Archive for the 'EUCD' Category

Sweden Implements EUCD


Sweden has implemented the European Copyright Directive — see also here (via Mike). To be added to our list.

New book on DRM


Back in St. Gallen for two days, I found Christoph B. Graber’s et al. (eds.) book on Digital Rights Management: The End of Collecting Societies? on my desk. The impressive volume includes, inter alia, contributions by our own John Palfrey, Christoph Graber, Daniel Gervais, Adolf Dietz, Jacques de Werra, Dorothea Senn, and other IP experts. Together with Mike Girsberger, I contributed a short version of the Berkman EUCD paper to the discussion.
Thanks to the i-call team for their terrific work!

French Appellate Court: Private Copying Exception Trumps DVD Copy Control


I reported here and here that a Paris District Court ruled in UFC v.Films Alain Sadre et al that a copy protection system on a DVD does not conflict with provisions of the French Intellectual Property Code, which limit copyright owners’ rights regarding reproductions made strictly for the copier’s private use. UFC, a consumer rights association, claimed it received complaints from consumers about DVD copy protections that prevent purchasers from making copies for private use. The court confirmed that such technical protection measures comply with the EU-Copyright Directive (EUCD), though the EUCD is not yet transposed into French law.

Some days ago, however, a Paris Appellate Court reversed the ruling. I haven’t had a chance to analyze the decision, but it reportedly requires film producers Alain Sarde and Studio Canal to remove copy controls on their DVDs in order to enable the beneficiaries of the private copying exception as set forth by French law to exercise their rights.

Further, the Court criticized that the DVD producers did not provide sufficient consumer information as far as copy restriction is concerned. The label “CP” for “copy protected” was printed on the jacket, but in small characters and not sufficiently explicit.

See news report in French, and English translation.

It will be interesting to analyze the ruling in detail and to think about its compliance with EU law vis-�-vis Article 6 of the EUCD (see here.)

Update: The decision (in French) is published here.

Berkman Study Reviewed


Margreet Groenenboom, project researcher at the Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam, has reviewed our September 2004 EUCD paper in the recent edition of the INDICARE Monitor. Margreet has done a great job, and I appreciate her comments on the paper. I have two quick thoughts:

1) Obviously, there’s much to say (and much more than we did in the paper) about the private copying exceptions vis-�-vis technological protection measures in general and against the backdrop of recent legislative as well as judicial developments in particular. The observation offered in the paper, in essence, was that “old” EU member states have not made broad use of the possibility to take measures ensuring that the private copying exception will survive technological protection measures. Reading this section, Groenenboom argues: “Against this opinion, one could argue that although there may not exist a right that consumers can enforce as consumer in court, this does not mean that the private copying exception ceases to exist.” I’m not sure what this dissent suggests. Does it mean that our observation was not correct, i.e., that we’re wrong by concluding that incumbent member states have not made broad use of the possibility to ensure that private copying exceptions “trump” TPM? Or does it suggest (and this is my reading) that “rights” may exist even if “rights” are not enforceable in courts? If the latter is the case, I agree to the extent that such exceptions (whether to be qualified as rights, privileges, or something else) continue to exist on the books. But: First, it is our argument that legislators have been rather reluctant to apply these exceptions to digital content protected by TPM. Second, and viewed from a broader angle, even if such exceptions may in theory apply to such content, it is a lengthy (and not fruitful, as I find) discussion of what the nature and value of exceptions are if they were not enforceable in courts. From a user’s perspective, the answer seems clear to me.

2) Margreet correctly points out that we haven’t provided a detailed explanation of the selection criteria for the countries we analyzed. The selection certainly didn’t follow a systematic set of criteria. Rather — as noted in the paper and mentioned in the review — we simply wanted to present a representative selection of interesting implementation models and approaches taken by EU member states. Viewed from that angle, each section in part III can be read, in methodological terms, as an exploratory case study (as a practical matter, we first reviewed all the available implementations and then discussed what we found interesting, i.e. where we identified divergence and/or convergence.)
I also agree with Margreet that it would be helpful to have “an overall schedule of which countries use a narrow approach, and which countries use a broad approach, or to make any profound aggregation at all.” In that sense, we’re very much looking forward to such a comprehensive analysis by our European colleagues. In my opinion, such a comprehensive study can only be conducted in a collaborative effort (ALAI-kind survey) – also (but not only) due to language barriers and lack of general/easy-to-access availability of most recent pieces of legislation in several EU member states.

Again, thanks to Margreet Groenenboom for a thoughtful review.

