On the 24th of May 2011 the European Commission has issued a Communication containing its Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) strategy. The document has a promising title: “A Single Market for Intellectual Property Rights. Boosting creativity and Innovation to provide economic growth, high quality jobs and first class products and services in Europe.” In short, the…

For years, consumer representatives, citizen rights groups and academics have lobbied for a better balance between the interests of rights holders and consumers in copyright law. In particular the use of technical and contractual restrictions on the ability of consumers to play, copy, share or transfer digital content to their liking has been a notorious…

On 16 June 2011 the Court of Justice of the European Union gave judgment in Case C-462/09, Stichting de Thuiskopie v. Opus Supplies Deutschland GmbH, Mijndert van der Lee and Hananja van der Lee (case C 462/09), a reference for a preliminary ruling from the Hoge Raad der Nederlanden (the Dutch Supreme Court). As in…

On 24 May 2011, the European Commission announced a proposal for a directive on ‘certain permitted uses of orphan works’. This title perfectly conveys the scope of the proposal. Rather than adopting a generic approach to deal with the problem of orphan works, the Commission comes up with a set of measures designed for specific…

On April 11, 2011, the Dutch secretary of state, Fred Teeven, sent his long awaited ‘Priorities Letter Copyright 20@20 ” to the House of Representatives. Among the priorities mentioned, is ‘the promotion and protection of new business models on the Internet through a bill to combat infringing websites and facilitating a re-evaluation of the private…

The Advocate General’s Opinion in Case C-145/10, Painer v Standard VerlagsGmbH et al., parts of which have already been discussed in an earlier blog post (here), also deals with the copyrightability of portrait photos. In this case, German and Austrian newspaper publishers had published portrait photos of Natascha Kampusch, and a photo-fit based on one…

On 12 April 2011, Advocate General Trstenjak delivered her Opinion in Case C-145/10, Painer v Standard VerlagsGmbH et al., in which the ECJ has been asked to give preliminary guidance on various questions concerning copyright in portrait photos used in news reports. Eva-Maria Painer, a professional photographer, produced portrait photos of Natascha Kampusch prior to…

Bad news from Denmark. According to an official press release, the Danish government has changed its position and now endorses the European Commission’s proposal to extend the term of protection for sound recordings. Since Denmark was part of a fragile blocking minority in the European Council, there is a danger now that the EU Presidency…

In case C 393/09, the ECJ decided that a GUI is not a form of expression of a computer program and cannot therefore be protected by copyright as a computer program under Directive 91/250/EEC. Indeed, that directive protects the forms of expression of a computer program and the preparatory design work capable of leading, respectively,…

The football leagues in Europe seem to be on a losing streak in Luxembourg. On February 17 the European Court of Justice pronounced that Member States may reserve television coverage of FIFA World Cup events to free-to-air public broadcasters, on the basis of nationally drawn-up lists of ‘events of major importance’, as defined in the…