Last week, the European Court of Justice ruled in a preliminary ruling that live streaming of television channels is a ‘communication to the public’ within the meaning of the EU Copyright Directive (Directive 2001/29). Therefore, the website TVCatchup, a free streaming service that offers over fifty channels of UK television on computers, smartphones and other devices connected to the internet, infringes the copyrights of commercial television broadcaster ITV.
To communicate protected works to the public under the Copyright Directive, permission of the right holder is needed. According to TVCatchup, only users with a valid television license are allowed to subscribe to its service. As users [...]
“Yet, in contrast to the legislative measures that had been previously contemplated, this deal is only of a stand-alone character and will not affect the situation of smaller aggregators.”
A while back we reported on the clash between search giant Google and media organisations in, among other countries, France over the former’s news aggregating service Google News. French publishing associations have been demanding the introduction of a ‘snippeting right’ in France which would oblige content aggregators to obtain a license, and thus share revenue, for the privilege of display links to their articles. The underlying idea is that those who profit from the distribution of content sho [...]
The 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 [...]
Copyright law has developed in close connection with technological evolution. This is particularly true of digital technologies, especially the Internet, which, since the mid-1990s, has generated both vast opportunities and enormous challenges for the copyright system. Geographical distance is no longer an obstacle to the dissemination of works, which can now take place at virtually no cost. This has provided creators and their commercial partners with new means to exploit their rights, and it has opened the door to new forms of infringement, some of which have proved difficult to combat. To a large extent these opportunities and challenges relate to the territorial nature of copyright appli [...]
On 15 March 2012 the CJEU has ruled two cases where it had been asked to decide whether producers of phonograms (or the collecting society on their behalf) are entitled to obtain equitable remuneration when a user allows its clients to hear the phonogram by way of background music in a place subject to his control.
The first case, referred by the Court of Appeal of Turin (Italy), involved Società Consortile Fonografici (SCF), the Italian society that collects and distributes to artists and phonogram producers the royalties for the use in public of recorded music, and Mr. Marco Del Corso, a dentist who used to broadcast background music from the radio in the waiting room of his private denta [...]
High Court Chancery Division, 3 February 2012, Football Association Premier League v QC Leisure. Further to a referral to the ECJ on, inter alia, the meaning of “communication to the public” under art. 3 of the Directive 2001/29 (Case C-403/83), the High Court ruled that the showing of broadcasts (football matches) via television screens and speakers in public houses infringes the right to communicate to the public those broadcasts. However, sec. 72 of the CDPA states unambiguously that the act of showing in public of a broadcast does not infringe the copyrights in the films included in it.
“78. In my judgment s.72(1)(c) means what it says. The showing or playing of a broadcast in a public [...]
While holding that “the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many”, Judge Chin argued that the GBS “would simply go too far” as it would “permit the class action – which was brought against defendant Google Inc. to challenge its scanning of books and display of ‘snippets’ for on-line searching – to implement a forward-looking business arrangement that would grant Google significant rights to exploit entire books, without permission of t [...]
In case C 393/09, the ECJ decided that a GUI is not a form of expression of a computer program and cannot therefore be protected by copyright as a computer program under Directive 91/250/EEC. Indeed, that directive protects the forms of expression of a computer program and the preparatory design work capable of leading, respectively, to the reproduction or the subsequent creation of such a program. A GUI is an interaction interface which enables the user to communicate with the program and to make use of its features: it is only an element of the program which does not enable its reproduction, and which does not constitute a form of expression of the latter, either.
Nevertheless, the ECJ con [...]
According to the Austrian Supreme Court, the EU Copyright Directive 2001/29/EC harmonises the right of communication to the public, assuming a consistent European term of publicity. The right of communication to the public is characterised by an element of distance. Therefore, the distribution by a hotel of a broadcast via TV to the TV-sets situated its guest rooms falls under the term of “communication to the public” regardless of the technical way in which the signal is being distributed.
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 [...]