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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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Ireland: Playboy v. EMN, High Court of Ireland, 2014 207 P, 19 February 2015

The plaintiff alleged infringement under the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 (CRRA 2000), breach of trademark, breach of contract, breach of moral rights, breach of confidence and interference with economic relations. The court held that under the statutory claim (s37 and S40 of the CRRA 2000) it is incumbent on the plaintiff to sufficiently mirror the language of the act.  The defendant is entitled to know under what part of the act the claim arises and whether any of the forms of making available under s40 have occurred. The plaintiff was ordered to submit the exclusive licence that it claimed in the works concerned and to reframe their submission using the language of the CRRA 20 [...]

The Netherlands: NSE v. Stichting BREIN, Court of Appeal of Amsterdam, ECLI:NL:GHAMS:2014:3435, 19 August 2014

The Court of Appeals held that a European Usenet Service Provider (‘USP’), ‘NSE’, was excluded from liability for infringement of copyright and neighbouring rights, pursuant to the provisions for mere conduit service providers and hosting service providers in Articles 12 to 15 of Directive 2000/31/EC (The E-Commerce Directive) as implemented into Dutch law. In the context of an Usenet service, an efficient Notice-and-Take-Down procedure is sufficient to establish an expeditious act to remove or disable access to the information in the situation where the USP obtains knowledge or awareness of copyright infringing material. Although NSE was excluded from liability, other measures c [...]

The Netherlands: Photo on YouTube Channel, Court of Appeal of ‘s Hertogenbosch, ECLI:NL:GHSHE:2014:284, IEF 11605 and ECLI:NL:GHSHE:2014:2524, IEF 14082, 29 July 2014

This case in the Court of Appeal of ‘s-Hertogenbosch concerned the use of a photograph of a photo model by two rappers in one of their music videos. The video was uploaded to YouTube after which it was disseminated via their own website’s homepage and their YouTube Channel. Although the rappers were authorised to do so by the photo model in question, they did not have the consent of the photographer, i.e. the rightholder. Consequently, the photographer brought suit against the two rappers on the basis of copyright infringement.

In order to estimate her damages, the photographer provided the Court with an indicative rates list for photography assignments. Although the Court found t [...]

Portugal: Tryptic Shop Deco, Supreme Court of Justice of Portugal, 3952/08.9TJVNF.P1.S1, 17 December 2014

The Supreme Court held that pictures of tryptic paintings, as copyrightable artistic works, cannot be used as decoration of shops and on online catalogues without the authorisation of the owner of the copyright in those paintings.

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

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UK: John Kaldor Fabricmaker v. Lee Ann Fashions, High Court of England and Wales, Chancery Division, [2014] EWHC 3779 (IPEC), 21 November 2014

A claim for infringement of copyright and design rights failed. There was no good reason to reject evidence that the fabric in question was created without sight of the claimant’s fabric; the similarities between the designs were not sufficient to infer that there had been subconscious copying.

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

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Bulgaria: Commercial case No. 3824 of 2014, Court of Appeal of Sofia, 478, 11 March 2015

In this case, the Court of Appeal was required to determine the amount of damages payable when the fact of infringement was ascertained but there was insufficient evidence on the total amount of damages incurred.  The court held that the circumstances related to the type, nature and gravity of the infringement, the lost profit, any moral damages incurred and the revenue gained as a result of the infringement should all be taken into account, in accordance with the equity principle.

In this case, which concerned copyright infringement through the publication of two photographs in two issues of a daily newspaper, the court took into account the following: the significant circulation of t [...]

Popcorn Time – a website blocking order decision with a slightly different flavour

Blum_Jeremy2Another blocking order in the UK, however, this time there was some complexity about the actual acts of infringement. In Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation & Ors v Sky UK Ltd & Ors, the High Court considered the circumstances in which website blocking orders should be granted against websites facilitating the use of a “sophisticated and user friendly” application known as Popcorn Time, which uses the BitTorrent protocol to obtain infringing film and TV content from one or more host websites. Although the court ultimately granted the order on the basis of joint tortfeasance, on the particular facts of this application the court did not consider that infringing acts of communication to [...]

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