ELZABURU Blog - Industrial and Intellectual Property

Tag Archives: Internet

Battle between rightholders and internet users

(Source: Pixabay)

Since it was published in 2016, the proposal for a Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market has turned into a showdown between IP rightholders and Internet users, the latter brought together and represented by the main Internet user associations.

The proposed Directive, as its name suggests, was created with the aim of harmonising and adapting copyright law to the new uses and exploitation models of intellectual creations inherent to the Internet age and new technologies.

The Internet, traditionally an information source for the average user, is now increasingly a means of expression. Every day, millions of Internet users share (by means of tweeting, retweeting, tagging) all kinds of content: photos, videos, text, memes, comments. Problems arise when the content being shared has an owner and permission has not been sought or, in more serious cases, when a third party is making a profit from content shared, perhaps innocently and in good faith, by the user.

The amendments to the text of the proposal for the Directive, adopted by the European Parliament in September, to a large extent reflect the feelings of authors, artists, publishers and other rightholders who are desperately trying to put an end to the culture of sharing something that belongs to someone else in a space where it seems that freedom of expression has to prevail over any other right.

In the parliamentary debate, the bone of contention (or at least one of them) was the issue of the obligation of service providers that share content online to reach agreement with rightholders to avoid users of these platforms being able to upload content protected by copyright or to ensure that, if they do so, the rightholder receives due payment.

Up to now, this type of provider (YouTube, for example) was only obliged to put in place mechanisms for withdrawing content in cases in which the rightholder had reported the providing of protected content (the so-called notice and take down protocol). If the wording of Article 13 adopted by the Parliament is ultimately accepted, it seems that providers of these services will be obliged to carry out prior monitoring and filtering of the content that users wish to upload.

This Article 13 has come under heavy criticism and has been described by certain groups as an attack on freedom of expression and on diversity of opinion online. A review of the full text of the provision and the related recitals should lead to a more moderate view, given that the filtering obligation will only affect those providers acting for profit-making purposes, storing and giving the public access to a large amount of protected works and which are not small or medium-sized businesses. The provision expressly excludes online encyclopedias and scientific or educational repositories.

The amendments to Article 11, which provide for the establishment of a remuneration for press publishers for the digital use of their publications, have generated similar reactions. This is not a new development for Spain, given that since 2014, its own Copyright Act has included a provision for what has become popularly known as the “Google tax”, which in fact led said company to withdraw the Google News service in Spain. The EU provision is considerably less strict than that in Spain, given that it limits the obligation to provide remuneration to 5 years, whereas the provision in Spanish legislation does not set a specific time limit.

The controversy generated by these two provisions has overshadowed other no less important matters that are introduced for the first time in the text of the Directive following the parliamentary debate of 12 September.

One of them is the creation of a right to revoke for authors and performers who have transferred their rights on an exclusive basis. Article 16 imposes on Member States the establishment of rules permitting creators to recover their rights if, after a reasonable time (which shall vary, depending on the type of exploitation involved), the exclusive licensee has not exploited the work. In the case of Spain, this obligation will finally give meaning to and transform into a specific and real obligation the theoretical obligation on exclusive licensees set out in Article 48 of the Consolidated Version of the Copyright Act.

Another matter that has attracted little attention, if not gone unnoticed, is that of recognition of intellectual property rights for organisers of sports events. Article 12 a) does not specify what is to be understood by “organiser of a sports event”, or even what constitutes a sports event, which is in itself a sufficiently broad term to cover all kinds of interpretations.

In any case, the battle does not end here. The final text will be voted on in a plenary session of the European Parliament at the beginning of next year, and only after it has been agreed upon by the Parliament, the Commission and the Council. Until then, it is to be assumed that swords will remain drawn on both sides.

