Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Copyright Disputes before the CSA (France)




                                                                  


                                                                              Don't forget about me


It may seem that the "natural" forum for resolving copyright disputes between a TV channel and a collective management organization (exercising or managing copyright and related rights on behalf of its members) is a court of law.

An ongoing dispute between French pay-tv channel Canal + and the organziation representing authors and composers of dramatic works (SACD) is a timely reminder of the role that the CSA (Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel or audio-visual regulatory body) can also play in such cases.

As reported in the press (see here), SACD has brought its dispute with Canal + over payment of copyright fees before the CSA.  It claims that the latter has jurisdiction in such matters and this would indeed appear to be the case.

Article 42 of the Act of 30 September 1986 provides (in relevant part):

"Broadcasters [...] may be placed on formal notice [by the CSA] to comply with their obligations under law and regulations and under the principles laid out in Articles 1 and 3-1."

Article 1 of the Act, which guarantees the freedom to broadcast, sets out various limitations to such freedom including the respect of others' property.  Inasmuch as it has been clearly recognized by (French and European) courts that the latter expression includes intellectual property, the case in favour of the CSA's power to act under Article 42 in cases of intellectual property infringement is strong.

Moreover, a broadcaster enters into an agreement (convention) with the CSA when it obtains its license and such agreements generally also stipulate that it is incumbent upon the broadcaster to respect third parties' intellectual property.

Among the parties having standing to bring such matters before the CSA are professional and union bodies representing the audio-visual sector. 

Naturally, the measures the CSA may take in the event that it finds that there has indeed been a violation of a protected principle (such as the respect of intellectual property) are different in nature to those a court would take (e.g., ordering payment of fees and awarding damages).  The CSA may suspend the broadcasting license, impose a fine or, in extreme cases, revoke the license.


Monday, 29 January 2018

THE COPYKAT

This CopyKat is the first from our new intern, Mateusz Rachubka



Following the report made on the CopyKat [read here], as well Tibbie McIntyre’s insightful blog post on limitations of the YouTube Content ID system [read here], the story of 10-hour White Noise video published by Sebastian Tomczak continues. In his recent interview Mr Tomczak indicated that the Content ID system used by YouTube “incentivises to make spurious copyright claims”. In brief, the system allows copyright holders to upload their content to YouTube, which is then automatically matched against other content of YouTube videos and where a copyright infringement is detected, it generates automatic copyright claim. Although the author of the White Noise video was released from copyright claims two days following his tweet, he hopes that the cases like his will get YouTube to introduce changes to its automated system and prevent copyright claimants who do not have claims in a given work from diverting the money.


With North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations being underway the debate is heating up over the ‘Safe Harbour’ provisions. Internet law experts and advocacy groups want to expand the provisions that already exist in the US into Canada and Mexico, which allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to be shielded from copyright infringement liability provided that they promptly remove pirated content following the request of copyright holder. Certain organisations believe that the current balanced copyright system should be preserved and promoted into trade agreements.

On the other hand, 37 content groups being aware of the ‘whack-a-mole’ problem in trying to prevent copyrighted works being illegally posted online argue against ‘Safe Harbour’ measures. In their view, such provisions “fail to adequately protect our industry, disincentivize taking reasonable measures to protect intellectual property, and provide immunity from liability without sufficient safeguards for copyright holders”. Therefore, only passive platforms, which are not “engaged in communicating and do not generate any revenue from pirated content” shall be subject to ‘safe harbour’ protection.

Whether the position of both sides can be reconciled, remains to be seen. At the same time, there are many doubts if the agreement will still be in place, following threats of President Trump to withdraw from NAFTA if there is no substantive progress made.

Irish and Dutch Courts Order ISPs to Block More Copyright Infringing Websites

The music industry, which successfully took action in Ireland in 2013 against The Pirate Bay, in order to prevent pirate sites from freely distributed copyrighted works was recently followed by the film-makers. Last year the movie studios secured a court order to block three websites with infringing content. To the delight of Motion Pictures Association, representing inter alia Warner Brothers, Paramount, Disney, Columbia and Sony Pictures, last week the Commercial Court issued injunction and ordered internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to eight more pirate websites. In the view of the Court these sites were illegally streaming films and TV shows, some of which also provided an extensive library of unauthorised copies of works.

