous Pinckney C-170/12 ruling (reported on this blog here) – the ruling which many were refusing to believe was true. But it is. Pez Hejduk clears up any doubts.

Ms Hejduk is an author of photographic works depicting the buildings of the Austrian architect, Georg W. Reinberg. The defendant – EnergieAgentur – used Ms Hejduk’s photographs on its “.de” website. Taking the view that her copyright had been infringed, [...]

EU: Does Innoweb hinder innovation on the web?

Martin Husovec“The activity of the operator of a dedicated meta search engine (…) comes close to the manufacture of a parasitical competing product.”

Christmas somewhat overshadowed the publication of a particularly interesting CJEU decision: case C-202/12 (Innoweb), dealing with the legal protection of databases in relation to meta search engines. The judgment was published on 19 december 2013.

The preliminary questions referred to the CJEU arose in Dutch civil proceedings against Innoweb, a company that operates the dedicated car meta search engine ‘GasPedaal’ (literally ‘accelerator pedal’), which enables users to simultaneously carry out searches in several collections (databases) of ca [...]

Czech Supreme Court: Embedding is communication to the public

Martin HusovecIn February this year, the Czech Supreme Court ruled that a mere posting of an embedded link that links to copyright-protected material, must be regarded as a communication to the public and therewith as a direct copyright infringement. The Court was either unaware of pending cases in Luxembourg, or too impatient to wait for the CJEU. Paradoxically, whatever the response of CJEU in BestWater C-348/13 will be, the Czech court cannot be said to be wrong with regard to the direct infringement issue.

A few weeks ago, the Czech Constitutional Court (III. ÚS 1768/13) rejected a constitutional complaint of a young man, who was found guilty of copyright infringement by all court instances, includin [...]

Tank Man wins copyright dispute in Slovakia

bielik-photo“A young photographer, Ladislav Bielik, did what came naturally. He raised his camera and shot back.”

Last week, people in Slovakia and Czech republic were commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of  former Czechoslovakia. In August 1968, about 500,000 Soviet troops and most of their Warsaw Pact allies invaded Czechoslovakia, with tanks to halt political liberalization in the country.

Shots were fired also on the Safarikovo Square near where the old bridge crosses the Danube. A 17-year-old girl died. Citizens screamed, cried, fainted. “Socialism with a human face” was over. A young photographer, Ladislav (Laco) Bielik, did what came naturally. He raised his camera [...]

Dr. Ludsky and the preliminary injunction

The second season of the popular Slovak TV series “Dr. Ludsky” was enjoined from being distributed and communicated to the public after authors of the film treatment filed for a preliminary injunction.

Dr. Ludsky is a “Dr. House-style” Slovak series that became quite popular in the last two years. The series as such is based on a work of co-authorship of the authors Stanislav Dančiak and Roman Olešák (original authors), who created the entire characters, environment of the series, its plot and entire film treatment for the first season of the series. They exclusively licensed their work to Slovenská produkčná a.s., the production house of TV JOJ, the second biggest commercial TV ch [...]

Newspaper articles not creative enough. An issue for the CJEU?

On the first week of January, media and blogs extensively reported about a Slovak ruling of the Regional Court in Bratislava, which denied copyright protection on newspaper articles. In fact, the court assessed only three articles submitted as evidence, and of course, did not deny copyright protection in general. On the other hand, it quite strictly applied the classical Slovak, and formerly Czecho-Slovak, doctrine of originality. ECOPRESS v. STORIN is therefore a case about different originality standards and their testing.

The story. Publisher of the Economic Daily (Hospodárske Noviny), ECOPRESS, a.s., sued one of the biggest monitoring agencies, STORIN, for copyright infringement, claim [...]

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