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France: no copyright protection for perfume

Brad-SpitzThe Supreme Court maintains its position in a case concerning a Lancôme perfume, stating that ‘copyright only protects creations in their tangible form, so far as this form is identifiable with sufficient precision to permit its communication; whereas the fragrance of a perfume … is not a form that has this characteristic, and therefore cannot be protected by copyright’.

Article L.112-1 of the French Intellectual Property Code (IPC) protects ‘the rights of authors in all works of the mind, whatever their kind, form of expression, merit or purpose’, without giving a definition of originality.

French case law has defined originality as the expression of the personality of the autho [...]

The Court of Justice on Links: It is Allowed to Link. At Least In Principle.

tomasztargosz-sqThe Court of Justice delivered its highly anticipated decision on linking. A breath of relief is allowed: linking seems to be legal. But when one looks a little closer, disturbing things begin to emerge.

First things first. The decision in Case C‑466/12, resulting from a request for a preliminary ruling from a Swedish court (Nils Svensson and others v Retriever Sverige AB) comes to the conclusion that providing on a website a link to another website, where a copyright work is “freely available”, does not constitute an ‘act of communication to the public’ in the meaning of Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmon [...]

Do most US authors still only enjoy a copyright term of life plus 50 in the EU?

Naamloos-1Both the US and the EU now have basic copyright terms of the life of the author plus 70 years.  But when US authors simultaneously publish in Canada, they may end up truncating their term of copyright in the EU. 

Moreover, simultaneous Canadian publication decades ago could have an immediate effect on works by US authors who died between 50 and 70 years ago – a list that includes Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jerome Kern, W.C. Handy, Buddy Holly, Alfred Stieglitz, Frank Lloyd Wright.  Here’s why, with a few twists and complications along the way. 

In 1993, the EU directed its member states to set the basic term of copyright to life plus 70.  Yet it contem [...]

EU: Does Innoweb hinder innovation on the web?

Martin Husovec“The activity of the operator of a dedicated meta search engine (…) comes close to the manufacture of a parasitical competing product.”

Christmas somewhat overshadowed the publication of a particularly interesting CJEU decision: case C-202/12 (Innoweb), dealing with the legal protection of databases in relation to meta search engines. The judgment was published on 19 december 2013.

The preliminary questions referred to the CJEU arose in Dutch civil proceedings against Innoweb, a company that operates the dedicated car meta search engine ‘GasPedaal’ (literally ‘accelerator pedal’), which enables users to simultaneously carry out searches in several collections (databases) of ca [...]

The Netherlands: a hyperlink to unfindable files

bdpb“In that case, the publication of an hyperlink is, in principle, not an autonomous communication to the public”

It is a common fact that the sex-industry, along with the arms industry,  is a driving force behind many new developments. Porn is a major force on the internet and it also shouldn’t come as a surprise that important legal questions surface in porn-related cases. One example is the recent  commotion in Germany about tens of thousands of cease and desist letters for watching a porn-stream on the internet (see this earlier blog) and another example is a judgment of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal in a case about playboy-photo’s that were leaked to or found by other media an [...]

Italy: Gay Pride photo doesn’t infringe portrait rights

spedicato “Those who take a train have to accept the risk of being identified abstractly in the crowd of passengers, as this is simply part of the ‘risks of the life’.”

The Italian Supreme Court rules that, according to Article 97 of the Italian Copyright Act, the public displaying of the portrait of a person is not an infringement of his rights when it is associated with facts or events, such as the Gay Pride parade, which are of public interest and which take place in public.

On October 24, 2013, the Italian Supreme Court published a decision concerning the public displaying of the portrait of a person without his consent in a context (i.e. the Gay Pride parade) where the honour and dign [...]

Switzerland proposes new measures against piracy

Yani BenhamouThe Swiss working group on Copyright (AGUR12) released his report on December 2013 related to management of rights at the digital age. This should lead to a legal basis for a notice and takedown procedure and thus reduce the supply of illegal content, while downloading from illegal sources should remain legal.

The original mandate goes back to a postulate referred by the Federal Council Simonetta Sommaruga on August 2012 to optimize the collective management of rights, in particular to adapt copyright law to technical developments. After more than a year of discussion, representatives of artists, economists and consumers made nine recommendations, addressed either to rightholders and collec [...]

IViR Anniversary Conference (Information Influx), 2-4 July 2014

Although the actual founding of the Institute for Information Law is shrouded in myth and mystery, in 2014 it will be 25 years ago that IViR was officially established as a research centre at the University of Amsterdam. IViR’s 25th birthday will be celebrated next year in Amsterdam from 2 to 4 July, with a major international conference on the myriad challenges facing information law today: Information Influx.

When IViR was set up a quarter of a century ago, the digital transition was only just underway. Since then, our societies have been undergoing enormous changes in the modes of expression, organization and (re)use of information. Traditional roles of producers, intermediaries, users an [...]

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 [...]

European Copyright Law : Quo vadis? The European Commission asks for your opinion

Tatiana-Sinodinou“The first question (territoriality) and the last question (single EU copyright title) could be considered as the alpha and the omega of the questionnaire and they are interlinked in various ways.”

A public consultation on the review of EU copyright rules was launched by the European Commission a few  days ago .  The consultation refers to key issues of copyright law in the digital environment which have been identified in the Communication on Content in the Digital Single Market, such as “territoriality in the Internal Market, harmonization, limitations and exceptions to copyright in the digital age, fragmentation of the EU copyright market and how to improve the effectiveness and effic [...]

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