a lot of copyright, a hint of trade mark and news about GI


Good and cold morning. Grab your cup of hot liquid and get ready for this week’s news!

Privacy right outweighs copyright

It all started about two years ago when a Dutch movie distributor received authorization from the national data protection authority to track the IP addresses of torrent users sharing pirated movies. However, the plot thickened when a Dutch internet provider refused to share customer data without a court order. The case went to court where said lower court sided with the internet provider. The reasons?

  • Uncertainty regarding the use of the acquired personal data. What are the criteria that the movie distributor would apply to decide who received a warning letter and who receives a damages request?
  • Lack of transparency regarding the nature of the settlements. There is no indication as to what the amount of damages requested will be calculated or no indicative amount.

The case then went to appeal where the Court of appeal sided with the lower court on the same basis: a lack of transparency that prevents to assess the proportionality of the measure against the infringement.

Sony + Warner vs. TuneIn: territoriality issues

TuneIn is a worldwide radio content provider that offers a list of radio stations and available podcasts for user’s ease. In 2017, Sony and Warner sued the US based company for copyright infringement in the UK. The reason? Because many of the indexed stations were unlicensed to play music in the UK, linking to said stations amounted to infringement of the label’s copyright. The High Court of England considered that TuneIn, indeed infringed label’s rights when linking to radio stations without licenses for the UK as this amounted to an act of communication to the public. This will now, most likely, go to appeal.

Conor McGregor and his trademark

Back in 2017 Conor McGregor tried to register his name as a trademark before the EUIPO office. However, he received opposition from “McGregor IP” a company selling clothes and accessories according to which by allowing registration of Conor’s trademark, consumers would wrongfully believe that Gregor IP is selling products endorsed by Conor. Is “Conor” distinctive enough to avoid confusion? We will have to wait for next year to get an answer.

EU-China agreement on Geographical Indications

The EU and China were able to reach a bilateral agreement to protect 100 European GIs in China and 100 Chinese GIs in the EU. On the EU he agreement will now go through Parliament and Council approbation and entry into force is expected by the end of 2020. This is a major step in the protection of geographical indications.

CGI and dead actors coming back to the screen

Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) has advanced to the point of making it feasible to add dead actors as part of the cast of new movies. “Magic City Films” a production company recently acquired James Dean’s image rights from his family in order to “revive” the actor for their movie “Finding Jack”. Apparently no living actor was suitable for the secondary role that is now attributed to Dean. Is this feasible? Can a machine really revive a dead actor with all its complexity and intensity?

Netflix, Narcos and copyright suit

A few days ago, a US federal court dismissed the copyright claim filed against Netflix by Virginia Vallejo, a journalist who was Pablo Escobar’s lover. She claimed that the now famous Netflix show copied two elements from her memoir, memoir that is copyright protected. Unfortunately for her, the judge considered that these specific moments of her life (a sex scene with a gun and an encounter with a Colombian guerrilla leader) were not protectable by copyright. And even if protectable, there are substantial differences between the memories described by Vallejo and the actual scenes reproduced in Narcos. All these elements were assessed by the US judge on a mix of factual and subjective assessments (the actual events, the atmosphere and the overall feel).

That is all for today. See you next week! (maybe Thursday for our monthly post!)