Provisional blocking injunctions were also granted by the Dutch district court of Lelystand, in the Netherlands ordering major ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay within 10 days. The order contains around 200 domains names that access the service and are used by the site. The decision and obligation on ISPs to block the websites will remain in force until the final decision will be given by the Supreme Court, expected later this year.


The annual Notorious Markets List prepared by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has come out. The report observes positive developments in the fight against copyright infringing companies and websites, such as successful closure of the ‘biggest stream-reaping’ Youtube-MP3 website.  Although the Office notes that the stream ripping sites may have legitimate uses, majority of operations “contribute overwhelmingly to copyright infringement”.

The USTR list also identifies prominent online websites, on which pirated works are reportedly available. One of such is The Pirate Bay, which despite numerous efforts and enforcement actions across various jurisdictions is still among top 100 most popular sites worldwide, continuously enables users to illegally download copyrighted content. Another worth mentioning website on the list is popular in Russia and neighbouring countries social networking site, vKontakte. VK according to the publication reportedly “facilitates the distribution of copyright-infringing files” and despite taking steps to fight piracy it is still a “hub of infringing activity”.

The Story of Copyright Trolling: On the Rise in Finland, Troubled in the US

Copyright trolls, who often in a dubious and ‘extortion-like’ practices aim to extract money through litigation or settlement from alleged pirates, have been present in the United States for over fifteen years. Recently, it can be observed that the move, starting from 2013, has been increasingly popular in the Scandinavian countries, particularly in Finland. As examined by NGO activist Ritva Puolakka, in the period between 2013 and 2017, the Market Court in Finland, which deals with the matters of Intellectual Property, has ordered internet service providers to release the details of almost 200,000 Finnish internet users. TorrentFreak notes that even though each IP address provided “might not lead to a unique individual, the number is huge when one considers the potential returns if everyone pays up hundreds of euros to make supposed court cases go away”.

Good news from TechDirt is that is seems that copyright trolls are not always as successful in their pursuits against alleged infringers. This has reportedly happened in the US to Venice Pi, which claimed to have rights in the movie called ‘Once Upon a Time in Venice’ and attempted to sue 91-year-old man, who later passed away. With concerns over the quality and validity of the evidence Judge Zilly demanded information about the way in which evidence was collected. However, the details provided have raised even more concerns as to the company filing the lawsuit, evidence collection process or even existence of the key experts. The Judge being suspicious over the trolling activities has order against Venice Pi and required the company provide details in over dozen cases. This may open up the copyright troll to even more troubles.


Sports Fans Coalition (SFC), a non-profit advocacy group is planning to use its recently launched Locast service to stream NFL games through local broadcast networks in the New York City, without making a payment for a license. In their view, such service will be legal and in accordance with exception in 17 U.S. Code § 111(5), which allows non-profit organisation to rebroadcast programs provided that there is no commercial motive. Since its launch on 11th January, as stated by SFC’s founder David Goodfriend “tens of thousands of New Yorkers have taken advantage of Locast”, which is “more than double the number of users we wanted to have after 30 days.” The enthusiasm cannot be however observed on the side of the pitch, namely the reaction of the sports broadcasters. According to the National Association of Broadcasters such service must be illegal and similarly to efforts made by its predecessors (think of Aereo or FilmOn), SFC is unlikely to “survive legal scrutiny”.


 Formula 1 enthusiasts would also be aware that at the end of the last race of 2017 season a new logo was unveiled replacing the iconic logo designed in 1987.  The rebranding however has not received a particularly warm welcome amongst the fans and the drivers (although perhaps not as bad as the reaction to the now dropped new logo for Leeds United Football club in the United Kingdom). It now turns out that the new logo too closely resembles a logo of US-based company 3M, which claims infringement of copyright. The similarity of the branding appears in the slanted letter ‘F’, which is comparable to the one used in 3M’s ‘Futuro’-branded flight compression tights. 3M has not confirmed yet whether it will seek legal action against F1 or whether F1 will aim to pay settlement fee to be able to use the logo on the merchandising. Nevertheless, with potential copyright action, as well as the fact that 3M has filed applications for both US and the EU trademarks, a new F1 logo story may bring a lot of interesting off-track action before the lights go out and the season officially begins in the end of March.  


