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France: TF1, Court of Cassation of France, First Civil Law Chamber, 13-22401, 13 November 2014

In this judgment, the French Supreme Court ruled that an author who is a member of a collecting society may not take action in infringement cases to protect his economic rights, except in the case of a deficiency on the part of said collecting society.

In the same judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that publishing agreements for the assignment of rights of an author must be in writing, and it is not possible to demonstrate the existence of an agreement by reference to the behaviour of the authors as regards the exploitation of the work.

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

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Czech Republic: “Bike Shop v. Masters of Sound”, Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic, II. ÚS 3076/13, 15 April 2014

In a case concerning the use of a radio set in a small bike shop, the Constitutional Court ruled that in order to assess whether a user is making a communication to the public, the situation of the specific user and of all the persons to whom he communicates the protected works must be assessed.

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

 

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The Dutch courts apply UsedSoft to the resale of eBooks

Portret SabaOn 20 January, the Dutch court of appeals (Hof Amsterdam) gave its preliminary ruling in the case of Tom Kabinet. In this ruling the court had to consider whether the CJEU UsedSoft rationale applies to eBooks as well. Without giving a final judgment, the court indicated that it considers it quite likely that exhaustion of rights, as described in art 4(2) of the Infosoc Directive, also applies to intangible goods, such as eBooks.

Tom Kabinet, a Dutch company, started a business in ‘used’ eBooks. The owner of an eBook can sell his copy through the website of Tom Kabinet. In order to sell used eBooks, the owner needs to declare that he obtained the copy legally, by agreeing to Tom Kabinet [...]

Allposters ECJ Decision: no exhaustion of rights in modifications of the copyright work.

Olivier SasserathIn its recent decision (22 January 2015) in the Allposters case (C-419/13), the ECJ confirmed that exhaustion of the distribution rights does not apply to works that have been modified. The copyright owner can therefore still oppose the distribution of the modified work, even if he had agreed to the distribution of the original work.

The degree of modification needed -or sufficient- to claim that exhaustion of rights does not apply is still uncertain: the ECJ confirmed that if the modification amounts to a new reproduction, the exhaustion of rights will not apply (even if the “original” copy is destroyed in the process of making the new copy). This is the case if the physical medium on w [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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