The bizarre saga known as Garcia v. Google has finally come to end with an eleven judge en banc decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Garcia v. Google, Inc., 786 F.3d 733 (9th Cir. 2015)). That holding came in response to a remarkable, if not astonishing holding by a two to one majority of a Ninth Circuit panel. The en banc hearing, and its result, overturning the panel majority, was not at all surprising. The issue, however, was disturbing enough to have generated the filing of thirteen different amici curiae briefs on behalf of more than forty different purported amici.
While the end result was fully anticipated the case itself raises significant issues a [...]
Since 2012 a multidisciplinary research group at the Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam has been conducting a large-scale empirical study of Alternative Compensation Systems (ACS). In simple terms, ACS are legal mechanisms that for a small monthly fee would authorize non-commercial online uses by individuals, including the downloading and sharing of protected works (such as music, films, and books), while compensating rights holders.
On Saturday, 11th of July, 2015, we will present our results in Amsterdam, and discuss the implications of our findings in three high-profile panels examining the economic, socio-political and legal aspects of ACS . (You can access th [...]
The progressive breakdown of the legal system regulating compensatory remuneration for private copying has given rise to some unusual cases. We consider this to be true of a Spanish Supreme Court judgment of 6 March 2015 which had to rule on whether mobile telephones and memory cards were subject to compensatory remuneration payment, the amount of that payment and the application of the Padawan doctrine. The legislation on which the court was to base its findings was shaky and limited to the general principle governing devices suitable for making recordings. In view of this, the court had to decide on the royalty payable and the Padawan effect on such devices where the damages exceeded [...]
In October 2014 the government introduced a series of changes to the UK’s copyright regime. One change, key to the objective of making copyright law better suited to the digital age, was the introduction of a private copying exception. That exception is now in jeopardy following a successful challenge by the music industry. For the exception to survive ,the government will either have to introduce some form of compensation scheme, or produce evidence which supports its initial conclusion that private copying will cause no more than de minimis harm to copyright owners.
On 1 October 2014, a number of changes were made to the UK copyright regime in the form of new exceptions to c [...]
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 [...]
On June 4th, the US Copyright Office published a report on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization. The report addresses two situations where the current US copyright system may not fulfill its aim to “promote the Progress of Science”: orphan works and mass-digitization. As regards orphan works, the Office notes that a user’s ability to seek permission or to negotiate licensing terms is compromised by the fact that, despite his or her diligent efforts, the user cannot identify or locate the copyright owner. As regards mass digitization – which involves making reproductions of many works, as well as possible efforts to make the works publicly accessible – the Office observes that obtaini [...]
The Court of Turin held that the main idea for a finished work (a TV commercial for the FIAT 500) had been developed in an initial project carried out by the claimant and that this project was the basis for the subsequent authors’ work. Consequently, the commercial was evidentially a development of his original idea. His work was therefore entitled to copyright protection in line with Article 1 of the Italian Copyright Law which protects works ‘whatever their mode or form of expression’ and he was entitled to be named as a co-author of the advertisement.
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. [...]
A former draftsman for an architectural design firm who resigned while working on a project for one of the firm’s clients, a builder, did not infringe the firm’s copyrights in home plans that the draftsman drew while working for the firm and then used to complete the project for the builder, the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans has held (Hunn v. Dan Wilson Homes, Inc., June 15, 2015, Elrod, J.). Nor did the builder engage in copyright infringement. Both the draftsman and the builder had an implied license to use the plans to complete the project. The court also affirmed a district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants on Lanham Act false designation of origin [...]
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.