SPAIN: Tougher prison penalties for IP infringers

Author: Gonzalo Santos

On 1 July 2015, a major amendment of the Spanish Criminal Code entered into force. Among other measures, said amendment considerably increases the maximum prison sentences which can be imposed for criminal activities against intellectual property. Prior to the amendment, the maximum imprisonment penalties for them were of 2 years (4 years for aggravated cases). Now these have been increased to 4 and 6 years, respectively. Furthermore, manufacturing or making available means mainly aimed at neutralizing security measures put in place to protect intellectual property works can now be punished with imprisonment up to 3 years (previously up to 2 years).

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EU: The end of roaming charges and the emergence of net neutrality

By Louisa Mottaz and Sam Churney

On 30 June 2015 the European Commission (“EC“) secured an agreement with the European Parliament and the Council to end roaming charges and to put in place the first EU-wide net neutrality rules in the latest move to establish a single EU market in telecoms. This agreement comes within the wider context of the recently announced Digital Single Market strategy which is currently at the top of the agenda for the EC.

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UK: Copyright exception ruled to be out of tune by denying the music industry ‘fair compensation’

By Sean Godfrey and Sam Churney

On 19 June 2015 Mr Justice Green handed down a judicial review decision in the High Court in favour of music industry organisations (UK Music 2009 Limited, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and the Musicians’ Union) (the “Claimants“) ruling that the UK Government’s decision to introduce a private copying exception to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (the “Act“) in the absence of a compensation mechanism for copyright holders was unlawful.  Read the rest of this entry »

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AUSTRALIA: Update: Dallas Buyers Club letter revealed – Is it still speculative invoicing?

By Matthew Evans

In the latest update of the Dallas Buyers Club case the proposed letters to be sent to pirates have now been made public.

It was previously ordered that Voltage (the company owning the rights to Dallas Buyers Club) was required to submit to the Court a draft of the letters and telephone script it proposed to use when contacting customers pursuant his Honour Justice Perram’s ruling on 7 April 2015.

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AUSTRALIA: The end of the Pirate Bay and VPNs in Australia? New censorship laws passed to block piracy websites

By Matthew Evans

The Australian Government has introduced new laws to block websites at an internet service provider (ISP) level if they have the primary purposes of infringing or facilitating the infringement of copyright. On June 22 the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 was passed in parliament, amending the Copyright Act to introduce the new provisions.

In addition to the obvious targets such as The Pirate Bay and other bittorrent websites, there is a significant concern that the new laws would block Virtual Private Networks (VPN). In Australia, VPN demand has increased alongside the introduction of the recent Netflix service which is partially attributable to Australian customers flaunting geographic restrictions to obtain the same content as their US counterparts. VPNs also have numerous legitimate purposes and are critical to many businesses which transmit sensitive information or wish to preserve privacy.

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SPAIN: TV market’s heat before the summer

Author: Gonzalo Santos

After some turmoil last year regarding the granting of television channel licenses (which resulted in the repeal of nine of them by a decision of the Spanish Supreme Court), the Spanish Government recently issued a new call for tender for six of these licenses. Three of the television channel licenses are for high definition digital television channels, whilst the other three are for standard definition digital television channels. Each applicant is allowed to opt for a maximum of two licenses, one of each type (high and standard definition).

In order to obtain a license, applicants need to have had a turnover of more than €2.5 million for the last three years and to provide a warranty of €6 million for each requested license. Aside from these requirements, the Government is taking into consideration aspects such as the quality of the audiovisual content to be broadcasted. The economic requirements have been considered excessive by some potential applicants, which have filed an administrative claim requesting a modification of the terms of the call for tender.

On Thursday 17 June 2015, it was unveiled which applicants may be granted one of the TV licenses. Among them there are major media groups (Atresmedia, PRISA, Mediaset), a sports team (Real Madrid TV) and also the biggest chain of department stores in Spain (El Corte Inglés).

Licenses are expected to be granted on October for a period of 15 years. Once an applicant is granted a license, it just start broadcasting content in the following six months.

This call for tender seeks to compensate in some manner the aforementioned repeal of licenses. That and the very recent extrajudicial agreement that media groups have reached to avoid the repeal of eight additional licenses may help to stabilize the Spanish media landscape, although further calls for tender might take place. This would present an opportunity for operators interested in expanding their operations or entering the Spanish market. The latter must bear in mind that the Spanish General Audiovisual Communications Act sets forth some restrictions for companies which are not based in a country within the European Economic Area.

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USA: NBA and Nike announce global partnership

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Nike announced an exclusive eight-year global merchandise and marketing partnership, making Nike the official oncourt apparel provider from the 2017-18 NBA season. The deal is reportedly worth US$1 billion.

The deal will also see Nike as the marketing partner for the NBA Development League.

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BELGIUM – Belgian Privacy Commission publishes first official guidance on cookies

By Patrick van Eecke and Mathieu Le Boudec Almost one year after the publication of the draft version, the Belgian Privacy Commission has recently issued the final version of its recommendation regarding the use of cookies (which can be consulted through the following links in Dutch language or in French language). Read the rest of this entry »

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HUB FOCUS: Recent TV trends in Germany

Our global Media, Sport & Entertainment Hub provides insights into various legal and commercial issues impacting on this space.

As part of our “HUB FOCUS” series, we provide an extract, focusing on recent trends in the broadcast media industry in Germany:

One particular recent trend we have seen in Germany is the convergence of the broadcast media sectors. There has been a massive growth in the use of internet-delivered catch-up services, such as (i) Mediathek, from ARD and ZDF, (ii) MyVideo, from ProSiebenSat1 and (iii) Clipfish, from RTL.

Online streaming and video-on-demand platforms such as Netflix, which entered the German market in September 2014, and its competitors Watchever, Maxdome and Amazon Prime complement the classical TV formats but also cause a certain cannibalization. Furthermore, IP-TV offered by telecom operators such as Deutsche Telekom is expected to become a strong competitor to the existing means of TV distribution. However, according to the 2014 Digitisation Report by the media authorities the percentage of IP-TV users has- for the first time in years – not increased, meaning that 5 % (1.9 million TV households) used this means of transmission.”

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UK – Bridge moves closer to being recognised as a sport

By Mark Galli and Jonathan Salt

Following a renewed application brought forward by the English Bridge Union (EBU), the green light has been given to apply for judicial review against Sport England’s decision that excluded the card game “duplicate bridge” from being officially recognised as a sport.

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