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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 [...]

Historic conviction of the administrators of a downloads site: Youkioske Judgment handed down by the Spanish National High Court (Criminal Chamber) on 5 March 2015

Patricia MariscalOn 5 March 2015, the Spanish National High Court convicted the administrators of the website Youkioske of an aggravated intellectual property offence and of promoting and establishing a criminal organisation.  The judgment can be deemed ‘historic’ since it is the first time that the operators of a downloads site have faced a penalty of this magnitude – no less than 6 years’ imprisonment, a fine equivalent to a period of 20 months at a rate of 10 Euros per day, disqualification from operating websites professionally for a period of five years and the attachment of the almost 200,000 Euros that had been made from the unlawful activities.  It does not end there, however, for the guilt [...]

Russia’s New Anti-piracy Law. Throwing the Baby out with the Bath Water?

Svetlana YakovlevaOn 1 May 2015 a new, second, ‘anti-piracy’ law [1] will take effect in Russia. This law amends the provisions on preliminary interim blocking injunctions for intermediaries introduced by the first anti-piracy law, which took effect on 1 August 2013.

In the opinion of this blogger, the new law, like its predecessor, will barely affect internet piracy in Russia. It is not a secret that both providers and consumers of pirated content are well equipped to circumvent the injunctions. But what about the ordinary internet users, i.e. innocent website owners? The provisions of both anti-piracy laws are so ambiguous, and procedures for introducing and enforcing injunctions are so straightforward [...]

Austria: UPC-Telekabel II/kino.to, Supreme Court of Justice of Austria, 4 Ob 71/14s, 24 June 2014

On June 24, 2014, the Austrian Supreme Court ruled that the Austrian internet service provider UPC Telekabel Wien GmbH must block access to copyright infringing websites.  The Supreme Court noted that, in accordance with the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Case C-314/12, such an injunction leaves its addressee to determine the specific measures to be taken in order to achieve the result sought. This way the internet service provider can choose to put in place measures which are best adapted to the resources and abilities available to him and which are compatible with the other obligations and challenges which he will encounter in the exercise of his activity.

A [...]

Why the reform of the Spanish law has been contested in the Spanish Constitutional Court

Pablo HernandezThe latest large-scale reform of the Spanish Copyright Act was published on 5 November 2014.  The key aspects of the reform are discussed here.  The bulk of the opposition to the reform contends that two provisions of the Act, namely, the new regulation for private copying and the imposition of a “one-stop shop” system, breach the Spanish Constitution.    

The current Spanish governing party decided as soon as they came to power, at the end of 2011, to abolish private copy payments by consumers in Spain in order to fulfil a campaign pledge to voters.  Since no one wanted to make private copying into an illegal practice, the solution was to keep the copyright limit and to add the [...]

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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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 [...]

Filtering away infringement: copyright, injunctions & the role of ISPs

KCB-IViR-Influx-Panel-Filtering

“The underlying key question – can technology solve this problem and, if so, should technology be allowed to determine law? – remains unanswered.”

On 2-4 July 2014 Information Influx, the 25th anniversary conference of the Institute for Information Law (IViR) was held in Amsterdam.

As part of the conference, on the morning of Thursday, 3 July a panel entitled Filtering away Infringement: Copyright, Injunctions and the Role of ISPs was held. The panel was set up as a mini mock trial of a topic that has been especially controversial in the area of online copyright infringement in recent years, particularly in Europe: that of injunctive orders imposed on internet intermediaries for the [...]

Italy: the take-down notice must contain the specific YouTube URLs

spedicato“A take-down notice which generically refers to the titles of the infringing videos, without specifically indicating their URLs, is not sufficient to determine the “actual knowledge” of the hosting provider.”

On May 5, 2014, the Distric Court of Turin has given a preliminary ruling on the proper content of the take-down notices in copyright infringement disputes. Although the decision is not completely surprising (see, in this regard, this ruling of the Distric Court of Rome, 11 July 2011), it sets the standard for copyright holders on how to draft a take-down notice to be notified to a ISP.

Background

The action has been brought by Delta TV, an Italian company which produces and d [...]

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