Legal and Government Affairs Updates | FAST

Legal and Government Affairs Updates

October, 2016


Modernising the European copyright framework

The Intellectual Property Office calls for views on the European Commission’s draft legislation to modernise the European copyright framework.

On 14 September 2016 the European Commission published draft legislation aimed at modernising the European copyright framework. This legislation includes:

  • a draft Regulation and Directive implementing the Marrakesh Treaty for the benefit of visually impaired people. This is intended to ensure that people who are visually impaired or otherwise print disabled are better able to access copyright content in accessible formats
  • a draft Regulation on the exercise of copyright and related rights in certain online transmissions by broadcasting organisations and retransmissions of television and radio programmes
  • a draft copyright Directive covering a range of measures aimed at
    1. adapting exceptions and limitations to the digital and cross-border environment
    2. ensuring wider access to copyright content
    3. achieving a well-functioning marketplace for copyright

The government is seeking views on the draft legislation to ensure that it delivers the best outcomes for all those affected by the measures. We would welcome your views on the costs and benefits of these proposals, and suggestions for how the language of the proposed legislation can be improved. We would also welcome views on the possible impacts the legislation may have in light of the UK’s planned exit from the European Union.

Any views should be supported by evidence that is open and transparent in its approach and methodology. The Intellectual Property Office has published a Guide to Evidence for Policy which lays out the Government’s aspiration that evidence used to inform public policy is clear, verifiable and able to be peer-reviewed.

Please send your views to the following email address: by 6 December 2016.

[Copyright IPO 2016]


Legislative Update

The YouTube rule?

The European Commission has put YouTube firmly in its sights with its most recent proposals under the Digital Single Market (DSM). In last month’s edition I discussed in detail the Draft Copyright Directive and particularly the provisions of Article 13. By way of recap, Article 13 requires information Service providers in co-operation with rights holders, to take appropriate action: “to ensure the functionality of agreements concluded with rights holders” and to “prevent the availability on their services or works or other subject-matter not covered by agreements, including through the use of effective content identification technologies”.

In a nutshell the new Article 13 will make it easier for rights holder to challenge hosting firms and require such companies to prove that they have proactively sought to find and remove any copyright material uploaded without the right holder’s permission. Unsurprisingly there has been strong opposition this month from companies who offer hosting and cloud services. Caroline Atkinson vice president of global policy at YouTube’s parent company Google made their opposition to Article 13 clear when she stated “This would effectively turn the internet into a place where everything uploaded to the web must be cleared by lawyers before it can find an audience.”

Article 13 is very widely drawn and has the potential to apply to any company providing online cloud based storage services, which allow for consumers to upload potentially infringing content into the cloud. But in practice I suspect it is Youtube that will be the primary target of this legislation.


Case Law Update

Has the CJEU restricted the scope of the UsedSoft Ruling?

The CJEU has held in Ranks and Vasiļevičs, Case C-166/5, 12 October 2016 that an infringement of copyright takes place if you sell a back-up copy of a software program originally supplied on a physical medium such as a disc, even if the original physical copy has been damaged, lost or destroyed. After much consideration the Court decided that under the Software Directive a back-up copy can only be lawfully made by a person who had the original right to use that program and then solely for their own use, not for use by a third party. If that person sold a copy of that back-up program to a third party that would be a breach of copyright, even where the physical original had been damaged to the point where that person could no longer use it. It was, however, lawful to sell the originally purchased copy, as well as the user licence, notwithstanding any provision in the contract that suggested otherwise. The extent to which this case may restrict the extent and application of the Usedsoft ruling remains open to debate.


Blog content is for information only and is not legal advice to be relied upon. If you require such assistance, please e mail Julian Hobbins and we will be pleased to discuss matters including an introduction to a FAST Member Law Firm