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UK Private Copying Exception ruled illegal

Savvides_TheoIn October 2014 the government introduced a series of changes to the UK’s copyright regime. One change, key to the objective of making copyright law better suited to the digital age, was the introduction of a private copying exception. That exception is now in jeopardy following a successful challenge by the music industry. For the exception to survive ,the government will either have to introduce some form of compensation scheme, or produce evidence which supports its initial conclusion that private copying will cause no more than de minimis harm to copyright owners.

Background

On 1 October 2014, a number of changes were made to the UK copyright regime in the form of new exceptions to c [...]

UK: 1967 Ltd v. British Sky Broadcasting Ltd., High Court of England and Wales, Chancery Division, Case No.: HC14C02952, 23 October 2014

This case concerned blocking orders pursuant to s97A of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA). The Court found that there was copyright infringement by both UK users and operators of file-sharing websites, insofar as there was communication of copyright works, the communication was to the public, and the act of communication took place in the UK.  This was the case not only for the websites that allowed users to upload torrent files but also for those that only aggregated links to torrent files on other websites.  Further, the operators of the websites were also held to authorise the infringing acts of their UK users and to be jointly liable for infringements by the users. [...]

UK: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp v. Sky UK Ltd, High Court of England and Wales, Chancery Division, [2015] EWHC 1082 (Ch), 28 April 2015

The claimants, all members of the Motion Picture Association of America holding copyright in a large number of films and TV programmes, were granted a blocking order preventing the use of Popcorn Time, an open source streaming application which used the BitTorrent protocol to download the claimants’ copyright content.

A full summary of this case has been published on Kluwer IP Law and this case is discussed on the Kluwer Copyright Blog here.

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UK: John Kaldor Fabricmaker v. Lee Ann Fashions, High Court of England and Wales, Chancery Division, [2014] EWHC 3779 (IPEC), 21 November 2014

A claim for infringement of copyright and design rights failed. There was no good reason to reject evidence that the fabric in question was created without sight of the claimant’s fabric; the similarities between the designs were not sufficient to infer that there had been subconscious copying.

A full summary of this case has been published on Kluwer IP Law

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Popcorn Time – a website blocking order decision with a slightly different flavour

Blum_Jeremy2Another blocking order in the UK, however, this time there was some complexity about the actual acts of infringement. In Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation & Ors v Sky UK Ltd & Ors, the High Court considered the circumstances in which website blocking orders should be granted against websites facilitating the use of a “sophisticated and user friendly” application known as Popcorn Time, which uses the BitTorrent protocol to obtain infringing film and TV content from one or more host websites. Although the court ultimately granted the order on the basis of joint tortfeasance, on the particular facts of this application the court did not consider that infringing acts of communication to [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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