On a different score: Comments on new implementations are much appreciated. Please email me that we can update this site.

German National Library: License to circumvent DRM


The German National Library reached an agreement with the German Federation of the Phonographic Industry and the German Booksellers and Publishers Association on the circumvention of technological protection measures (TPM) such as access and copy controls on CDs, CD-ROMs, and e-books. See also here and here.

According to the press release (English version via this site), the German National Library got a “license to copy” techno-protected digital content for “own archiving, for scientific purposes of users, for collections for schools or educational purposes, for instruction and research as well as of works that are out of print.” To avoid misuses, the library “will check user’s interest” for a copy of the technologically protected content. Further, the copies, which are subject to a fee, “will as far as possible be personalized by a digital watermark.” (Press release.)

Let’s recall the legal background of this agreement as recently described in this paper:

Article 6(4) of the EU Copyright Directive (EUCD) addresses the situation where beneficiaries of certain copyright exceptions provided for in article 5 EUCD are hindered from making use of those exceptions due to the technological lock-down of the work. It is under article 6(4) where the balance between the interests of rightholders and holders of related rights using technological protection measures on the one hand and the public on the other can be struck. The exceptions set out in article 6(4) are divided into two categories: the ‘public policy exceptions’ and the ‘private copying exception’. The public policy exceptions listed in article 6(4) – i.e. exceptions in relation to photocopying, copy and archive purposes of educational facilities, broadcaster’s own ephemeral recordings, non-commercial broadcasts, teaching and research, use by disabled individuals, and public safety – are mandatory. However, recital 51 EUCD makes clear that member states should take appropriate measures only in absence of “voluntary measures taken by rightholders, including the conclusion and implementation of agreements between rightholders and other parties”. However, according to article 6(4) subpara. 4, this exception do not apply to “on-demand”-services, i.e. works “made available to the public on agreed contractual terms in such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them.”

Against this backdrop, the German Copyright Act, transposing the EUCD into national law, stipulates that the rightholders are obligated to make available the necessary means which enable certain categories of permissible uses. Some of the exceptions and limitations, respectively, also apply to digital media, but others not (click here for an overview.) Furthermore, the Copyright Act does not define how this obligation must be accomplished. However, � 95b(2) provides a remedy against someone who violates the make-available obligation. According to this provision, someone who fails to make available the necessary means can be sued by the beneficiary.

In accordance with the EUCD’s approach, the German legislator hoped that agreements between rightholders and consumers/users associations will be reached. (See here). It seems that the agreement between the German National Library and the above-mentioned associations is an important step forward.

New Reports by Berkman’s Digital Media Project


The Berkman Center’s Digital Media Project team has released one new and one updated report on the current state of the digital media ecosystem. One report is an update of the 2003 foundational White Paper by the Berkman Center and GartnerG2 on Copyright Law in a Post-Napster World. The updated edition includes the following:

  • Updated business model section that includes new survey data and an overview of “legitimate” P2P stores like Wippit and Weed (Chapter 2)
  • Updated and expanded analysis of legal cases and decisions relevant in the digital media space, including a brief discussion of Grokster and RIAA v. Verizon (Chapter 3)
  • Revised subsection on international enforcement issues like jurisdictional questions among nations (Chapter 3)
  • Updated section on regulatory developments like provisions related to the broadcast flag and digital radio, as well as proposed laws in the U.S. such as the INDUCE Act (Chapter 4)
  • Expanded chapter on DRM systems including new standards, challenges, and policy issues related to the use of DRM (Chapter 5)
  • Updated outlook for the future (Chapter 6)

In addition, we’ve written an International Supplement to the White Paper, which examines the transition from analog/offline to digital/online media from an international legal perspective. Here’s the abstract/overview of the Supplement:

Part One briefly discusses the basic international copyright framework and provides an overview of three sets of important copyright agreements: The Berne Convention, Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties.

Part Two discusses the copyright framework in Europe as established by the European Copyright Directive and other European Union (EU) legislation. In this context, the Supplement explores legislative and regulatory developments at the level of both the EU itself and its member states. A selection of cases from European countries illustrates the current state of “digital media law in action.”

Part Three reviews legislative and regulatory developments in the Asia/Pacific region and provides brief descriptions of the copyright laws in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Japan, and South Korea. It examines the impact of the international copyright treaties discussed in Part One. This section also provides an overview of actions taken against file-sharing Web sites and peer-to-peer (P2P) services in selected countries in the Asia/Pacific region.

