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The European Parliament has adopted its position on the controversial proposed Copyright Directive, which includes a proposal for online content sharing service providers to remunerate artists (notably news publishers, journalists, musicians, performers and script authors) for their work when it is used by sharing platforms such as YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. The reform of EU copyright rules is part of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy. The Commission recognises that whilst online services provide ease of access to creative works and offer opportunities for creative industries to develop, it also generates challenges when copyright protected works are uploaded without prior authorisation from copyright holders.

Continue Reading European Parliament votes for tech giants to share revenue with artists and journalists

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The CJEU has ruled that an unauthorised reposting of a photograph on a website which is already publicly accessible, with the consent of the photographer and without restriction preventing it from being downloaded, on another website, can infringe the copyright rights of a photographer (Renckhoff, C-161/17). It is of little importance if, as in the present case, the copyright holder does not limit the ways in which the photograph may be used by internet users.

Continue Reading Reposting photograph freely accessible on another website requires reauthorisation of photographer

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The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has handed down a reference for a preliminary ruling in Case C-610/15 (Stichtin Brein v Ziggo BV, XS4ALL Internet BV), holding that making available and managing an online platform for sharing copyright-protected works may constitute an infringement of copyright.

Continue Reading CJEU issues ‘The Pirate Bay’ judgment

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The Irish Commercial Court has ordered nine ISPs to block three websites offering illegal downloading or streaming of copyrighted movies and TV shows.  The action was brought by Motion Pictures Association, representing six film and TV studios.  The Court held that it was clear there had been infringement of copyright, that it would not result in the lawful use of the internet being interfered with and the order was proportionate to the damage being caused. None of the ISPs opposed the application for the injunction.  However one ISP raised concerns about cost implications of dealing with a large number of sites into the future, and asked the court to put a cap on the number of illegal website notifications a month, which movie companies could direct ISPs to block.  The Judge refused to grant a cap on notifications. Continue Reading Court orders ISPs to block illegal streaming websites

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The CJEU has once again been asked to consider the meaning of “communication to the public” within Article 3(1) of the Copyright Directive.

In Stichting Brein v Ziggo BV, XS4ALL Internet BV (Case C‑610/15), the CJEU has been asked to identify  the scope of liability for copyright infringement committed by ‘card providers,’ namely sites such as The Pirate Bay, where files containing music and films are shared free of charge, and usually in breach of copyright.

On 8 February, 2017, the Attorney General (AG) delivered an Opinion advising the CJEU to find copyright infringement where a website (such as The Pirate Bay) indexes content available on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, even where there is no actual content on the website.  However the AG found copyright infringement will only occur where the website operator has actual knowledge of the illegality and takes no action. Accordingly, if copyright holders notify a site’s operators of the illegal nature of information appearing on the site, and they fail to take action to make access to that work impossible, then the site operator may be held liable.

Continue Reading AG advocates finding of copyright infringement by The Pirate Bay

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EU consumers of online content services such as Netflix, Spotify or Sky Sports will soon be able to access their subscriptions while on holiday in or when otherwise visiting another Member State, due to the lifting of existing restrictions by a proposed new EU Regulation.

Continue Reading No Frontiers! – EU Consumers to enjoy cross-border access to online content services

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Under the Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC) the owner of copyright material has the exclusive right to control any "communications to the public" of their protected works.

In an advisory opinion to the Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU"), Attorney General Wathelet (the "AG"), recently considered whether the act of posting a hyperlink directing users to infringing content on a third party website would give rise to copyright infringement.

Continue Reading New Guidance On Whether Hyperlinking May Constitute Copyright Infringement

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A Californian Judge, Gail J Standish, recently dismissed a copyright lawsuit where it was alleged that Taylor Swift had copied lyrics for her popular song "Shake It Off". Taylor Swift is in fact an avid fan of enforcing her own copyright, was facing a $42 million damages claim.   Jesse Graham filed the lawsuit claiming that Taylor Swift had stolen the lyrics "haters gonna hate" from a song he wrote in 2013 following a refusal of an original writing credit and a selfie with the star. The Court ruled that the plaintiff did not provide enough factual evidence and that the allegations were not more than speculative. In defending the claim there was evidence to show that the phrases "haters gonna hate" and "players gonna play" were long in existence before being used by Jessie Graham. The plaintiff had also admitted that the songs were in no way similar. The ruling itself quotes from numerous Taylor Swift songs noting that "at least for the moment, the Defendants have shaken off this lawsuit."

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The US Court of Appeals (the Court) recently gave judgment on whether a type of yoga would fall within the remit of copyright in the case of Bikram Yoga College of India v. Evolution Yoga, LLC, 2015 WL 5845415.  The case concerned Bikram yoga – a popular style of yoga developed by Bikram Choudry (the plaintiff in the present case) over 20 years ago which consists of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercise, designed to systematically work every part of the body, and is performed in a hot room.

Continue Reading Can copyright stretch to cover yoga?!

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A French Supreme Court (the Cour de Cassation) has recently overturned a decision of the Paris Court of Appeal which had given a 2013 ruling in a copyright infringement case. The case involves the famous Longchamp "pilage" bag which, according to Longchamp, is the most copied bag in the world. The Cour de Cassation found that the Court of Appeal was in violation of the French Intellectual Property Code (Article L. 122-4) which deems it illegal to reproduce fully or partially a protected work without the authorisation of the right holder. 

Continue Reading Longchamp – French Supreme Court rules on copyright infringement