German Federal Constitutional Court: Sampling can be protected by artistic freedom

The German Federal Constitutional Court (‘BVerfG’) has ruled in favor of a hip-hop artist who used a two-second sample of the song “Metall auf Metall” from the electro-pop band Kraftwerk.

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Webinar – What changes with for gambling companies the EU Privacy Regulation?

Here is an opportunity to discuss about the impact of the EU Privacy Regulation on gambling companies during a webinar taking place on 9 June 2016. Read the rest of this entry »

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Poland: Key points to be regulated by the new amendment to the Polish Gambling Act

On Monday 23 May, the Ministry of Finance (the Polish gambling regulator (“Regulator“)), published a list of points to be covered by the forthcoming amendment to the Polish Gambling Act. According to the list, the amendment will cover the following points:

  1. IP and payment blocking will target unlicenced operators. This should reduce the “grey area” in gambling, increase the market share of licenced operators, and raise the level of protection for players, because – according to the Regulator – only licenced operators guarantee the offering of games in a safe and responsible way.
  2. The operation of slot machine games outside casinos will be covered by a state monopoly and operated by a designated company. They will only be operated in designated places, under permanent supervision, and will not be available for people under the age of 18.
  3. Operators offering games on slot machines and online gambling will be required to introduce responsible gaming regulations which should increase the protection of players from the negative effects of gambling.
  4. Sanctions for violating the Polish Gambling Act will be more severe (however, it is not specified what this means). This will disrupt unlicenced operators and thus increase the market share of licenced operators.
  5. The regulation of poker games will be liberalized. It will be permitted to organize poker games outside casinos and the process of organizing them will be simplified. It will be possible to legally participate in online poker games.
  6. The requirement for people directly supervising and operating gambling games to pass professional exams will be liquidated. The exams will be replaced by training obligations. According to the Regulator, this should  reduce red tape and the costs for entities operating in the gambling industry.

According to the Ministry of Finance, these proposals represent a compromise between providing the highest possible level of protection for players against the adverse effects of gambling (including limiting the “grey area”) and guaranteeing the transparent and efficient functioning of the legal gambling market in Poland.

According to the Regulator’s announcement, the draft amendment has been transferred to departmental consultation. If enacted following EC notification, the amendment will come into force on 1 January 2017.

The key issue that is missing from the above list – and the most important issue for any onshore and offshore operator – is that of taxation. The announcement does not say anything about whether Polish gaming tax will be based on GGR under the amendment.

The proposed timing for the introduction of the amendment is quite challenging as it does not seem to take into consideration the fact that the EC notification process may take longer than three months stand-still. Another question mark is whether there will be any transitional period for operators to adjust their activities and apply for licences under the new regime.

The link to the full text of the Regulator’s announcement:

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New Football Rules: Revision of Laws will apply to UEFA EURO 2016

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) as the guardian of the Laws of the Game has approved the most comprehensive revision in the IFAB´s 130 year history. The changes are effective as from 1 June 2016 and therefore will already apply to the upcoming UEFA EURO 2016 in France.

In addition to several changes with regard to restructuring, consistency and wording the IFAB also decided on material changes which will have huge impact to the game. The most relevant change will properly be that if a player commits a denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity inside the penalty area it will now be punished only with a yellow card if the foul was an attempt to play the ball. A red card will only still be given for offences like a deliberate handball, for holding, pushing and pulling, and serious foul challenges or violent conduct. Therefore, the often criticized threefold punishment will be canceled in situations where the player is clearly trying to play the ball and therefore committing a foul in a football-typical challenge.

There are several further changes. For example, it was clarified that not all handballs will result in a yellow card but only in cases where the handling interferes with a promising attack or where it was used to attempt to score a goal. If a substitute, a team official or a player who was sent off enters the field and interferes with play it will now be punished with a direct free kick or even a penalty. Small changes are also relevant for the offside rule, eg that teams players’ arms are not considered when judging offside and players going off the field will be considered to be on the goal line until play stops or the ball was played by a defender towards the halfway line out of the penalty area. Furthermore, if a player is injured by a foul which results in a red or yellow card the injured player can have quick treatment on the field and will not have to go off.