And finally, we come to an end of this CopyKat with the story of a cat, which became a hero of internet memes, gathered over 6 million likes on Facebook and is estimated to have generated about $100 million in revenue – Grumpy Cat. Grenade Beverage, as part of the license agreement with Grumpy Cat owners, has paid a one-off $150,000 fee for the use of Grumpy Cat’s image on its iced coffee products branded as ‘Grumppucions’. However, the coffee-selling company was sued by the owners of the cat for ‘blatantly infringing’ their copyrights and trademarks by selling other types of coffee and T-shirts with the cat’s image. Following the long-lasting dispute between Grumpy Cat Limited and Grenade Beverage the California federal court awarded the cat’s owner the sum of $710,001 for the copyright and trade mark infringement. In a brief comment, the attorney representing Grumpy Cat Limited stated that “Grumpy Cat feels vindicated and feels the jury reached a just verdict”.

Monday, 22 January 2018

The 'Catch Up' COPYKAT

After a week in Groningen in Holland at the EuroSonic music conference and festival. it's time for a quick catch up before our two new interns, Mateusz Rachubka and Kelsey Farish take over. And since you were asking - the buzzwords at ESNS 2018 were 'bots' and 'blockchain' ! As for the word of copyright, and still mostly in the world of music - here goes!


There has been a LOT of chat about the fact that even with the 1998 twenty year extension to the copyright term in the USA, copyrights will (again) begin to enter the public domain with works from 1923 in the public domain next year, and Mickey Mouse cartoons entering the public domain starting in 2024, with Steamboat Willie. Will Disney lead another charge to extend the the term - AGAIN? Ars Technica's Timothy B Lee has polled lobbyists for the record and movie industries and so far there seems to be no will to push for any legislative pushes this year, and EFF's Daniel Nazer suggests that the studios know that there would be a big pushback now - "the days of copyright being a wonky, obscure issue that fronts the families of dead artists as human shields for policies that let big companies lock up more and more of our shared culture are over."


Still in the US, the music industry has (mostly) come together to support a raft of new legislation. First of all there is the CLASSICS Act, which is aimed at rectifying the much discussed pre-1972 quirk in American copyright law that excludes the earlier sound recordings from the performance right and therefor royalties from airplay (litigation by the Turtles, pictured left, has kept us busy on this blog).  US music trade bodies, lobbying groups and collecting societies representing record labels, music publishers, artists, songwriters, record producers and artist managers have also  backed the AMP Act, which would introduce a new right for record producers and sound engineers, and reform to the way satellite radio royalties are calculated, and provide a general performing right  for sound recording copyright to rectify another odd position in US copyrights law where AM/FM radio stations do not royalties (at all) to artists and labels for the airplay of sound recordings (they do play for the use of the 'song'). And the music industry is (mostly) behind the recently unveiled Music Modernization Act, which would cover the anomalies in America’s mechanical rights that (as CMU says) "has resulted in songwriters going unpaid and streaming services getting sued, including that mega-bucks $1.6 billion lawsuit filed by Wixen last month."  More here

Facebook has signed another multi-year licensing deal with a major music company -Sony/ATV Music Publishing.The news comes just two weeks after Universal Music Group announced that it had signed an agreement with the social media giant, which draws more than 2 billion users every month to its platform. Sony ATV’s multi-territory, multi-year deal covers a catalogue of more than 3 million songs, including those by Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Drake, The Chainsmokers, Sam Smith, Sia and Kanye West. On top of this, Facebook them announced it had signed three more significant music licensing agreements,  this time with SESAC’s HFA/Rumblefish platform, Kobalt Music Publishing and Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights. SESAC says that its new Facebook agreement, a standardised deal in which indie publishers can choose to opt in, will provide ‘streamline music licensing and administration for the independent publishing market’.


