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EU Digital Single Market copyright law: “Impressionist”, but not impressive

RENOIROn May 6th, 2015 the European Commission revealed its eagerly anticipated plans for the EU digital single market. The EU Digital Market strategy, which aims to open up digital opportunities for individuals and businesses and enhance Europe’s position as a world leader in the digital economy, is built on three pillars: (1) better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe; (2) creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish; and (3) maximising the growth potential of the digital economy.

As far as copyright law is concerned, the EU digital single market initiative has rapidly emerged as a new [...]

Blocking Marrakesh: an argument based on a house of cards

Ana-Ramalho Back in April 2014, following the Council’s authorization, the EU signed the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled (“Marrakesh Treaty”). Under the Treaty, parties are to adopt copyright exceptions to facilitate access to formats of works accessible to persons who are blind, visually impaired, or print disabled. Countries must moreover provide for the cross-border exchange of accessible-format works.

There were however no less than 7 Member States that considered that the Treaty fell under an area of shared competence between the EU and the Member States. According to the opposing Member State [...]

Flexibility. Is it all a matter of methodology and assumptions?

Image from page 53 of "American Fence, Catalog no. 27" (1915) Benjamin Gibert’s report for the Lisbon Council entitled ‘The 2015 Intellectual Property and Economic Growth Index: Measuring the Impact of Exceptions and Limitations in Copyright on Growth, Jobs and Prosperity’ raised eyebrows in The Netherlands. Not that the conclusion that ‘countries that employ a broadly “flexible” regime of exceptions in copyright also see higher rates of growth in value-added output throughout their economy’ came as a surprise, but no one ever expected The Netherlands to score lower than France on the topic of flexibility in copyright! Really!

How to explain my and other Dutch copyright experts’ dismay at this finding? Would the answer perhaps lie in the methodolo [...]

TV Catchup in CJEU Repeat

Savvides_TheoIn a decision that could have serious implications for websites providing real time streaming of free to air broadcasts, the English Court of Appeal has recently handed down its Judgment in the case of ITV Broadcasting Limited and others v TV Catchup Limited and others [2015] EWCA Civ 204.  The outcome is that the action brought by a number of British free to air broadcasters (ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5) against TV Catchup, an internet TV streaming service, has been referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “CJEU”) for a second time. 

Background

Readers may remember that this case has already been referred to the CJEU (Case C-607/11), who held that the concept of c [...]

Who will C More? Broadcasters, users or unauthorised website portals?

Blum_Jeremy2On 26 March, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed down Case C-279/13 C More Entertainment, the latest decision regarding the right of communication to the public in the context of websites providing links to content. In this particular case, C More provided live broadcasts of ice hockey matches on the Internet for payment of a fee. The defendant created links on its website to the C More live broadcasts and circumvented the paywall thus allowing its users to have live access to the broadcasts.

When the case of C More was initially referred, the fashionable focus on the nature of internet hyperlinks was in full swing. There were already pending references for Svensson  [...]

Everything you always wanted to know about private copying but were afraid to ask (Case C-463/12 Copydan Båndkopi v Nokia Danmark A/S)

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On March 5, 2015 the Court of Justice of the European Union (the ‘Court’ or ‘CJEU’) ruled on Case C-463/12 Copydan Båndkopi v Nokia Danmark A/S (‘Copydan’). The case marks the seventh occasion on which the Court has ruled on the issue of the private copying limitation under art. 5(2)(b) Directive 2001/29/EC (the ‘Directive’), following Padawan, Stichting de Thuiskopie, Luksan, VG Wort, Amazon.com and, most recently, ACI Adam. Currently, at least two more cases are pending: C-572/13 Hewlett-Packard and C-470/14 Egeda.

This blog post is structured as follows. Section 1 briefly discusses Copydan’s background and facts, while clarifying the issues examined by the Advocate Ge [...]

ECJ: Auction houses may transfer cost of artist’s resale royalties to the buyer

Brad-SpitzAn auction house may transfer the responsibility of paying the artist’s ‘droit de suite’ from the seller to the buyer.

This judgment, rendered by the European Court of Justice on 26 February 2015 in response to a reference from the French Supreme Court, will satisfy the auction houses and art dealers in Europe (Christie’s France SNC v Syndicat national des antiquaires, Case C-41/14). The ECJ has held that under Article 1(4) of Directive 2001/84/EC on the resale right for the benefit of the author of an original work of art, the seller or an art market professional involved in a transaction may agree with any other person, including the buyer, that the said other person will bear the [...]

CJEU: Mere Accessibility of Websites Enough for Jurisdiction

Martin HusovecIs the mere accessibility of a copyright infringing website sufficient to establish jurisdiction in a Member State? The Court of Justice of the European Union says a resounding “yes” in Pez Hejduk C-441/13.

The decision does not come as a big surprise, given the earlier (in)famous Pinckney C-170/12 ruling (reported on this blog here) – the ruling which many were refusing to believe was true. But it is. Pez Hejduk clears up any doubts.

Ms Hejduk is an author of photographic works depicting the buildings of the Austrian architect, Georg W. Reinberg. The defendant – EnergieAgentur – used Ms Hejduk’s photographs on its “.de” website. Taking the view that her copyright had been infringed, [...]

Allposters ECJ Decision: no exhaustion of rights in modifications of the copyright work.

Olivier SasserathIn its recent decision (22 January 2015) in the Allposters case (C-419/13), the ECJ confirmed that exhaustion of the distribution rights does not apply to works that have been modified. The copyright owner can therefore still oppose the distribution of the modified work, even if he had agreed to the distribution of the original work.

The degree of modification needed -or sufficient- to claim that exhaustion of rights does not apply is still uncertain: the ECJ confirmed that if the modification amounts to a new reproduction, the exhaustion of rights will not apply (even if the “original” copy is destroyed in the process of making the new copy). This is the case if the physical medium on w [...]

Ryanair Ltd v. PR Aviation BV: contracts, rights and users in a “low cost” database law

RENOIRThe CJEU’s interpretative work on copyright law issues launched in 2015 with the decision of 15 January in the case of Ryanair Ltd v PR Aviation BV (Case C30/14). The Ryanair ruling is the latest stone added to the complex edifice of legal protection of databases in Europe.

PR Aviation operates a website which allows consumers to search through the flight data of low-cost air companies. It obtains the necessary data to respond to an individual query by automated means, inter alia, from a dataset linked to the Ryanair website.  Access to Ryanair’s website presupposes that a visitor to the site accepts the application of the air company’s general terms and conditions by ticking a box [...]

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