Author: Andres Guadamuz

European Court Declares that Linking Can Infringe Copyright

[Cross-Posted from TechnoLlama, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA)] A long-awaited case on intermediary liability and copyright infringement has finally been decided by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The case is GS Media v Sanoma (C‑160/15), which involves Playboy pictures published online, and the liability of linking to said pictures. Sanoma publishes Playboy magazine, which made public a set of pictures in 2011 taken by one of its photographers. GS Media operates a website called GeenStijl, which provides light-hearted news and content in Dutch. On October 27 2011, GeenStijl published links to pictures that belonged to Playboy, but they were hosted in a cloud file storage service in Australia. That same day, Sanoma sent a communication to have the pictures removed, and GS Media failed to comply. Another article was published with links to the files, and forum users in GeenStijl also published links to the infringing content. Sanoma sued for copyright infringement, and a court in Amsterdam sided with the claimants. GS Media appealed, and while the court decided that they were not hosting the content, the links affected Playboy’s and Sanoma’s rights. GS Media appealed again, and the Dutch Supreme Court referred several questions to the CJEU. The questions referred were: ‘1.      (a)   If anyone other than the copyright holder refers by means of a hyperlink on a website controlled by him to a website which is managed by...

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Court Rules Copyright Is Infringed by 8 Second Video Clips

[Reposted from Technollama.co.uk, Link (CC-BY_NC-SA)] How much do you need to reproduce a video or broadcast in order to infringe copyright? In the age of Vine, Periscope and animated gifs, this question has become more important than ever. We now may have a partial answer in the case of England And Wales Cricket Board Ltd v Tixdaq Ltd. The claimants in the case are Sky and the E&W Cricket Board (EWCB), which own the copyright in most live cricket broadcasts. The defendants operate the website Fanatix, which offers sport news, video and commentary. Fanatix’s users uploaded a considerable amount of 8 second cricket clips to the Fanatix companion app, and these were also available in other social media operated by the defendants. The claimants argue that these clips infringe their copyright, while the defendants argued that these fall under fair dealing for reporting and news coverage. Interestingly, the defendants also used an intermediary liability defence, arguing that they were simply mere conduits and hosting content uploaded by third parties. The case analyses the Fanatix app, which is designed to allow users to capture and upload 8 second clips, inspired by the popularity of Vine in social media, It must be pointed out that Vines are 6 seconds long, and not the subject of litigation (yet). Some of these clips were uploaded to the Fanatix website by employees and operators....

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Can You Copyright a Tweet?

[Reposted from technollama.com, Link, CC-BY-NC)]  Some weeks ago I was asked to comment on whether tweets are subject to copyright protection. Unsurprisingly, this is a common question that gets asked over and over again, as some of the information online is contradictory and misleading, or refers to other jurisdictions. Do we have an answer in the UK? Sadly, the question has remained open because there has not been a direct case that deals with the issue, and the lack of litigation creates uncertainty in some people’s minds. The situation is made more complex by the diverse nature of Twitter, a tweet can be text, but it can also be made of pictures, gifs, vines, and even embedded videos. We’ll deal with these separately. Text Original literary works are subject to copyright protection. The question is then whether a text consisting of 140 characters or less (or is it “140 characters or fewer”?) is worthy of protection. According to some US blogs, the answer is no (because, well, because he says so). The answer in Europe and the UK is less straightforward, but there is a good indication in my opinion (and that of some commentators) that a large number of tweets are given copyright protection if they meet the existing standards. European copyright law does not have a minimal limit on what constitutes a protected copyright work. For example,...

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Has the UK abolished copyright? Analysis of new orphan work legislation

[technollama.co.uk (Link)(CC-BY-NC-SA)] Has the UK abolished copyright law with the passing of orphan works legislation? I’ll answer quickly with Betteridge’s Law of Headlines: NO. However, if you listen to some copyright maximalist outlets, and particularly to the photograph lobby, you would believe that all copyright has been abolished as of now. Just look at some of the headlines: UK.Gov passes Instagram Act: All your pics belong to everyone now (wtih the even more delightful subtitle: “Everyone = Silicon Valley ad platforms tech companies”, subtlety was never one of Orlowski’s strengths). UK copyright owners no longer control the right to copy their work (the URL for this reads Cretins 1, Creators 0). Did the UK just abolish copyright? (a bit more measured) Although all of the above coverage is a distorted exaggeration of the actual law, one has to give some credit to Andrew Orlowski for beating everyone to the news and setting the tone of the debate by warning that Google owns everyone’s pictures now, and by coining a media-friendly term Instagram Act. Well played, sir, well played. So, I will first explain what are orphan works, why do they matter, and what is actually in the law. Orphan works The term orphan work is widely used to define copyright works for which no author can be found after an exhaustive search. This area has been identified as of...

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Is Panama About to Pass the Worst Copyright Law in History?

[Reposted from the author’s blog technollama] In a Rogue’s Gallery of copyright legislation, many efforts deserve mention. The DMCA is surely there, together with Japan’s new copyright law, the Digital Economy Act, and Ley Sinde. But a new Panamanian copyright bill is giving those laws a run for their money. The excellent project at Infojustice.org have directed our attention to a new bill that has been sent to the Panamanian legislature by the executive branch. This is Proyecto 510-2012 (henceforth 510 Bill) for a new copyright and related rights law. At first glance, this looks like your average piece of copyright legislation: rights, exceptions, limitations, terms of protection, provisions on digital rights, etc. What makes the new law completely different to others I have seen is in the enforcement section. Most copyright law relies on the actions of the injured party to initiate legal proceedings in the shape of civil copyright infringement suits; usually there is room for some ex officio actions, such as criminal prosecution, customs seizures and so on and so forth. The 510 Bill gives new powers to an administrative branch of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry called the General Copyright Directorate (Dirección General de Derecho de Autor, henceforth DGDA). Unlike similar copyright administrative offices around the world, the DGDA will have the power to impose fines on infringers without prejudice of further criminal or...

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