Category: Copyright

1
European Court Considers Whether Hyperlinking to Unauthorised Content on Third-party Websites Infringes Copyright
2
The Protection of Creative Designs: New Evaluation Standards Introduced by the Italian Supreme Court
3
The end for the Dallas Buyers Club Dispute and Speculative Invoicing? Or is it Just the Beginning.
4
H&M Unsuccessful in Challenge to YSL’s Registered Designs for Handbags
5
Consider Fair Use Before Submitting Takedown Request
6
Sydney Fashion Law Breakfast – Thursday 15 October
7
Southern District of New York Court Parses ‘Fair Use’ in Fox News’ Copyright Infringement Dispute with Media Monitoring Service
8
A bed Called ‘Nathalie’ – A Dispute Over Creative Designs Protected by Italian Copyright Law
9
Is it Still Popcorn Time?
10
Australian Court Orders Copy House to Undergo Significant Alterations: A Recent Decision on Copyright Infringement in Building Designs

European Court Considers Whether Hyperlinking to Unauthorised Content on Third-party Websites Infringes Copyright

By Alessandra Feller and Alessia Castelli

Following the provision of a recent Advocate General opinion, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is expected to give further guidance on hyperlinking soon.

A dispute arose in the Netherlands between Sanoma Media Netherlands BV (and others) and GS Media in relation to the posting of website hyperlinks to third party sites which contained photographs the communication of which was not authorised by Sanoma and the other right holders.

Specifically, the Dutch Supreme Court has referred certain questions to the CJEU, asking whether

  1. hyperlinks to a freely accessible third party website which displays material without the consent of the copyright owner should be considered a “communication to the public” within the meaning of Art 3(1) of the Directive no. 2001/29 (“InfoSoc Directive”).
  2. In such circumstances, whether the following factors are relevant:
    • the awareness of the hyperlinker of the failure of authorisation from the copyright owner, and/or
    • the facilitation role played by the hyperlink on the accessibility of the material.Such conclusions were based on the grounds that the photographs were “freely accessible” to the general internet public on third party websites.

The CJEU decision on this case is much awaited, and it will be complementing the argument introduced by the Svensson case on hyperlinking. The decision in Svensson left some ambiguity as to whether it made a difference that works had been published on a site linked to without the copyright owner’s consent.

On April 7, 2016, Advocate General Wathelet  released an opinion that hyperlinking to unauthorised content does not constitute an act of communication to the public under Article 3(1) of the InfoSoc Directive, because the intervention of the hyper linker is not essential to the making available of the copyright works to users. He also held that it is irrelevant whether the hyperlinker is aware that the linked content is unauthorised. In the AG’s view, the only criterion that mattered is whether the linked website is freely accessible or whether the hyperlink is used to circumvent a restriction put in place in order to limit access to a protected work. Only in the latter case would a hyperlink constitute a communication to the public.

The Protection of Creative Designs: New Evaluation Standards Introduced by the Italian Supreme Court

By Alessandra Feller and Alessandra Bellani

Through judgment no. 23292 of November 13 2015, the Italian Supreme Court introduced a distinction between objective and subjective standards, which should guide the judges’ assessment in order to decide if an industrial design can seek protection under Italian copyright law (the “IC Law”).

The Supreme Court recalled the principles established under the IC Law providing that:

  • industrial designs are worthy of protection if they have a “quid pluris” that consists of creative and artistic features; and
  • simple creative works are worthy of protection even if they only have an intrinsic artistic value.

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The end for the Dallas Buyers Club Dispute and Speculative Invoicing? Or is it Just the Beginning.

By Greg Pieris and Simon Casinader

On 16 December 2015, another chapter (and perhaps the final chapter) closed in the long running dispute between the rights holder of the film Dallas Buyers Club (DBC) and six Australian ISPs. Justice Perram of the Federal Court of Australia dismissed DBC’s application for preliminary discovery of the identities of over 4,000 Australian BitTorrent users who allegedly shared copies of the film.

As we reported in April 2015 (see here), Justice Perram initially ruled in favour of DBC ordering six ISPs to disclose the details of 4,726 customers. However, the Court was concerned this information would be used to write to account holders making demands for payments very much excess of what might actually be recovered in any actual suit (a practice known as “speculative invoicing”). To address this concern, the Court adopted the novel approach of making the release of account holder information conditional on DBC submitting for the Court’s approval a draft of the letter of demand proposed to be sent to the relevant account holders.