Lana Del Rey by Bea Gibson
Are Radiohead suing Lana Del Rey over an alleged copy of their iconic song 'Creep'? Lana Del Rey recently tweeted: “it’s true about the lawsuit. Although I know my song wasn’t inspired by ‘Creep’, Radiohead feel it was and want 100% of the publishing. I offered up to 40 over the last few months but they will only accept 100. Their lawyers have been relentless, so we will deal with it in court”.” Whilst many took this to mean a lawsuit had been filed by Radiohead’s lawyers, that isn’t quite the full picture. The spokes person for Warner/ Chappell states that: “As Radiohead’s music publisher, it’s true that we’ve been in discussions since August of last year with Lana Del Rey’s representatives. It’s clear that the verses of ‘Get Free’ use musical elements found in the verses of ‘Creep’ and we’ve requested that this be acknowledged in favour of all writers of ‘Creep’. To set the record straight, no lawsuit has been issued and Radiohead have not said they ‘will only accept 100%’ of the publishing of ‘Get Free'”.


Four of Britain’s biggest karaoke firms "face ruin" after being sued for infringing copyright in the US. It seems that "they must cough up hundreds of millions in damages after failing to pay royalties on versions of hits by acts including The Beatles and Oasis." £527 million in damages to be precise. UK firms SBI Global, Mr Entertainer, Zoom Entertainments and Music Factory re-create hits without the vocals and sell them on. But while they paid royalties on sales in the UK and Europe they did not have permission to sell in the US, a US court has ruled. More here


Fox and the Premier League have joined telcos Singtel and StarHub in a private case against two Android set-top box sellers in Singapore for allegedly ‘wilfully infringing’ copyright. The actions against Singapore distributor Synnex Trading and retailer An-Nahl, along with their respective directors Jia Xiaofeng and Abdul Nagib Abdul Aziz, have been brought under Section 136 (3A) of the Copyright Act. In a joint statement, Starhub, SingTel, Fox Networks Group and the FAPL said the broadcasting industry would continue to take "concerted and decisive action" against content piracy through public education as well as via legal channels to uphold intellectual property rights saying “The alarming proliferation of piracy and illicit streaming devices that are used to view copyright-protected content hurts both consumers and producers. Piracy makes it untenable for producers to keep on creating content for the public's enjoyment and Singapore cannot effectively encourage innovation when intellectual property rights are constantly trampled on”.







Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Sebastian Tomczak and the limitations of YouTube’s $60 million dollar Content ID software

Having had an extended hiatus from blogging after a particularly bruising and fraught masters dissertation process (!), this blogger is absolutely delighted to return to discuss the plight of Sebastian Tomczak, a music technologist whose 10 hour YouTube video of White Noise was plagued by copyright complaints (this story was mentioned on the Copykat last week). After a furore that engulfed the internet over a period of days, Tomczak tweeted on the 08 January that YouTube released the copyright claims on the video.

Tomczak’s approach and his music – does it attract copyright protection?

Tomczak interviewed with Torrent Freak, and discussed his approach to his work:

I teach and work in a music department at a University here in Australia. I’ve got a PhD in chiptune, and my main research interests are various intersections of music / sound / tech e.g. arduino programming and DIY stuff, modular synthesis, digital production, sound design for games, etc,

The white noise video was part of a number of videos I put online at the time. I was interested in listening to continuous sounds of various types, and how our perception of these kinds of sounds and our attention changes over longer periods – e.g. distracted, focus, sleeping, waking, working etc,.

I ‘created’ and uploaded the video in question. The video was created by generating a noise waveform of 10 hours length using the freeware software Audacity and the built-in noise generator. The resulting 10-hour audio file was then imported into ScreenFlow, where the text was added and then rendered as one 10-hour video file.” (I added the red to the font.)

