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Germany: The Pixelio Stock photo case and the District Court of Cologne…again

benjamin-schuetze“According to Art. 13 of the German Copyright Act (“CA”) the author has the right to be identified as the author of the work. He may determine whether the work shall bear a designation of authorship and which designation is to be used.”

The District Court of Cologne (Landgericht Köln) apparently never sleeps. After its somewhat questionable role in a surge of so called Redtube warning letters which infested some 10.000 unsuspecting German internet users in December 2013, the Court surprises both internet users as well as the legal community with a judgment (LG Köln, judgment of 30.1.2014, 14 O 427/13) on the moral right of recognition of authorship (Art. 13 Copyright Act) and its [...]

Tens of thousands of cease and desist letters for watching a stream

PhilippZimbehl

It doesn’t  happen every day that copyright law and its daily application receive such an overwhelming media coverage. Germany’s biggest news portals, the public service broadcasters and major newspapers all reported about a case that appears to be a  routine job for a copyright lawyer. In the last two weeks a wave of cease and desist letters sloshed over the country. This happens from time to time and is also not very noteworthy.

What made this case different was not the amount of letters that had been sent out (suspected to be in the high five figures area) and neither was it the fact that it involved, once again, many people that did not even own a computer.

What caused all the att [...]

Open Access to Scientific Articles: Comparing Italian with German law

Valentina-MosconBy Valentina Moscon, Scholarship holder at the Max Planck Institute & University of Trento

The Italian Parliament recently approved a new law concerning the valorization of culture (Law of October 7, 2013, n. 112, G.U. n. 236, 8.10.2013). The law includes, in section 4, a regulation for Open Access (OA) to scientific publications.

With this new law, the Italian parliament aims to align Italy’s national law with the European Open Access policies that are clearly expressed in the EU Commission’s Recommendation of 17 July 2012 on “Access to and Preservation of Scientific Information” and the Communication “Towards better access to scientific information: Boosting the benefits of publ [...]

German copyright reform: the first part of the third basket

PhilippZimbehl“Concerns have been expressed by the German blogosphere that this mere “Lex Google” will put bloggers and smaller news-aggregators under the risk of being targeted by mass legal procedures of the publishers and that quotation rights are undermined.”

It is no exaggeration to say that nearly the whole German copyright community is waiting for the next big round of amendments to the German Copyright Act, the so called “Dritter Korb” (literally the “third basket”).  Since not every reader might be familiar with the German legislation, I will begin with some remarks about the history of the major amendments the German Copyright Act has undergone in recent years.

The first big refo [...]

Germany: The Federal Court of Justice and ‘the reality’ about embedded content

benjamin-schuetze“The BGH thus insinuates that framing may be a yet “unnamed right of exploitation” within the scope of Art. 15(2) Copyright Act.”

On 16th May 2013 the first Senate of the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH), delivered its judgment in another case revolving around the issue of hyperlinking or framing. If one had hoped for a final decision to put the matter to rest, one could only be disappointed, since the BGH referred the case for a preliminary ruling to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The reference to the ECJ concerns the question whether a website operator who embeds copyright protected videos in his website that is publicly available via another website (“framing”) infring [...]

Germany: What do YouTube and GEMA have in common?

benjamin-schuetze“The latest development is that GEMA has filed another lawsuit against YouTube, demanding from YouTube to take down the on-screen notice ‘Unfortunately, this video is not available in Germany because it may contain music for which GEMA has not granted the respective music rights.’”

YouTube and GEMA (the German Society for musical performing and mechanical reproduction rights) do have something in common: they are both committed to entertainment, since they could not exist without it. This connection embroils YouTube and GEMA in a multitude of ways. They do not appear to be amused about it though; and so they fight in many different ways. Even the technology-savvy observer will inevit [...]

BGH: Are parents liable for their children? (Germany)

“It held that in the case of a normally developed 13-year old child the condition “fulfils the requirements of his duty to supervise” is met when the parents regularly advise and instruct their children on the fact that illegal activities such as file sharing shall not be permitted.”

In a very recent case (I ZR 74/12; delivered on Thursday the 15th of November 2012) the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has delivered another judgment dealing with copyright infringement occurring in the virtual sphere, which in this particular case have been committed by a minor through the use of peer-to-peer file sharing networks. The judgment was widely anticipated and has already been labeled a precede [...]

The Link Wars Rage on: France and Germany Consider Exclusive Right over Snippets

“According to the current formulation of the draft law, material quoted by humans for commentary and analysis, as opposed to that automatically selected by a computer, may be copied freely.”

The link wars have once again broken out in Europe. In August, the German cabinet gave its backing to a draft law allowing news publishers to collect compensation for the republication of headlines and the introductory sentences of articles by aggregators and search engines. Under the proposal, which would protect content for one year, news publishers would be able to license out snippeting rights for a royalty and start proceedings against those found to infringe their newfound neighbouring right. T [...]

The GEMA-Presumption and the burden of non liquet (Germany)

“The judgment casts a spotlight on a distinct feature of collective rights management in Germany and the difficulties that may ensue for creators and users of musical creations who want to license such material under an alternative licensing scheme.”

The case that came before the Local Court Frankfurt/Main concerned a dispute between the German Society for musical performing and mechanical reproduction rights (Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte, GEMA) and a song contest organiser (defendant). In the course of a music contest, entrants were asked to submit a song through the defendant’s website and permit for the song to being exploited ( [...]

What’s the size of small parts? (Germany)

By Benjamin Schütze, Institute of Legal Informatics, Leibniz Universität Hannover

“Since its introduction in 2003, the provision marks the centre of a controversy between schools and institutions of higher education and copyright holders, especially publishing houses marketing a scientific – educational portfolio.”

About the right to make available small parts of a work for illustration purposes for teaching in schools and higher education and how it is interpreted by OLG Stuttgart in Alfred Kröner Verlag GmbH & Co. KG v Fernuniversität in Hagen (4 U 171/11).

The dispute between the parties centres on the question of whether Fernuniversität Hagen shall be permitted under § 52a Germ [...]

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