2019-09-13 | ECJ Kraftwerk: “What we’re gonna do right here is go back. Way back!”

You can’t use a recognizable music sample (however short) without authorization from the phonogram producer (i.e. the owner of the recording). That is how the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice (15 judges) decided on 29 July 2019 in its infinite wisdom. Press release from the ECJ here. The judgment reminds me of […] Read more

2019-06-20 | Let’s sue or smile?

The four-year dispute between Louis Vuitton and My Other Bag has finally been settled. My Other Bag sells canvas bags with (simplified) images of designer bags from various luxury brands for $30 a piece. Those of Louis Vuitton are well represented in the My Other Bag collection. The District Court of New York did not […] Read more

2018-11-30 | On copyright without flavour

When you sit in a restaurant, you’re surrounded by copyright protected works: the art on the walls, the restaurant’s logo on the menu and in some cases even the dining tables and chairs. But what’s the situation with copyright protection of the most important thing in that restaurant – the flavour of the food and […] Read more

2018-11-14 | No copyright protection for chocolate sticks and curls

Chocolate is available in all shapes and sizes: from ‘zeebanket’ (typical Dutch chocolates in the shape of shells) to chocolate letters during Sinterklaas (a ‘saint’ that brings presents to children in the Netherlands, similar to Santa Claus). Chocolate in certain shapes can be protected by copyright if it has an ‘own, original character’ (‘eigen, oorspronkelijk […] Read more

2018-08-10 | My paper is on… COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT!

Who didn’t liven up their school papers with images from Google or from books of the school library when they were young? Unaware of any harm, you’d copy and paste pictures of hamsters, football players and cities just to reach that minimum page count of that annoying school paper. A German pupil did exactly that […] Read more

2018-07-25 | Heks’nkaas: science fiction copyright

Advocate General Wathelet has advised against copyright protection of the taste of foodstuffs. The key consideration is in nr. 60:   Toutefois, le fait que les saveurs elles-mêmes soient éphémères, volatiles et instables milite, à mon avis, contre leur identification précise et objective ainsi que, par conséquent, leur qualification en tant qu’œuvres aux fins du droit d’auteur. […] Read more

2018-06-13 | Technical function v. design in the law on design

The law on design always creates friction between the technical (functional) aspects of a user model and freedom of design. The law on design offers no protection for external features that are solely dictated by their technical function. This rule is unclear and generates a lot of debate. After all, when is an external feature […] Read more

2018-02-02 | Stock photos – copyright-free or not?

The Sub-District Judge at the Noord-Holland Court issued an interesting decision in April 2017. A Dutch car company had placed a stock photo of a temperature gauge on its website, without permission. The stock firm, Masterfile, then formally warned the car company to cease this copyright infringement and demanded that they pay €3,200 for the […] Read more

2018-01-10 | Warning: in the Netherlands illegal downloaders will be chased now, too

In the countries around us private persons downloading illegally already received warning letters with penalties. In the Staatscourant [Government Gazette] it was recently announced that Dutch FilmWorks has gotten permission from the Dutch Data Protection Authority to collect IP-addresses from private persons who download their films and series illegally. With this information Dutch FilmWorks can […] Read more

2017-10-03 | The fleece jacket and the lex loci protectionis: winter is coming

Esprit’s design department had clearly forgotten that the whole point about a design department is that it designs … An identical copy of a Scoth & Soda fleece jacket left Esprit’s drawing table and appeared on the European market. A copyright infringement – as the District Court unsurprisingly held in The Hague. Scotch had demanded […] Read more