Since 2012 a multidisciplinary research group at the Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam has been conducting a large-scale empirical study of Alternative Compensation Systems (ACS). In simple terms, ACS are legal mechanisms that for a small monthly fee would authorize non-commercial online uses by individuals, including the downloading and sharing of protected works (such as music, films, and books), while compensating rights holders.
On Saturday, 11th of July, 2015, we will present our results in Amsterdam, and discuss the implications of our findings in three high-profile panels examining the economic, socio-political and legal aspects of ACS . (You can access th [...]
On June 4th, the US Copyright Office published a report on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization. The report addresses two situations where the current US copyright system may not fulfill its aim to “promote the Progress of Science”: orphan works and mass-digitization. As regards orphan works, the Office notes that a user’s ability to seek permission or to negotiate licensing terms is compromised by the fact that, despite his or her diligent efforts, the user cannot identify or locate the copyright owner. As regards mass digitization – which involves making reproductions of many works, as well as possible efforts to make the works publicly accessible – the Office observes that obtaini [...]
On 16th April 2015 the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) delivered its final judgment in a lengthy legal standoff, which began its journey through the judiciary in 2009. The judgment is not yet available but is discussed in a press release here. Since that time libraries and publishing houses have fought with one another over the meaning of access to digital content, the right to reproduction and traditional copyright exploitation schemes. The dispute at hand revolved around Sec. 52b of the German Copyright Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz), containing a statutory copyright limitation which permits certain institutions such as public libraries, museums and archives to make published works of w [...]
In its recent decision (22 January 2015) in the Allposters case (C-419/13), the ECJ confirmed that exhaustion of the distribution rights does not apply to works that have been modified. The copyright owner can therefore still oppose the distribution of the modified work, even if he had agreed to the distribution of the original work.
The degree of modification needed -or sufficient- to claim that exhaustion of rights does not apply is still uncertain: the ECJ confirmed that if the modification amounts to a new reproduction, the exhaustion of rights will not apply (even if the “original” copy is destroyed in the process of making the new copy). This is the case if the physical medium on w [...]
The book “The Variable Scope of the Exclusive Economic Rights in Copyright” recently published in Kluwer’s Information Law Series is the result of my doctoral research (which led to a doctoral dissertation defended at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2011). This article provides an overview of the research described in the book, followed by a more detailed description of some of the key subjects covered.
Overview of the Book
Originally, the starting point of the research was the observation that in a digital always “ON” world some acts are protected under copyright, while the same acts are not in the analogue world. Take searching for information as an example: in the analogue w [...]
“What the Court did not consider though, is that the outcome of the application of the 3-step test to the digitisation of each individual work for the purposes of making it available for research and private study purposes may conflict with the absolute prohibition of digitising the entire collection.”
Judgment CJEU of 11 September 2014, Technische Universität Darmstadt v Eugen Ulmer KG (C-117/13). Request for a preliminary ruling from German Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice).
The CJEU confirms the ancillary right of public libraries to digitise books from their collection in order to make them available by dedicated terminals without the rightholder’s consent. However, in the [...]
“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 [...]
The European Copyright Society, a group of prominent European scholars, today issued an opinion on the Svensson case (Case C-466/12), which is currently before the European Court of Justice. The case, which was referred to the Court by the Swedish Court of Appeal (Svea hovrätt) on 18 October 2012, raises the important question whether setting a hyperlink to a copyright protected work amounts to ‘communication to the public’ within the meaning of Article 3(1) of the Information Society Directive.
In a detailed, 17-page opinion the European Copyright Society argues that the answer to this question should be a resounding no. According to the Society, “The importance of this particular re [...]
Playing Catch 22 with cultural heritage is quite simple: since cultural heritage institutions hardly ever are in a position to digitize their collection because of a lack of financial resources, they obtain funding on the basis of public/private partnerships.
Chances are that in return for the financial support needed for digitization, the private party will seek to retain exclusivity over the digitized objects and to impose restrictions on their further reproduction and making available to the public. The result: the collection is certainly digitized, but the public’s expectation of being able to freely re-use digitized works remains frustrated for as long as the private party has decided.
The proposed directive is striking in many respects. Most prominent is the virtually unanimous opinion that the directive ‘is a step in the right direction’, but that it ‘will not facilitate nor promote mass digitization and large-scale preservation of Europe’s vast cultural heritage’. This conjures up the image of the elephant giving birth to a [...]