Author: Patricia Mariscal

Visit our website: http://www.elzaburu.es/en

 

Fashion Law. Fashion 4.0: Websites, Apps & Social Networks (XI)

ELZABURU has had the pleasure of working together with the publisher Thomson-ReutersAranzadi on Fashion Law, a pioneering work in Spain on the subject of fashion law, which was presented on 16 April.

In these short weekly summaries, the professionals at ELZABURU who participated in the work offer us a brief outline of their contributions:

Fashion 4.0. Websites, Apps & Social Networks: protection and Defence

The digital age has had a profound effect the world of fashion, transforming the way it designs, sells or communicates. No one can now operate solely through traditional channels and must reach out to consumers via online media.

Therefore, it is crucial to limit the risks and protect the intangible assets of the business.

In this regard, holding the exclusive rights to a domain identifying the business is extremely important, particularly with a view to preventing its use by third parties. To obtain exclusive rights, the domain must be registered before the corresponding body, depending on the domain of interest, which may be national (.es, .us, .uk, etc.) or generic (.com, .net, .biz, etc.).

The content, appearance and layout of a website can also be protected. Any original content included on the website (images, text, videos, illustrations, etc.) are protected by the Copyright Act. This protection also extends to the content uploaded to social networks, as it is considered equivalent to that included on corporate websites. Similarly, websites from which data and information are extracted or compiled can be protected as databases, either as a work or as a sui generis database right, provided that the investment made by the owner is duly accredited, the latter form being the more usual.

All this must be supported by a contractual protection strategy, with website use policies being an ideal tool to restrict the reuse of the intangible assets of the business.

The protection of mobile apps has a similar structure to that of websites with regard to their content, the main difference being that an app may additionally be protected as a computer programme or software, in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright Act.

Finally, it is important not to overlook the registration of those trademarks used to identify the business on online platforms.

The reality is that this digital revolution is constantly evolving, posing new challenges and strategies focussed on improving the customer’s experience, in adapting physical shops to new technologies, experimenting with chatbots, customising garments through technical developments in the materials used, as in the case of sportswear, whose technical features are adapted to the requirements of top-level athletes, or the design of clothing whose colours depending on the weather conditions, while adapting business models in line with new sustainability objectives or targeted improvements in environmental conditions, for instance, through the use of renewable energies in the manufacture of garments or that of new, low-impact means of production.

Author: Martín Bello Castro

Visit our website: http://www.elzaburu.es/en

Blog entries in the series Fashion Law:

1.Trademark protection in the fashion sector (23.04.2018)

2.Design protection in the fashion sector (30.04.2018)

3.Patent protection in the fashion sector (07.05.2018)

4.Protection of fashion through copyright (21.05.2018)

5. Image rights in the fashion sector (28.05.2018)

6.Fashion Law. Data Fashion (04.06.2018)

7.Counterfeiting in the fashion sector (11.06.2018)

8.Exhaustion of rights in the fashion sector (18.06.2018)

9.Corporate reputation in the fashion sector (25.06.2018)

10. Protection of the commercial imagen of a fashion brand (04.07.2018)

11. Websites, Apps & Social Networks (13.07.2018)

12. Valuation of intangible assets (17.07.2018)

13. Licensing (06.09.2018)

OECD Alert to Governments in report entitled “Governance Frameworks to Counter Illicit Trade”

On March 1, 2018, the OECD published the report “Governance Frameworks to Counter Illicit Trade”.

In this report, the OECD has introduced a new phase in its efforts to help countries fight against piracy and to protect the market, consumers and businesses. The reasons for these increased efforts are, among others, inconsistent penalties, lack of control over small shipments and a lack of information and coordination across borders and in free trade areas.

This means that criminal networks traffic billions of dollars’ worth of fake goods each year. The OECD report shows that, on average, 2.5% of internationally trade goods are counterfeit, rising to almost 7% for IT and communications products.