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H&M Unsuccessful in Challenge to YSL’s Registered Designs for Handbags

Fashion retailer, H&M has been unsuccessful in its application to the EU General Court to invalidate YSL’s Community designs for handbags. Community designs protect designs for up to 25 years in every EU Member State. In November 2006, YSL successfully registered two of its designs for handbags. H&M had applied for a declaration of invalidity for these two YSL designs arguing that the designs had no individual character.

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Consider Fair Use Before Submitting Takedown Request

The U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has been a potent tool for combatting copyright infringement on the Internet. Section 512 shields Internet service providers from liability if they expeditiously remove content after copyright owners submit takedown requests notifying the ISP of infringing content. Last week, in Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., the Ninth Circuit held that copyright owners must consider fair use before sending takedown notices, or they could face liability for damages.

This decision cautions copyright owners to take a closer look at infringing content and document their fair use analysis before submitting takedown requests. An intensive investigation is not required and the fair use analysis may not be correct, but the copyright owner must have a good faith belief that fair use does not apply.

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Sydney Fashion Law Breakfast – Thursday 15 October

How close is too close? Trends, inspirations and courts – where is the line between paying homage and knocking off someone else’s design?

K&L Gates invites you to our Fashion Law Breakfast on Thursday 15 October to explore the ins and outs of copying in the fashion industry, including tips on how to avoid getting into hot water and the legal options available to designers who discover that their creations have been copied. A panel of fashion industry and legal experts will discuss the role of trends in creating designs and address the difference between being inspired and being liable for copying.

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Southern District of New York Court Parses ‘Fair Use’ in Fox News’ Copyright Infringement Dispute with Media Monitoring Service

On 25 August 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) ruled that certain functions of the TVEyes media-monitoring service infringe Fox News’ copyrights in its programming content.

TVEyes is a for-profit, media-monitoring service with over 22,000 subscribers that indexes nearly all news-related television and radio content in a searchable database. TVEyes allows users to track the usage of words or phrases of interest and to view the transcripts and video clips of the portions of the television broadcast that use the search term. Subscribers may set ‘watch lists’ for terms to receive real time alerts when certain terms are used and search past broadcasts. TVEyes also provides subscribers with analytic data such as a segment’s Nielsen viewership rating, the frequency with which a term has been mentioned over a specified time period and the geographic markets and channels where a term is used. Additionally, TVEyes users may archive, indefinitely, video clips that appear in response to search queries on TVEyes’ server. Users can also email the video clip links to others, allowing the recipients of the link to view the video clip on TVEyes’ server, as well as download copies of identified digital video clips for offline use and permanent storage.

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A bed Called ‘Nathalie’ – A Dispute Over Creative Designs Protected by Italian Copyright Law

A recent judgment on 16 June  2015 (no. 7432/2015), saw the Court of Milan ascertain the difference between a shape trademark and an artistic shape classified as industrial design protected under copyright law.

The dispute concerned the use and the reproduction of the design of the renowned ‘Nathalie’ bed (the Design), which was created in the ‘70s by Italian designer and architect Vico Magistretti. Mr. Magistretti (and later his heirs) granted an exclusive licence of the Design to the plaintiff.

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Is it Still Popcorn Time?

On 31 August 2015 the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Court of Genova (Italian Prosecutor) issued a sequestration order for copyright infringement against popular streaming software: Popcorn Time.

Popcorn Time (the Software) is open source software  which links users through a peer-to-peer network by allowing them to stream and watch movies or TV series. In other words, the Software does not allow users to download data from a server, but users can download files directly from different sources (i.e. other users).

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Australian Court Orders Copy House to Undergo Significant Alterations: A Recent Decision on Copyright Infringement in Building Designs

Earlier this week the Supreme Court of Queensland (Court) delivered its judgment in the case of Coles v Dormer & Ors, a copyright infringement case about home designs. The Court found that a house built in an exclusive Port Douglas estate was created by copying the design of another house built close by in the same estate, and ordered that the infringing house undergo significant alterations to change its appearance.

John and Edith Bredens were prospective buyers of a home in The Sands, which had been constructed by Port Douglas Builders in accordance with plans created by designer Gregory Skyring. The Bredens were not successful in purchasing the house, which was ultimately bought by Stephen Coles, who gave evidence that he was particularly taken with the unique style of the house.

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