Tuesday, 16 September 2014

UN Resolution on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights on the Internet

UN Human Rights Council - Resolution A/HRC/26/L.24

The Human Rights Council of the United Nations has passed a resolution on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet. In particular it 

- Affirms same rights for people online as offline, especially freedom of expression
- Recognises the global and open nature of the Internet as driving force for progress
- Calls upon all States to promote and facilitate access to the Internet
- Affirms quality education by promotion of digital literacy and information on the Internet
- Calls upon all States to address security concerns on the Internet to ensure protection of human rights
- Calls upon all States to formulate and adopt public policies that affirm global, open and interoperable nature of the Internet

Libraries and Digital Copyright

ECJ     C - 117/13

The Europan Court of Justice had to decide whether a University library was entitled to make a book available in digital form on terminals especially set up for reading and allow the reader to make print outs as well as store the book file on a USB stick.

The Court held that it was in line with the EU Directive on copyright in the information society (2001/29/EC) to allow a library to make books available to its readers in digital form for education and research purposes. Libraries could not fulfil their purpose in a digital society without such right.

Letting readers print out a book or store the book file on an USB stick on the other hand is seen as not necessary for the libraries to perform their role in education and science. It would therefore only be allowed to grant to readers such rights to copy a book if it remunerates the copyright holder of the book accordingly.

Adidas and Online Distribution

The German Anti-Trust Office (Bundeskartellamt) had to decide on Adidas' wide ban on distribution via online market places. The sporting goods manufacturer's distribution terms did not allow retailers to sell its products via online platforms of Ebay, Amazon, Rakuten, Yatego and others. 
Confirming its position taken in previous cases of Amazon and Ebay it held that while a selective distribution system was in principle legal it would nevertheless violate German competition law to effectively ban the distribution via a particular form of market place. Following the Offices's complaint Adidas has amended its distribution terms accordingly.

UK IPO and Fake IPO Offices

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has successfully taken legal actions against organisations that pretend to be IPO issuing official looking renewal notices to holders of UK registered patents and trademarks for fees greatly in excess of the official renewal fees. Such fake organisations are in particular the "Patent and Trademark Office" and the "Patent and Trade Mark Organisation". The defendants admitted and settled the cases.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Parody and Copyright

ECJ EC-201/13

The European Court of Justice had to decide when the use of someone else's work is a parody and therefore exempted from the work's copyright protection. Such parody would not constitute an infringement of intellectual property rights.

The Court held that the concept of parody is an autonomous concept of EU law and must be interpreted uniformly within the EU. A parody must a) evoke existing work whilst being noticeably different from it and b) constitute an expression of humour or mockery.

The exemption of the parody from copyright protection would not apply to parody containing a discriminatory message. In that case the rights holder in the original work would have in principle a legitimate interest in ensuring that the work is not associated with such a message.

Data Protection and Journalism

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has published a guide for the media explaining how the Data Protection Act applies to journalism. It advises on good practice and clarifies the role of the ICO helping those working in the media understand and comply with existing law in that area.