Case C-41/14, Christie’s France – the single market in reselling art works ‘Going! Going! Gone!’

When original works of art are resold, the EU’s artists’ resale right Directive 2001/84/EC requires that a royalty is paid to the author of the work by the seller. The Directive goes on to allow either the seller or professional sellers, such as art galleries, to share the liability for paying the royalty in accordance with national law. In this case, a French auction house decided to change its terms and conditions so that the buyer, and not the seller, became liable to pay the royalty. Can contract derogate from the seller’s obligation to pay the royalty that is enshrined in the Directive?

Continue reading

Case C-30/14, Ryanair – grounding a go compare an airfare website

Price-comparison websites in the EU are often lawful because the websites they take their information from are databases frequently unprotected by either copyright or the ‘sui generis’ right enshrined in the EU’s Database Directive 96/9/EC. This is true of Ryanair’s website. But Ryanair’s website is however protected by a plank of deviant Dutch ‘copyright’ law. In this case, a Dutch website that compares the price of airfares is seeking to rely on a Dutch exception to the Dutch ‘copyright’ rule, an exception that corresponds to one found in the EU’s Database Directive. The legal question has become whether the Directive applies to all databases and thus websites – even the unprotected ones – and, if so, whether the price-comparison website qualifies as a ‘lawful user’, who does not need to obtain Ryanair’s consent to use Ryanair’s website.

Continue reading

Case C-117/13, Technische Universität Darmstadt – introducing modern EU copyright law

When a university library scans a book to permit the electronic reading of a book, can the book’s publisher put a stop to this unauthorised reproduction? And can a German university successfully invoke a ‘library’ exception enshrined in the EU’s InfoSoc Directive 2001/29?

Continue reading

Case C-201/13, Johan Deckmyn – parody in EU law

Belgium has a tradition of creating comic book figures. Tintin is perhaps the most famous comic book character but another popular comic strip chronicles the adventures of ‘Spike and Suzy’ [Suske and Wiske]. Comic books can be protected by copyright. In this reference, the issue is whether the right holders can stop a political party from circulating a picture that spoofs the cover of a Spike and Suzy story.

Continue reading