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ECJ: Auction houses may transfer cost of artist’s resale royalties to the buyer

Brad-SpitzAn auction house may transfer the responsibility of paying the artist’s ‘droit de suite’ from the seller to the buyer.

This judgment, rendered by the European Court of Justice on 26 February 2015 in response to a reference from the French Supreme Court, will satisfy the auction houses and art dealers in Europe (Christie’s France SNC v Syndicat national des antiquaires, Case C-41/14). The ECJ has held that under Article 1(4) of Directive 2001/84/EC on the resale right for the benefit of the author of an original work of art, the seller or an art market professional involved in a transaction may agree with any other person, including the buyer, that the said other person will bear the [...]

Spain: APM v. SGAE, Spanish National Competition Commission, Resolution S/0460/13, 6 November 2014

In a recent decision, the Spanish Market and Competition Commission (CNMC), imposed a fine of 3.1 million Euros on the Spanish collecting society, SGAE, for demanding an excessive fee for concert licensing.

This decision is of particular interest because the Spanish competition authority has taken a new approach when interpreting the European law on the method of analysing the fairness of a fee.  This could lead to considerable uncertainty if this line of interpretation should become established.

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

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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, [...]

Italy: Buma di Paolo Buscema v Data Bridge, Supreme Court of Cassation of Italy, 13524/2014, 13 June 2014

The Italian Supreme Court confirmed that software which derives from a pre-existing computer program is eligible for copyright protection provided it demonstrates a minimal level of originality, even if it reproduces the main structure of the pre-existing program.

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

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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 [...]

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