Copyright updates

The European Court of Justice released a decision last week in SABAM vs Netlog (C-360/10) denying a request that a social network site install general filters against the exchange of copyrighted music and videos. In Canadian copyright news, Bill C-11, the copyright amendment Bill went to committee with a schedule to review the bill by the end of March.

SABAM v. Netlog

In Netlog, SABAM, a copyright collective requested that Netlog as provider of a social networking site pay for use of the collective’s works that are reproduced by the social network’s users. The Court held that general monitoring of all information of the users would violate certain EP directives relating to the freedom to operate a business.

[38] In the light of the foregoing, it must be held that the injunction imposed on the hosting service provider requiring it to install the contested filtering system would oblige it to actively monitor almost all the data relating to all of its service users in order to prevent any future infringement of intellectual-property rights. It follows that that injunction would require the hosting service provider to carry out general monitoring, something which is prohibited by Article 15(1) of Directive 2000/31 (see, by analogy, Scarlet Extended, paragraph 40).

[44] Accordingly, in circumstances such as those in the main proceedings, national authorities and courts must, in particular, strike a fair balance between the protection of the intellectual property right enjoyed by copyright holders and that of the freedom to conduct a business enjoyed by operators such as hosting service providers pursuant to Article 16 of the Charter (see Scarlet Extended, paragraph 46).

This decision is related to a previously reported decision relating to the onus on ISPs to filter or monitor copyright protected materials.

Bill C-11

The House of Commons Committee reviewing Bill C-11 containing the amendments to the copyright legislation has identified a list of parties to be invited to testify.