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UK Damages for Copyright Infringement: More than Flagrancy?

By Jeremy Blum and Luke Maunder, Bristows

Blum_Jeremy2A recent decision in the UK Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court (IPEC) provides some helpful guidance on the application of the ‘user principle’ and, more importantly, on the interplay between damages for flagrant infringement under s.97(2) of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) and damages under Article 13 of the IP Enforcement Directive (Directive 2004/48).  The case is Absolute Lofts South West London v Artisan Home Improvements (read the judgment in full.)

Both parties were engaged in roof loft conversions, although geographically they were not competitors.  Artisan had admitted to using 21 photographs of loft conversio [...]

Incidental Inclusion of Works – Mere Incidental Relevance of the Exception according to the German Bundesgerichtshof

Jan Bernd NordemannCase I ZR 177/13 of November 17, 2014: Moebelkatalog [Furniture Catalogue] published here.

According to a recent ruling of the German Highest Civil Court, the Bundesgerichtshof (“BGH”), the copyright exception for “incidental inclusion of a work or other subject matter in other material” (Article 5 (3) lit. i) Copyright Directive 2001/29) has to be interpreted narrowly. It is the first decision of the BGH on this copyright exception. The BGH did not refer the case to the CJEU, but thought its opinion was acte clair.

Facts of the case

The case name “Moebelkatalog” [Furniture Catalogue] refers to the furniture catalogue at issue in this case, published by the defendant, a manufactu [...]

Poland: Plagiarism, Supreme Court of Poland, V CSK 125/14, 23 January 2015

The Polish Supreme Court held that the use of elements of a work of authorship, which are widely known and available (in the public domain), in another work in which those elements were combined in a different way, constitutes an expression of individual creative thought, and cannot therefore be regarded as an infringement of copyright in the first work (plagiarism).

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

Portugal: TV sets in hotel rooms, Court of Appeal of Lisbon, 163/14.8YHLSB.L1-6, 27 December 2014

The installation of TV sets in hotel rooms, which show videograms through the TV signal distributed by a cable operator, constitutes a public performance and the making available to the public of those videograms.  Consequently, authorisation is required from concerned rightholders and equitable remuneration is payable under the relevant provisions of the Code of Copyright and Related Rights (Articles 178(1)(a) and 184(2)(3)).

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

Poland: Appropriate remuneration for an author, Court of Appeal of Kraków, I ACa 1420/14, 30 December 2014

In determining the amount of remuneration that an author might obtain for the copyright in his photographs, it was necessary to determine the remuneration that he would have received if the person who violated his rights had entered into an agreement with the author concerning the use of the work. Such a determination should be based on the remuneration rates in the photography market, taking into account the quality and the possible usage of these photos.

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

Freedom of panorama: what copyright for public art and architectural works?

Lilla MontagnaniThe relationship between copyright and public art has always been difficult. From the initial reluctance to include architectural works as copyrightable subject matter because of their functional dimension, to the attempt at copyrighting works that, like the Egyptian pyramids, have never been protected (see here), passing on through the cases of “duplitectural marvels”. Moving beyond the question of why, when in China, we would want to visit the Austrian town of Hallstatt, these trends do say something. They show that we have entered into the age of repeatability for architecture, as recently demonstrated by the copy of Zaha Hadid’s Wangjing Soho that has been built in Chongqing. On t [...]

Bulgaria: Commercial case No.199 of 2014, Supreme Court of Cassation of Bulgaria, 218, 16 June 2015

The time at which extraction from an electronic database takes place is the time at which the materials being extracted are placed on a medium other than that of the original database, independently of whether they are placed there permanently or temporarily (Case 545/07, Apis Hristovih EOOD v. Lakorda AD, paragraph 45). The time of extraction is essential for civil proceedings for infringement of database rights and the burden to prove this specific moment lies with the claimant (in addition to proving the fact of infringement). In proceedings for infringement of database rights the content of the respective databases should be compared as at the time of claimed extraction.

Where the claima [...]

Third Time Unlucky – the Polish Constitutional Tribunal Axes the Triple Licence Fee

For quite a long time nothing special has been happening in Polish copyright law. Some court decisions here and there (in all fairness unlikely to be called ground-breaking) and some new legislative initiatives (that will be worthy of presenting if eventually passed). However, yesterday (June 23, 2015) the Polish Constitutional Tribunal issued a decision on the art. 79.1 (3 a) of the Polish Copyright Act, declaring the provision unconstitutional. Several facets of the case deserve wider attention and may be relevant in the context of the general discussion on the enforcement of copyright and the desired level of sanctions available in copyright law.

Polish law is very friendly towards copyr [...]

UK: 1967 Ltd v. British Sky Broadcasting Ltd., High Court of England and Wales, Chancery Division, Case No.: HC14C02952, 23 October 2014

This case concerned blocking orders pursuant to s97A of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA). The Court found that there was copyright infringement by both UK users and operators of file-sharing websites, insofar as there was communication of copyright works, the communication was to the public, and the act of communication took place in the UK.  This was the case not only for the websites that allowed users to upload torrent files but also for those that only aggregated links to torrent files on other websites.  Further, the operators of the websites were also held to authorise the infringing acts of their UK users and to be jointly liable for infringements by the users. [...]

UK: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp v. Sky UK Ltd, High Court of England and Wales, Chancery Division, [2015] EWHC 1082 (Ch), 28 April 2015

The claimants, all members of the Motion Picture Association of America holding copyright in a large number of films and TV programmes, were granted a blocking order preventing the use of Popcorn Time, an open source streaming application which used the BitTorrent protocol to download the claimants’ copyright content.

A full summary of this case has been published on Kluwer IP Law and this case is discussed on the Kluwer Copyright Blog here.

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