As a very general rule of thumb, for copyright protection there must be (i) a work (ii) that work must be original (iii) the work must be fixated. Great debate can be expounded on all three of these aspects – what a work is, what originality is and what amounts to fixation. However, it is the question of originality that is most pertinent to Tomczak’s case. Within the European jurisdiction, a work is considered to be original when it is ‘the author’s own intellectual creation’ (Infopaq); where she might exert ‘creative freedom’ (FAPL) and where she is able to ‘express her creative abilities in the production of the work by making free and creative choices … so she can stamp the work created with her “personal touch”’ (Painer).

From these legal considerations of originality, it would appear from Tomczak’s description of how the work was generated (in red above) that it would likely not meet the legal originality threshold. It appears that no creative freedom was exercised nor were free and creative choices made. (I must concede, however, that I have based my assumption on the quote provided by Tomczak above. It is possible that he made creative choices during the creation of his piece and just did not explain this to Torrent Freak.)

YouTube’s Content ID Software and the Article 13 question

Tomczak’s case is yet another example that highlights the limitations of Google’s content ID software. It shows that the software is incapable of determining whether or not copyright actually subsists within the video in question. (And this case does not even touch upon fair dealing or fair use issues!)

Readers will be aware of Article 13 of the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single market. It is supposed to redress the ‘value gap’, which posits that content creators are losing massive profits because of copyright infringement online. Article 13 is specifically directed at platforms that host user-uploaded content and threatens potentially to obligate these platforms either to use content ID software – such as that used by YouTube – or to agree licenses with rightsholders. If platform providers that host user-uploaded content are obligated under the law to use content ID software, the completely absurd set of circumstances that materialised in the Tomczak case – where white noise was subjected to copyright complaints – would arise as a result of the operation of the law
 
Law is an essential aspect of the social contract and a regulative concept that binds our society together. If we make laws that generate absurd outcomes, surely we must question why we choose to govern ourselves in this way. This writer must argue that laws that intrinsically create preposterous circumstances will probably not serve society positively – they will serve to alienate citizens and inhibit cultural development.

The limitations of YouTube’s $60 million Content ID software are brought into sharp focus in Tomczak’s White Noise case and brings to mind the dangers of making the use of these types of software obligatory under the law. Article 13 is currently with the Legal Affairs committee and has been hotly contested throughout its entire journey through the legislative process. The committee was scheduled to vote on it this month but this will probably be pushed back to March due to the difficulties associated with the Article. This writer is waiting to see the result of the compromises and negotiations currently taking place surrounding Article 13 with bated breath.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

THE COPYKAT

Copyright - Where are we now? What is on the Horizon?

At the start of this year this CopyKat looks to bring together various pieces of news that demonstrate; the current challenges facing copyright, a look to how those challenges are being addressed and finally new challenges that could be on the horizon. Here goes!



When people upload original content to YouTube, there should be no problem with getting paid for that content, should it attract enough interest from the public.

Those who upload infringing content get a much less easy ride, with their uploads getting flagged for abuse, potentially putting their accounts at risk.

That’s what’s happened to Australia-based music technologist Sebastian Tomczak, who uploaded a completely non-infringing work to YouTube and now faces five separate copyright complaints.



Following on from the above, we can see further evidence here of how the video reporting tools within YouTube are being abused.

YouTube’s copyright rules are being abused by the Azerbaijan government in an attempt to censor content from the global video-sharing site according to one of the country’s few independent news services.

The Meydan TV network says four of its video reports, which highlighted allegations of official corruption, were removed on the grounds that they infringed YouTube’s copyright rules. And under the Google-owned giant’s terms, this brought the channel close to being taken off the site altogether.

YouTube is one of the few remaining mediums Meydan TV has for reaching audiences in Azerbaijan. The government blocked its website last year, and it has also jailed the network’s journalists.

Though both the RFE and Meydan TV videos have been restored, Milli is concerned that the threat to his network’s content remains. At the moment, he says YouTube is “failing badly” in policing its own rules.



The UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has outlined the impact new EU rules affecting online content services could have on copyright holders in a new consultation paper published ahead of the new rules taking effect.

The IPO's explained (24-page / 4.72MB PDF) that rights holders will lose an element of control over how their material is accessed once they have entered licensing agreements with providers of online content services with paid subscribers.

