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EU Commissioner Kroes: Our single market is crying out for copyright reform

Neelie-Kroes-IVIR“Every day citizens here in the Netherlands and across the EU break the law just to do something commonplace. And who can blame them when those laws are so ill-adapted.”

Speech Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission, delivered at the opening of Information Influx, the 25th anniversary conference of the Institute for Information Law (IViR) on 2-4 July 2014 in Amsterdam.

“Happy birthday to you all at the Institute for Information Law. I would sing you “Happy Birthday”. But technically I think the song is still under copyright — I don’t want to have to pay the royalty.

Today the debate about information, innovation, and intellectual property can be complex, personal, and [...]

The TTIP-gate: a tale of access to documents, secrecy and EU powers

Ana-Ramalho“The Court added a cherry on top of the transparency cake.”

It is no secret that secrecy in the TTIP negotiations has been bothering several sectors of civil society (apologies, but the links to back this up were too many to insert here). Just last week, the Court of Justice has issued a decision in Case C-350/12  that sheds further light into this matter.

The case concerns a dispute over access to a document – the opinion of the Council’s Legal Service covering certain aspects of the opening of negotiations on an international agreement to make available to the United States some financial data. One of the elements of this document is an analysis of the legal basis and the respect [...]

No more downloading from unlawful sources?

Quintais-de-Leeuw-DLDThis would mean that the ruling will not leave end-users substantially worse-off, despite the qualification of their acts as infringing. However, that is a difficult argument to make.”

In its judgment of 10 April 2014 in Case C-435/12 ACI Adam BV and Others the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that the private copying limitation, when interpreted in light of the three-step test, only allows Member States to exempt reproductions made for private use from lawful sources from authorization. The Court essentially followed the Opinion of AG Villalón (see here).

Table of Contents

Facts, dispute and questions referred
Judgment
Reactions and Impact
Conclusion

Facts, dispute an [...]
Study on sports organisers’ rights in the EU

Sportrights“The study concludes that under their domestic copyright laws none of the current EU Member States offer protection to sports events as such. A handful of countries, however, afford some special form of protection to the specific interests of sports organizers.”

A study on sports organizers’ rights was launched by the European Commission in January 2013. It was carried out by a consortium composed of TMC Asser Institute and the Institute for information law (IViR) Faculty of law, University of Amsterdam. The study was financed by the Preparatory Action ‘European Partnership on Sports’ 2012. 

Main objectives and findings

The main objectives of the study were to map the legal framework [...]

CJEU in UPC Telekabel Wien: A totally legal court order…to do the impossible

Christina-Angelopoulos“This indicates the main danger of the ruling, that of fragmentation. This was foreseen by the Austrian referring court, which suggested that guidelines assessing the proportionality of blocking measures be laid down by the CJEU – that would have been welcome indeed! That absence is certainly the biggest deficiency of the ruling.”

Last Thursday, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued its judgment on Austria’s Oberster Gerichtshof reference for a preliminary ruling in Case C-314/12, UPC Telekabel Wien GmbH v Constantin Film Verleih GmbH.   

The case begun when film production companies Constantin Film Verheih and Wega Filmproduktionsgesellschaft GmbH noticed their copy [...]

Artist’s Resale Rights: French preliminary question to the ECJ

Brad-SpitzCan an auction house transfer the responsibility of paying the resale right royalty from the seller to the buyer?

Directive 2001/84/EC created a resale right (‘droit de suite’) in the EU for the benefit of the author of an original work of art. This resale right is ‘defined as an inalienable right, which cannot be waived, even in advance, to receive a royalty based on the sale price obtained for any resale of the work, subsequent to the first transfer of the work by the author’ (Article 1). The directive was adopted in 2001 but only came into force on 1 January 2010.

Article 1(4) of Directive 2001/84/EC states that ‘The royalty shall be payable by the seller’, and that Member St [...]

Downloading from Unlawful Sources. Reflections following the Villalón Opinion on AciAdam and Others.

Downloading illegal

This blog post discusses the recent Opinion by Advocate General Pedro Cruz Villalón in Case C-435/12 – ACI Adam and Others, delivered on 9 January 2014 (not available in English).

In this case, Advocate General Villalón considered whether reproductions from unlawful sources fall within the private copying exception of art. 5(2)(b) of Directive 2001/29/EC (Copyright Directive), as well as whether it is in line with the Directive to calculate the private copying levy based on reproductions from both lawful and unlawful sources. (All legal provisions cited hereinafter refer to this legal instrument, unless otherwise stated). The questions referred also relate to the effect of the application [...]

The Svensson case and the act of communication to a new public

Patricia mariscal“In other words, the initial communication by the copyright holder already encompassed the potential public that subsequently accessed the content via the links”


The long-awaited judgment of the CJEU in the Svensson case, judgment of 13 February 2013 in (C-466/12).

The legal definition of internet links has been a widely-discussed subject in recent times, pitting those who consider links an act of communication to the public within the meaning of article 3.1 of Directive 2011/29/EC (Directive of the Information Society) against those who, on equally justifiable grounds, argue that the creation of internet links does not, strictly speaking, constitute an act of communication to the publi [...]

The ECJ clarifies right to take action against individuals’ imports of unauthorized copies in the EU

Philippe-Laurent“The test in case of sale could therefore be reduced to the following simple question: would there have been an infringement if the seller had been established in the Member State where the buyer resides.”

On 6 February 2014, the Court of Justice of the EU issued a decision in the Blomqvist v Rolex SA Case (C-98/13) that has been welcomed by IP rights owners. It simplifies and clarifies the test that should be run to determine whether goods acquired on-line from a seller established in a non-member state are goods infringing intellectual property rights in the sense of Regulation 1383/2003 of 22 July 2003.

The regulation gives a specific definition to the “goods infringing an intellectual [...]

Do most US authors still only enjoy a copyright term of life plus 50 in the EU?

Naamloos-1Both the US and the EU now have basic copyright terms of the life of the author plus 70 years.  But when US authors simultaneously publish in Canada, they may end up truncating their term of copyright in the EU. 

Moreover, simultaneous Canadian publication decades ago could have an immediate effect on works by US authors who died between 50 and 70 years ago – a list that includes Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jerome Kern, W.C. Handy, Buddy Holly, Alfred Stieglitz, Frank Lloyd Wright.  Here’s why, with a few twists and complications along the way. 

In 1993, the EU directed its member states to set the basic term of copyright to life plus 70.  Yet it contem [...]

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