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Collecting societies

Three Spanish courts uphold validity of music free licenses

10 May, 2006
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Spanish courts have upheld three times already the validity of music free licenses. In the three cases, the Sociedad General de Autores (SGAE), Spanish music copyright collecting society, sued some open public premises on alleged rights to the music listened therein.

In all the three cases, the defences demonstrated that the music played was downloaded from the Internet and was under free licenses. The Spanish system presumes that SGAE holds the right to represent all authors, unless the contrary is proven.

The defendants in the three cases proved that the music downloaded from Internet and burnt into CDs was carefully chosen as free licensed music.

In the first resolution, dated on the 2 February 2006, the term "Copy left" appears for first time in a Spanish resolution. The SGAE

EU moves to criminalise IP offences

10 May, 2006
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The European Commission has revived a proposal to criminalise infringement of all intellectual property rights "on a commercial scale" after a European Court of Justice ruling that the Commission may include criminal offences in their Directives.

The proposal would also criminalise the "attempting, aiding or abetting and inciting" of infringement, and introduce multi-year jail sentences, confiscation of equipment and fines of hundreds of thousands of euros. This goes much further than the EU's obligations under the World Trade Organisation's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Right holders could participate in police investigations into infringement.

While the Commission focuses in its press release on counterfeiting by organised criminal gangs, the legislation would have a much wider

German music industry wants new powers

26 April, 2006
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Representatives of the German music industry asked for new powers in order to obtain, without court order, personal information about alleged file-sharers from Internet Service Providers.

In a recent event held in Munich by the Institute of Copyright and Media Law, representatives of the rights holder associations claimed that this change would improve the fight against piracy, through easier civil-law suits against the alleged copyright infringers. This new obligation should be imposed through the new changes in the copyright law for the implementation of the IPR enforcement directive.

Director of the German Chapter of IFPI, Peter Zombik, explained, "The EU Directive does not require a court order for the disclosure of such information." He also called for an earlier implementation of the data

Creative Commons license upheld in Dutch and Spanish courts

29 March, 2006
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Both in The Netherlands and in Spain the Creative Commons license was judged in court. In both cases the validity of this alternative copyright license was upheld.

In the Netherlands, the first court case about the validity of the Creative Commons license produced clear victory for the user of the license. On 9 March 2006 the district court of Amsterdam ruled in summary proceedings that the weekly gossip magazine 'Weekend' could not republish pictures that were published under a specific non-commercial CC license. The family pictures were made by Adam Curry, famous in internet circles for promoting podcasting.

New Italian IT legislation limits civil rights

1 March, 2006
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The Italian parliament has caused controversy by two new legislative acts. A newly adopted law against child abuse gives overly broad powers to the police, while a proposed new law on the protection of intellectual property gives too much leeway to organisations for collective rights management.

On 23 January 2006 the Italian Parliament approved a modification of Law 269/1998, in order to fight child pornography, The modified provisions give a very broad power to the police. The text of the act includes a series of vague terms and descriptions which may lead to subjective interpretation.

Art.14bis of the law introduces the National Centre that should check "incriminated" sites and individuals.

Under the law, the internet providers become investigators who are obliged to control and announce to the National Centre any company or individual who

European Commission starts antitrust procedure against CISAC

15 February, 2006
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The European Commission has decided to open formal proceedings against the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) and its individual national members and has sent them a Statement of Objections, as a first step in antitrust investigations

The Commission objects to parts of the contracts closed amongst national authors and composers societies. Bilaterally the societies close agreements on internet, satellite and cable transmissions.

The Commission is concerned that the royalty collectors are trying, by various methods, to ensure that each of them maintain exclusive access to broadcast royalties in the countries they operate. This might infringe on the prohibition of restrictive business practices in the EC Treaty.

The occurrence of a network between the collecting societies by means of

NL supreme court ruling on internet anonymity

5 December, 2005
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The Supreme Court of the Netherlands ruled on 25 November 2005 in a landmark case against the freedom of internet users to express their opinion anonymously. The Supreme Court upheld a previous court verdict in which internetportal Lycos was forced to hand over the personal data of one of its subscribers to the Dutch stamp trader Pessers.

Mr Pessers trades in postage stamps on the auction portal eBay and was accused of fraud by a Lycos subscriber, who published Mr Pesser's name on his website. Subsequently Pessers demanded the personal data from the subscriber in order to sue for damages. But Lycos refused and was taken to court. After the initial verdict, Lycos did hand over the data, but only to find out the address data were false. Pessers started another procedure, to force Lycos to find other ways to retrieve the correct information, but that demand was declined.

French minister: copyright above privacy

3 November, 2005
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After the French data protection authority CNIL published a strong rejection of the systematic collection of IP-addresses by the music and film industry, the French minister of Culture, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, said he would look at the current implementation of the Copyright Directive to override these privacy-hurdles. The proposal for implementation will be discussed in the Lower House for the first time on 6 December 2005.

On 18 October 2005 the CNIL organised a debate with representatives of the entertainment industry to discuss their strategy to deal with unlawful file-sharing. The collecting societies proposed to employ automatic systems to detect copyright infringement on peer to peer networks, and secondly, to force internet service providers to translate a given IP-address into an e-mail address and forward a 'pedagogical' e-mail message from the societies to their customer.

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