Under the new rules, which come into force on 1 April this year, online content service providers must ensure that they make their service available to paid subscribers "in the same manner as in the member state of residence" when those subscribers are "present in a member state other than the member state of residence for a limited period of time".



By taking necessary steps, online service providers (OSP) can avoid legal litigation. The U.S. Copyright Office has instituted a new electronic registration system, where online service providers can protect themselves from copyright infringement lawsuits.

Companies that have an online presence can unknowingly be liable for intellectual properties, such as poetry, novels, songs and movies, that are posted on their websites by users or any third party. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) offers a “safe harbor” protection.

“The Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides OSPs an opportunity to remain innocent middlemen in a dispute between copyright holders and any user who posts infringing content, provided the OSP meets certain criteria,” said John Saint Amour, a supervisor at the U.S. Copyright Office.

Starting on January 1st, all OSPs are responsible for users’ posts, whether they post original content or copyright infringing content on their website, unless they electronically register with the U.S. Copyright Office.



When swapping files over the Internet first began downloading of material wasn’t a particularly widespread activity. A reasonable amount of content was available, but it was relatively inaccessible. Then peer-to-peer came along and it sparked a revolution.

From the beginning, copyright holders felt that the law would answer their problems, whether that was by suing Napster, Kazaa, or even end users. Some industry players genuinely believed this strategy was just a few steps away from achieving its goals. Just a little bit more pressure and all would be under control.

Then, when the landmark MGM Studios v. Grokster decision was handed down in the studios’ favor during 2005, the excitement online was palpable. As copyright holders rejoiced in this body blow for the pirating masses, file-sharing communities literally shook under the weight of the ruling. For a day, maybe two: On an almost continual basis rightsholders are calling for tougher anti-piracy measures on top of more restrictive and punitive copyright law. It's undoubtedly a threat to current Internet freedoms as we know them. But really, is anyone truly surprised that entertainment companies still hate their content being shared for free? TorrentFreak has some strong opinions on this!


Admittedly this article does seem to directly contradict the above. However it demonstrates the entirely divided approach that seems to be prevalent when considering the future of copyright and how we manage our creative material.

On January 1, 2019,  books, films, and songs published in 1923 will fall out of copyright protection - something that hasn't happened in 40 years. At least, that's what will happen if Congress doesn't retrospectively change copyright law to prevent it - as Congress has done two previous times.

Until the 1970s, copyright terms only lasted for 56 years. But Congress retroactively extended the term of older works to 75 years in 1976. Then on October 27, 1998—just weeks before works from 1923 were scheduled to fall into the public domain—President Bill Clinton signed legislation retroactively extending the term of older works to 95 years, locking up works published in 1923 or later for another 20 years.

Will Congress do the same thing again this year? To our surprise, there seemed to be universal agreement that another copyright extension was unlikely to be on the agenda this year.


Though this has been an identified issue in the past, recent developments in this field are leading people to think again regarding our approach to copyright and AI.

Self-aware robots, androids or call-them-what-you-will have been part of science fiction almost from its beginnings. Recently in science reality, there’s been early, speculative discussion about “creative” works generated by these types of machines, and how copyright would apply.

It’s easy — and tempting! — to get wrapped around the axle when it comes to the prospects for artificial intelligence (AI) programs and their creation of original works. When works created by self-running software applications become more common, the result is both more possibilities and more challenges to existing copyright law. But let’s take a step back and consider what we know already, and then move on to what may soon be coming.



Finally, where would any 2018 online blog post be without mentioning Blockchain at least once!

Former photo pioneer Kodak is turning to blockchain technology as part of an initiative to help photographers control their image rights.

The firm said the launch of ‘KODAKCoin’, in collaboration UK tech firm WENN Digital would help photographers receive payment for licensing their work immediately in cryptocurrency form.

KODAKCoin will use blockchain technology that settles transactions using computer algorithms, used by bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

Jan Denecke. WENN Digital chief executive , said: “It is critical photographers know their work and their income is handled securely and with trust, which is exactly what we did with KODAKCoin.

