In recent years, Europe’s highest courts have searched for the answer to the problem of intermediary liability in the notion of a ‘fair balance’ between competing fundamental rights. At the same time, the ‘notice-and-takedown’ system, which first emerged as a solution to intermediary liability in the 1990s, has spread across the globe, transforming along the way into an assortment of ‘notice-and-action’ variants that differ from country to country. In this article, we seek to examine how both these approaches to the intermediary liability question can be usefully combined. Interpreting ‘fair balance’ as a call for compromise, we propose a move away from the traditional ‘horizontal’ approach of the EU's safe harbour regime, towards a more ‘vertical’ scheme, whereby distinct ‘actions’ are tailored to diverse wrong-doings: notice-and-notice for copyright, notice-wait-and-takedown for defamation and notice-and-takedown and notice-and-suspension for hate speech. Notice-and-judicial-take-down can function as a complementary all-purpose solution. Automatic takedown and notice-and-stay-down are applicable exclusively to child pornography. We suggest that the resulting calibrated system can contribute to achieving a truer ‘fair balance’ in this difficult area of law.
Study supported by the Open Society Foundations, 96 pp.
Article also published in GRUR International, 2014-11, p. 1089-1096.
In recent years, the national courts of the EU Member States, in an attempt to stem the flow of rampant online copyright infringement, have increasingly turned to the issuance of blocking injunctions against the intermediaries whose websites and networks are used by third parties to commit infringements. This article examines the legal framework in place at the EU level with regard to the legality of such injunctive orders, making a distinction between filtering measures, used to detect copyright infringements, and blocking measures, used to put an end to them. On the basis of that analysis, a detailed examination will be made of the latest CJEU ruling to apply this framework, Case C-314/12, UPC Telekabel Wien GmbH v Constantin Film Verleih GmbH on the lawfullness of open-ended blocking injunctions against internet access providers.
With the adoption and subsequent national implementation of the E-Commerce Directive’s safe harbour regime, the architecture set up for intermediary liability in Europe has become two-tiered: at a first stage, it is necessary to examine whether a given intermediary attracts, in its pursuit of a certain activity, civil liability according to the standards in place in national legislation and only then, in the second instance, must the inapplicability of any immunity be established. As a result, although it provides a veneer of approximation by immunising intermediaries under certain circumscribed conditions, the Directive does not harmonise the underlying substantive liability norms which decide whether the safe harbours will be necessary or redundant. Instead, these are determined by national tort law, leaving ample room for national divergences between the regimes of the various Member States. This paper examines the applicable tort rules currently in place in three selected jurisdictions of the UK, France and Germany, picking out their commonalities and divergences and revealing the confusion that governs the topic across European borders. The intention is to examine the structures in place that could allow for the eventual European harmonisation of substantive intermediary liability beyond the safe harbours.
Freedom of information law is, first and foremost, an instrument that helps to effectuate democratic control of public administration, by giving citizens rights to access government held information. But access rights are also associated with broader benefits. Government data has economic value beyond the public sector, as it can be used for private sector provision of information services and products. Enhancing commercial exploitation of public sector information has, in recent years, become part of national and European economic policy. Access for both democratic and economic purposes has implications for how intellectual property rights in government information are exercised. This chapter explores the role of copyright policy in light of the objectives and principles behind freedom of information law and the regulatory framework for the reuse of public sector information. More specifically, it queries whether open content licenses, such as Creative Commons (CC), are indeed as attractive an instrument for the management of intellectual property in government information as they appear to be.
Can the will of the author cancel her copyright? The Creative Commons licensing system depends on a positive answer to this question, and indeed, in the area of copyright proper, for the most part this is the case. But the related rights of performers and phonogram producers are a different matter: in addition to their exclusive rights, performers and phonogram producers are also granted a right to equitable remuneration for the use of their phonograms in communications to the public or broadcasting by wireless means. Given that, in many EU Member States the right to equitable remuneration has been implemented in the form of a (waivable or non-waivable) compulsory licensing scheme, while, even where a voluntary license scheme is in place, the functional reality of collecting societies will limit the flexibility that this will allow right-owners, the following question arises: is the legal framework of related rights and the collective management systems in place for the exploitation of these rights compatible with the use of Creative Commons licenses? This book chapter attempts to answer this complicated question with regard to the law of the two EU Member States of the UK and the Netherlands. The issue is examined against the backdrop of the innovative flexible collective management pilot project was initiated for musical works between Buma/Stemra, the Dutch collecting society for music authors and publishers, and Creative Commons Netherlands, the Dutch branch of Creative Commons. The chapter concludes that, when contemplating the application of Creative Commons licenses to musical works in the context of the user’s obligation to pay equitable remuneration to the performer and phonogram producer for use of a phonogram in a communication to the public or broadcast, three main circumstances must be kept in mind: (a) Whether the work has been published for commercial purposes; (b) Whether the work is offered by the user on an interactive, on-demand basis; (c) What type of licensing scheme is established in the country in question for the management of the right.
This book assembles chapters written by renowned European scholars on a number of selected issues relating to open content licensing. It offers a comprehensive and objective study of the principles of open content from a European intellectual property law perspective and of their possible implementation in practice.
Zie hier voor meer informatie over IRIS Special: http://www.obs.coe.int/shop/irisspecial
The archives of many television broadcasters now contain materiel which includes more than half a century of contemporary, documentary and entertainment history and are of immense cultural and economic value. Digitisation has created an entirely new technical basis for making these assets available to a wide audience, and there are a whole range of projects aimed at opening up audiovisual archives (including those of broadcasters). However, many projects to open up broadcasters' archives and exploit them online generally run up against serious problems when it comes to clearing the rights for these archived works. These problems arise, firstly, due to a contractual practice that developed in the pre-digital era and to aspects of copyright law that do not really meet the needs of the digital age. Secondly, the very large number of works stored in archives constitutes a challenge that is not easily overcome. The aim of this IRIS Special is to discuss the subject from a number of different perspectives. The team of authors involved is accordingly made up of representatives of many different interests: copyright holders and those who look after their interests, television broadcasters, lawyers and copyright experts.
Studie in opdracht van de Europese Commissie, uitgevoerd door IDATE, TNO en IViR.
In: Searching for Audiovisual Content, IRIS Special 2008, Strasbourg: European Audiovisual Observatory, p. 1-10.