28 November 2016Copyright

WIPR survey: CJEU decision to have wide-ranging implications

A recent copyright decision by Europe’s highest court may have wide ranging and significant implications, according to WIPR readers.

On November 16, WIPR  reported that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) had held that EU member states must allow authors to prevent the digital reproduction of out-of-print books.

In the case of Marc Soulier and Sara Doke v Premier ministre and Ministre de la Culture et de la Communication, the CJEU added that national legislation must guarantee the protection afforded to authors by the copyright directive (2001/29/EC).

“While this case may have originally been about old French books, the scope of this decision is by no means open and shut,” said one reader.

They added that the wider implications of the decision are “significant”.

According to the reader, if the decision is followed to the letter, as has happened already this year with the GS Media decision, there may be no scope for EU member states to legislate independently on copyright law.

“This direct limitation on the legislative freedom of a member state, without explicit authority to do so in the cited EU legislation, could indicate that the court is moving into a new evolutionary phase,” they explained.

They said that this new phase could mean the court “is willing to use the tools at its disposal to further enhance EU harmonisation in relation to intellectual property standards”.

Subject to the exceptions and limitations expressly provided for in the directive, authors have the “exclusive right to authorise or prohibit the reproduction and communication to the public of their works”, according to the CJEU.

However, the court added that an author’s prior consent to the use of their work can, under certain conditions, be expressed implicitly.

“What the ​c​ourt has clarified is how ​an ​author's consent should be expressed​—and this ​makes ​room for further discussion,” said another respondent.

They added that the ​court's ​mention ​o​f​ the Svensson ruling as an example is more than that.

“What the ​c​ourt is really saying is that if an author does not want her/his work communicated or reproduced ​o​n ​the ​internet beyond the limits set in the licen​c​e, ​they​ should take further and efficient measures (​eg, digital rights management) to prevent third party access and/or copy​ing​.”

For this week's survey, we ask: "Donald Trump has  said he will abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.  Would this move be bad for IP owners in the signatory countries?"

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at