CopyKat Fights

To round this CopyKat off, below are three copyright disputes that have made recent headlines. Maybe not the most auspicious start to the year for these individuals….

Lana Del Rey sued by Radiohead over plagiarism claims - Lana Del Rey has confirmed that she is being sued by Radiohead over similarities between the final track on her current album ‘Lust For Life’ – which is called ‘Get Free’ – and the band’s 1992 hit ‘Creep’. There has been a recent update on this story which you can see here - is there actually a lawsuit?

BBC insists "no breach of copyright" over use of Brigadier's grandfather in Doctor Who special - Andy Frankham-Allen, creative director of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart creator Mervyn Haisman's estate, has now downplayed any row with the BBC,  and also explained how the Brigadier's daughter Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) was approved for Doctor Who - and the Radio Times reports that any dispute over his grandson (Captain Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart, played by Mark Gatiss) who was in the recent Doctor Who Christmas special Twice Upon a Time had been settled with a "amicable, and non-financial, solution to the issue".

Ed Sheeran-Penned Song for Tim McGraw Is Target of Copyright Lawsuit - Two  Australians are asserting that Ed's "The Rest of Our Life" is the result of blatant copying and say it's hardly a coincidence that the musician who performed their own work is in a relationship with a Sony executive tasked with marketing the defendants' song. Gosh!!!!

This CopyKat by Matthew Lingard


Ps: As my time as an intern at 1709 comes to an end, I would like to thank the entire 1709 team for their insight and for giving me this opportunity. I would further like to wish the entire team and all of our readers a happy and prosperous 2018.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

French State Ordered to Pay €26,100 to Bouygues Telecom

In a recent decision (4 December 2017), the French Conseil d'Etat (the Supreme Court in respect of administrative and public law cases) ordered the State to pay French Internet Access Provider Bouygues Telecom the sum of €26,100.

The context is that of the so-called graduated response system overseen by HADOPI.  It will be recalled that an Act of 2009 implemented the system under which a series of warnings are issued by HADOPI (an administrative body) to infringers using peer-to-peer networks to unlawfully share protected content.  Upon the "third strike", sanctions may be taken.

In order for the system to work properly, the law mandated that the IAPs collect certain identifying data on their subscribers and turn over same to the public authority (which then issued the warnings).  The Act further provided for the adoption of a decree setting out the regulatory framework under which the IAPs could then seek reimbursement for the specific costs incurred in carrying out such tasks.  

In the absence of the adoption of such a decree, Bouygues Telecom brought proceedings against the State which culminated in a ruling in December 2015 whereby the court ordered the Prime Minister to take the necessary reulatory measures within six months.  The ruling went on to state that the order was subject to an "astreinte" (civil penalty) of 100 euros per day after the deadline.  The relevant decree was signed on 9 March 2017, i.e., 261 days after the expiry of the court-imposed deadline.  Accordingly, Bouygues Telecom sought - and obtained - liquidation of the "astreinte" for this time period in the amount of €26,100  (261 x €100).

Link to ruling here

Monday, 8 January 2018

Introducing our new Interns

Kelsey Farish
The 1709 Blog is delighted to announce that, for the next 6 months, Kelsey Farish and Mateusz Rachubka will join the team as interns.

Kelsey Farish is currently a trainee solicitor in the IP/IT team at Taylor Vinters LLP. 

She studied American law (BA) at Washington State University, and EU law and politics (MSc) at the London School of Economics. 

Kelsey is passionate about the film and entertainment industries, and is particularly interested in digital media platforms, content distribution and licensing. 

You can read more about Kelsey here.


Mateusz Rachubka
Mateusz Rachubka is currently an LL.M. student in Intellectual Property and Information Law at King’s College London. 

He received his bachelor’s degree in Law from Lancaster University, during which he also spent a year on academic exchange at the University of Vienna.

Matt holds a keen interest in current developments in the area of copyright protection, data privacy and new technologies. 

Having watched over 180 Formula 1 races in his life, he is a person to ask any questions you might have. 

You can learn more about Mateusz here and follow him on Twitter here


Welcome Kelsey and Mateusz!