The victims of these fraudulent practices are not just trademark or patent holders, but also consumers and governments themselves. In the words of Marcos Bonturi, Director of Public Governance at the OECD: “trade in fake and prohibited products can be dangerous for consumers and costly for companies and governments. This affects industries in all OECD countries and increasingly from emerging markets as well. Tackling policy gaps can start to increase the risks and lower rewards of illicit trade for criminals.”

The OECD study shows how criminal networks avoid detention and enforcement “thanks to” miscommunication and a lack of cross-border coordination.

The report also explores how the use of postal and courier services and online sales is increasing, making it easier to trade in illicit small shipments.

This is a major warning to Governments on the need to cooperate with one another in the fight against the international trade in counterfeit goods.

  Author: Juan J. Caselles and Alberto Gallo

Visit our website: http://www.elzaburu.es/en

European Commission recommends new measures against illegal content online

The dissemination of illegal content online damages citizens’ confidence in the Internet and could pose security threats. Although progress has been made in Europe as regards citizens’ protection online, platforms need to double their efforts to remove illegal content from the Internet more swiftly and effectively. Voluntary measures taken by the sector, as encouraged by the Commission, have already paid off: the EU Internet Forum to eliminate terrorist content from the Internet; the Code of Conduct on countering illegal online hate speech; and the Memoranda of Understanding on the sale of counterfeit goods. Nevertheless, there is still room for more effective action.

Background:

In its Communication of September 2017 on tackling illegal content online, the European Commission promised to monitor progress and assess whether additional measures were needed in order to ensure the swift and proactive detection and removal of illegal content online, including possible legislative measures to complement the existing regulatory framework.

Development: The Commission Recommendation of 1 March 2018

Before determining whether it will be necessary to take legislative action, the Commission has just published its Recommendation of 1 March 2018 on measures  to effectively tackle illegal content online. It consists of a set of operational measures, accompanied by the necessary safeguards, to be taken by companies and Member States. The recommended measures apply to all forms of illegal content, i.e., terrorist content, incitement to hatred and violence, child sexual abuse material, counterfeit products and copyright infringement.

Basically, procedures have been reinforced in order to more effectively remove illegal content by means of the following operational measures:

  1. Clearer “notice and action” procedures. Companies must establish simple, transparent rules for reporting illegal content, including fast-track procedures for “trusted flaggers”. In order to prevent lawful content from accidentally being removed, content providers will be notified of removal decisions and will be able to challenge decisions.
  2. More effective tools and proactive technology. Companies will have to design clear notification systems for users. They will need to have proactive tools to detect and take down illegal content, particularly in the case of terrorist content and content that requires no assessment of the relevant context in order for it to be deemed illegal, such as child sexual abuse material or counterfeit goods.
  3. More solid safeguards to guarantee fundamental rights. In order to ensure that there are solid grounds for removing content, companies must put in place effective and appropriate safeguards, including a human review step, at all times respecting fundamental rights, freedom of expression and data protection laws.
  4. Paying special attention to small businesses. The sector must, by means of voluntary agreements, cooperate and share experiences, best practices and technological solutions, particularly regarding automated detection tools. This shared responsibility will be particularly beneficial to small platforms, which have fewer resources and less technical know-how.
  5. Closer cooperation with the authorities. Where there is evidence which points to a serious offence or suspicions that there is illegal content which poses a threat to human life or security, companies must immediately notify the Security Forces. The Member States are invited to establish the pertinent legal obligations.

Next Steps:

The Commission will follow up on the measures that are adopted in compliance with this Recommendation, determining whether supplementary measures, including legislative action, are required.

In close cooperation with the interested parties, the Commission will continue its analysis with the launch of a public consultation (feedback period ends on 30 March 2018). It will also ask the Member States and companies to provide the pertinent information on terrorist content (within a period of 3 months) and on other illegal content (within 6 months).

We will therefore have to be prepared to cooperate with the Commission in relation to illegal content in the field of copyright and industrial property.

Author: Juan J. Caselles

Visit our website: http://www.elzaburu.es/en

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