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UK: Extended Collective Licensing

Dinusha Mendis - Victoria StoboOn the 1st October 2014, the Copyright and Rights in Performances (Extended Collective Licensing) Regulations 2014 came into force in the UK.1  

Licensing bodies and collecting societies already operate within the UK, providing rights management and licensing services for their rightsholder members across a range of sectors including publishing, art and design, music and performance.2  Extended Collective Licensing (ECL) occurs where a collecting society is granted permission to license specific kinds of copyright works across an entire sector, thereby representing the interests of non-member rightsholders in addition to those of their own members. ECL was first developed in the Nordic co [...]

UK Supreme Court Asks CJEU Whether the Internet is Legal

angelopoulos“Before finalising its decision however, it is seeking the CJEU’s input on whether end users, who view web-pages on their computers without downloading or printing them, are committing infringements of copyright if they lack a licence from the rightholder.”

On 29 June 2013 the UK Supreme Court referred a series of questions in Case C-360/13 Public Relations Consultants Association Limited v The Newspaper Licensing Agency Limited and others, otherwise known as the Meltwater case, to the Court of Justice of the EU. The case examines whether Meltwater News, an electronic media monitoring service, was implicating its subscribers in copyright infringement by distributing reports that include [...]

To register or not to register?

On 27 September, the Dutch government introduced what at first glance would seem an inconsequential proposal, e.g. to amend the Register Act of 1970 whereby the possibility for legal and natural persons to register their copyright protected work at the tax office will be eliminated. Should the Dutch proposal be adopted, the registration of private deeds will be limited to those acts concerning subject matter for which registration is a legal formality.

The reasoning behind this proposal is that a deed that witnesses an agreement between two parties has probative force between the parties whether the deed is registered or not. Registration of a work or an invention offers no independent cop [...]

A Norwich Pharmacal order

UK: High Court Chancery Division, 26 March 2012,  Golden Eye (International) Ltd v Telefonica UK Ltd.

Copyright owners (‘owners of the copyrights in pornographic films’) brought a claim for Norwich Pharmacal relief (“If through no fault of his own a person gets mixed up in the tortious acts of others so as to facilitate their wrong-doing he may incur no personal liability but he comes under a duty to assist the person who has been wronged by giving him full information and disclosing the identity of the wrongdoers”) against an internet service provider due to suspicions of peer-to-peer file sharing of their materials by internet users. The object of the claim is to obtain disclosure of [...]

Pass the Dutchie. A case against Musical Youth’s former solicitors

UK: High Court Chancery Division, 23 March 2012, Seaton v Seddon.

The members of the reggae band Musical Youth brought a case against their former solicitors with regards to the royalties due from a hit single: “Pass the Dutchie”. This song was an arrangement of another piece of music, entitled “Pass the Kouchie”. The claim in the present case arose out of an 1984 agreement dividing royalties between the owners of the copyright in the original and the derivative work.

The defendants, who were at the time the claimants’ solicitors, had acted for the owners of the copyright in the original work in the making of that agreement without telling their clients about it. The claimants argued that t [...]

A black and white photograph of a red bus

Patents Court London, 12 January 2012, Temple Island Collections Ltd v New English Teas Ltd & Nicholas John Houghton.

A photograph of a red Routemaster bus travelling across Westminster Bridge with the Houses of Parliament and the bridge shown in gray, which shares visually significant elements with the claimant’s photograph, infringes copyright, despite the fact that it differs at some points in its composition. Claimant’s photograph was published in February 2006 and has been used by the claimant on souvenirs. The defendants produce tea: the company’s best selling packs of tea include tins and cartons bearing images of ‘Icons of England’.

Determining infringement, requires a qualitativ [...]

UK: Films included in a broadcast

High Court Chancery Division, 3 February 2012, Football Association Premier League v QC Leisure. Further to a referral to the ECJ on, inter alia, the meaning of “communication to the public” under art. 3 of the Directive 2001/29 (Case C-403/83), the High Court ruled that the showing of broadcasts (football matches) via television screens and speakers in public houses infringes the right to communicate to the public those broadcasts. However, sec. 72 of the CDPA states unambiguously that the act of showing in public of a broadcast does not infringe the copyrights in the films included in it.

“78. In my judgment s.72(1)(c) means what it says. The showing or playing of a broadcast in a public [...]

UK: The photographs are pictures of drugs

Patents Court London, 19 January 2012, Hoffman v Drug Abuse Resistance Education. A charity infringed copyright in photographs by including them in its website withouth the author’s permission. The fact that the charity was under a good-faith impression that it had permission to use the photographs, as they appeared in a website that was covered by Crown copyright, did not prevent the finding of infringement. Moreover, the innocence defence can apply as a bar to damages only when it can be shown that, at the time of the infringement, the defendant did not know, or had no reason to believe, that copyright subsisted in the work (CDPA, sec. 97). However, the defence does not apply when one beli [...]

A list of permanent memory absolute addresses

UK: High Court Chancery Division, 09-11-2011: Forensic Telecommunications Services Ltd v. Chief Constable of West

Copyright does not subsist in a list of permanent memory absolute (“PM Abs”) addresses of mobile phones that are used to extract data from mobile phones in forensic investigations. There may have been an expenditure of skill, labour and judgement but it has not been of the right kind. If copyright did subsist in the list, the defendants would have infringed copyright by substantially reproducing the list. Fair dealing defences would not apply. However, the list is protected by the database right due to the investment made in obtaining the data. By posting the list on the Phone-fo [...]

Europe 1 – Premier League 0

In its groundbreaking judgment of 4 October 2011 the Court of Justice of the European Union has essentially legalized the import, sale and use of foreign satellite television decoder cards. The judgment, which was given in two joined (originally British) cases, concerned decoder cards that provide access to encrypted satellite transmissions from Greece of British Premier League football matches. Foreign decoder cards such as these are widely sold and used in the United Kingdom, both for private viewing and in public houses, for they provide access to televised Premier League football at substantial lower cost than in the British domestic market.

In response to a request for a preliminary rul [...]

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