Part Four summarizes the legal campaign against online piracy, provides information about legal actions taken against individual file-sharers, and briefly outlines current attempts to fight online piracy in coordinated operations across the world.

Part Five offers some conclusions about how the legal landscape is evolving in response to the challenges and opportunities posed by digital media.

Comments, as always, are most welcome.

EUCD update


Update on the EUCD implementation:

* Being in Tallinn, I’ve learned (thanks to Peeter Marvet) that the Parliament transposed the EU-Copyright Directive into Estonian law on September 22, 2004. I haven’t yet seen an English translation, but will add it to the Berkman Center’s project website as soon as it becomes available.

* Recently, the ECJ declared that United Kingdom failed to fulfill its obligations under the EUCD, since the UK has not transposed the directive into the law applicable to Gibraltar within the required timeframe. See Judgment.

* Spain takes a new attempt to implement the EUCD.

* Update (5/01/05): Lithuania has finalized the implementation of the EUCD, according to an email by Professor Mindaugas Kiskis. Mindaugas explains: “Implementation of the EUCD in Lithuania is not based on single piece of legislation, both the Law on Copyright and Related Rights, and the Criminal Code contain relevant provisions. Let me explain that 5 March 2003 Law only finalized the implementation of the EUCD in Lithuania, which was effectively started by 20 April 2000 amendments of the Criminal Code. The latter amendments were part of Lithuania’s adherence to the WCT.” We will update our website. Thanks to Mindaugas, who has been directly involved in drafting Lithuanian copyright legislation, for clarification.

iLaw on Digital Media, EUCD, and OSS


Yesterday was the IP-day at iLaw Eurasia, a five-day program about ICT policy organized by the Berkman Center, the eGovernance Academy Estonia, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Advanced Network Research Group at the University of Cambridge, and the Open Society Institute. In the first session, Professor Terry Fisher provided a fantastic introduction to IP law in cyberspace in general and the current tussles over digital media in particular. He also analyzed and evaluated scenarios for the future of digital media, including approaches such as strengthening IP rights, self-help, and alternative compensation systems. I had the pleasure to talk about the implementation of the EU Copyright Directive and discuss basic policy approaches and -choices in the context of anti-circumvention legislation. We used the implementation of the EUCD as an example to illustrate some of the thorny problems often associated with the transposition of EU-IP directives and harmonizing treaty law more generally: Scope and definitions, exceptions and limitations, and sanction and remedies.

In a second module, we were discussing IP protection of computer software. Terry started the session with an excellent lecture, offering a comprehensive overview of the different approaches to – and the evolution of – software protection by law. Much of the subsequent discussion, most ably led by Berkman Center’s Excecutive Director and iLaw program chair John Palfrey, was about the promise of Free/Open Source Software in Eurasia. Many of the fifty representatives from government, the private sector, and civil society in Eurasia emphasized the important role of OSS in creating a more sustainable information industry in economically less developed countries. However, we also discussed potential problems related to OSS, such as documentation, training, maintenance, etc., and legal risks associated with it. In this context, we touched upon potential concerns such as liability and (increased?) exposure to IP litigation – a much discussed topic here and abroad, given recent litigation in the U.S.

Our fabulous Mary Bridges, Communication Director at the Berkman Center, has summarized some of the take-away points from yesterday’s discussion.

Duty to monitor P2P traffic in the EU?


A recent ruling by a Belgian court addresses the obligations of an ISP in cases where its users infringe copyrights. The Belgian Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers (SABAM) instituted in June 2004 a prohibitory injunction in the court of first instance of Brussels against the Internet service provider Tiscali. Through this injunction, SABAM seeks to put an end to the use of P2P networks in Belgium. Reportedly, the court now ruled that Tiscali should disconnect customers if they violate copyrights, and block access for all customers to websites offering file-sharing programs. The court also ordered a technical investigation into the possibility of blocking access. While the decision has not been made public by now, EDRI raises the interesting question of the ruling’s conformity with the relevant provisions set forth by the EU Copyright Directive and the EU E-Commerce Directive.

In this context, two aspects are particularly interesting. First, it is puzzling how an ISP could detect possible copyright infringements on P2P networks by its users. Arguably, a “blocking access”-approach would also include a “monitoring”-element in order to be effective. Would such a duty to monitor imposed upon an ISP be consistent with Article 15 of the E-Commerce Directive? Article 15(1) reads as follows:

Member States shall not impose a general obligation on providers, when providing the services covered by Articles 12, 13 and 14, to monitor the information which they transmit or store, nor a general obligation actively to seek facts or circumstances indicating illegal activity.