All in all, the revision will ensure that the Laws are appropriate for football in the 21st Century and promote “fair play”. Teams, coaches, media and fans will have to get familiar with the new Laws as they have the potential influencing match and tactics of professional and amateur football likewise. The electronic version of the Laws and a summary of changes can be downloaded at

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Is online gaming dependent on offline?

Online gaming is heading towards hybrid models of business where offline services are still relevant, but this approach needs to deal with regulatory restrictions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Poland: Proposal of new betting and poker regulations

According to the statement of the Polish Minister of Finance, Paweł Szałamacha (the Gambling Regulator), proposals for the new Polish Gambling Act were to be presented by the end of April 2016. To date this has not been done. However, on Sunday 15 May, a press conference was organized by Minister Jarosław Gowin (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Science and Higher Education, representing the right wing party Polska Razem) and Zbigniew Boniek (President of Polish Football Association).

During the press conference, Minister Gowin outlined his proposals for the new law regulating betting and card games like poker. Under the new law, betting and card games like poker should be ‘excluded’ from the Gambling Law.

With respect to betting, the gaming tax should be based on 20% GGR instead of the current 12% turnover tax. According to the authors of the proposal, this should generate income of PLN 200 million (i.e. EUR 50 million) for the state budget. Further, since there should be some liberalization with respect to advertising and sponsoring, sports team in Poland should earn an additional PLN 100 million (i.e. EUR 25 million). 10% of the revenue from gaming tax should be allocated to socially important initiatives. Namely, 7% should be given to the Polish Olympic Committee and used to support youth sport, while the remaining 3% should be used to combat gambling addiction.

According to the authors of the proposal, it should result in the situation where 70% of the Polish betting market is regulated, because the new law should permit the blocking of both IP and payments of operators that do not have a valid Polish licence.

With respect to poker, which is currently permitted only in licenced land-based casinos, the new law should permit online poker and the organizing of tournaments by licenced operators. It should also de-criminalise poker games played in private houses as a social card game (which is currently prohibited and subject to fines and even imprisonment).

The proposals for the new law were not prepared by the main party in the Polish government – PIS (Law and Justice); however, Minister Gowin hopes that they will gain its support and be adopted by the Polish parliament.

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Protecting creativity, supporting innovation: IP Enforcement 2020

By Emily Leach

To deliver the commitments set out in the Conservative Manifesto 2015, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has published a new strategy on intellectual property protection in the UK, namely IP Enforcement 2020.

The key aims of the strategy are to:

  • give UK businesses more confidence to operate internationally by providing better worldwide protection of IP rights;
  • give rights owners and users access to proportionate and effective dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve IP infringement disputes; and
  • educate consumers on the benefits of respecting IP rights.

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UK: Placing Digital Adverts Responsibly – Gambling Commission Launches Consultation on Wording for New Licence Condition

By Sean Godfrey and Verity Young

The UK Gambling Commission has launched a consultation on the specific wording of a new licence condition which places an obligation on licensees to take responsibility for ensuring adverts placed by themselves or others do not appear on websites providing unauthorised access to copyright content.

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UK Finance Bill 2016 – Royalty Witholding Tax

By Paul Rutherford and David Thompson

Domestic UK law imposes a 20% royalty withholding tax on limited types of payment and on specific categories of intellectual property. This year’s Finance Bill expands the scope of intellectual property royalties that are subject to UK royalty withholding tax. UK businesses should review their intellectual property licensing agreements to determine the impact of these changes and may need to make tax treaty claims to reduce or eliminate withholding where applicable.

Please click here for the full article.




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New Polish Gambling Act still not ready & Polish Supreme Court judgement on applicability of transition period for adjusting to the new law

In April 2016, the Polish Regulator declared that a draft of the new Polish Gambling Act will be published by the end of the month. It has been widely speculated that the new law will be based on the Danish model and will change the taxation base for GGR. However, as of 9 May 2016, no draft has been published and officials in the Regulator’s office are not sure when it will be ready.

In the meantime, in its judgement of 28 April 2016 (I KZP 1/16), the Polish Supreme Court indirectly decided to whom a transition period under the amendment of 3 September 2015 is applicable. In the justification to the judgement (published recently), the Supreme Court explained that the transition period to adjust to the amended legal requirements is only applicable to those operators who held a valid Polish licence as of 3 September 2015. The Supreme Court also stated that the article introducing the transition period has no abolishing effect for other operators.

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