For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Who is Schwibbert?

In the Kat's recent post "You can SIAE that again!" he asked if anyone knew anything about the background to this Thursday's forthcoming Advocate General's Opinion in the Schwibbert case.

Right: the IPKat's trained hounds pick up the scent of the Schwibbert case ... [from Ronald Raglan's collectable Beagle Prints]

Well, his friend Alessandro - from the curious land of parallelimportseurope.com (see earlier post here) - has sent him some useful information. Says Alessandro (lightly edited by the IPKat):

"Mr Schwibbert is a German citizen, legal representative of an Italian company which is the defendant in a criminal action for having commercialized in Italy a CD ROM lacking the "SIAE" mark (SIAE is the "unique" Italian agency for the protection and the management of copyrights).

In fact, the Italian law n. 248/2000 punishes those who use for a commercial purposes every CD, audio and video box, DVD, etc, containing copyright materials (software, sounds, voices or images) without a "SIAE" mark. To put the SIAE mark one must pay euro 0.0310 per unit (euro 0.0181 in some exceptional cases). Now, the Italian law requires use of the SIAE mark even on blank CDs, DVDs, etc.

During the first hearing (24 April 2007) over which the Finnish Judge Allan Rosas presided), the attorney for the defendant (lawyer Andrea Sirotti Gaudenzi) asserted that the Italian law had introduced some “technical rules” in violation of the EU rules, i.e. without proceeding to the prior communication of its legislative proposal to the EU Commission.

The Commission has joined in the submission of lawyer Sirotti Gaudenzi.

On the opposite site, the Italian Government and the SIAE lawyers assert that the SIAE mark was a pre-existing practice in Italy and that, therefore, the new law “would have simply duplicated” the existing situation.

SIAE risks loss of the returns derived from the affixing of the "SIAE" mark.

Given the complexity of the case, the judgment has been referred in order to allow the Advocate General to formulate the own conclusions.

We hope for SIAE mark abolition (not only us in Italy)!!!!"
Thank you, Alessandro, says the IPKat, now we know. Merpel says, we're only hoping that the Advocate General's Opinion is easier to comprehend than was the immediate significance of the questions that were put to him.

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