This clear statement suggests that it is contradictory to EU law if an ISP was obliged by a national court to monitor the information that it transmits on its network. However, things are getting more interesting once we take Recital 47 of the E-Commerce Directive into consideration, which states:

Member States are prevented from imposing a monitoring obligation on service providers only with respect to obligations of a general nature; this does not concern monitoring obligations in a specific case and, in particular, does not affect orders by national authorities in accordance with national legislation.

Thus, it seems clear that general monitoring obligations are not allowed, whereas monitoring in specific cases – arguably with regard to particular users and/or websites – is allowed. But the distinction between general and specific obligations gets blurred in Recital 48:

This Directive does not affect the possibility for Member States of requiring service providers, who host information provided by recipients of their service, to apply duties of care, which can reasonably be expected from them and which are specified by national law, in order to detect and prevent certain types of illegal activities.

Against this backdrop, it is less clear that a general requirement to implement and operate a monitoring or filtering system imposed by national authorities – if reasonable from a technical and economic viewpoint – would be a priori contradictory to the E-Commerce Directive’s provider liability provisions. (At least where the ISP hosts information provided by the recipients of its service.)

Second, it is important to note that SABAM obtained a prohibitory injunction, since the broad wording of Recital 45 seems to include “preventive” injunctions:

The limitations of the liability of intermediary service providers established in this Directive do not affect the possibility of injunctions of different kinds; such injunctions can in particular consist of orders by courts or administrative authorities requiring the termination or prevention of any infringement, including the removal of illegal information or the disabling of access to it.

This Recital suggests that the court verdict in question is unlikely to be in contradiction to the “limited liability” provisions of the E-Commerce Directive; in this regard, I tend to disagree with EDRI’s initial analysis. Read also Article 8(3) of the EU Copyright Directive (EUCD) and Recital 59 of the EUCD:

Art. 8(3)
Member States shall ensure that rightholders are in a position to apply for an injunction against intermediaries whose services are used by a third party to infringe a copyright or related right.
Recital 59
In the digital environment, in particular, the services of intermediaries may increasingly be used by third parties for infringing activities. In many cases such intermediaries are best placed to bring such infringing activities to an end. Therefore, … , rightholders should have the possibility of applying for an injunction against an intermediary who carries a third party’s infringement of a protected work or other subject-matter in a network. … The conditions and modalities relating to such injunctions should be left to the national law of the Member States.

However, it remains an open question what the scope and burden of a potential ISP’s monitoring and blocking obligation imposed by a preventive injunction can be.

EU Anti-Circumvention Laws


At the Berkman Center, we released today a paper on the current state of implementation of the EU Copyright Directive (EUCD), with emphasis on the transposition of the provisions on the legal protection of technological measures sections (such as encryption, digital watermarking, copy-control technologies, and the like.) In this study, we have taken a closer look at the relevant definitions, exemptions, sanctions and remedies associated with the national anti-circumvention laws. What are the key findings?

First, our analysis reveals that uncertainty over the scope of provisions aimed at protecting technological measures as well as the definition of crucial terms (such as ‘effective measures’) persists – even at a rather basic level. The question, for instance, as to what extent access control mechanisms fall under the definition of technological protection measures and, as a consequence, are protected by the anti-circumvention provisions has been contested.

Second, the study explores different ways in which national implementations have addressed the problem of privately applied technological protection measures vis-�-vis the traditional exceptions to copyright within the framework as laid down in the EUCD. As demonstrated in the paper, incumbent member states have not made broad use of the possibility to take measures ensuring that private copying exceptions will survive technological protection measures, and have gone different paths as far as the implementation of the public policy exception as set forth by the EUCD are concerned.

Third, a brief analysis of some approaches to sanctions and remedies taken by EU member states suggests that member states have interpreted the relevant provisions of the EUCD – calling for “appropriate sanctions and remedies” – in different ways. While all countries impose civil sanctions in the case of a violation of anti-circumvention provisions, differences remain with regard to criminal sanctions. The regimes range from significant criminal sentences for both acts of circumvention and trafficking in circumvention devices and services to copyright laws that stipulate modest fines, but no imprisonment in the case of a violation of the anti-circumvention provisions.

The project website also provides an interactive chart with a resource page containing international and national legislation on technological protection measures with focus on the relevant laws of EU member states for further research. We intend to update the site as soon as new anti-circumvention provisions have been enacted in a EU member state.

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