ECJ limit on free movement of DVDs

Not quite an IP case, but one which could halt parallel imports of copyright and/or trade marked materials that would otherwise be allowed under the exhaustion of IP rights doctrine. In Dynamic Medien v Avides Media, the ECJ has ruled that:
"Article 28 EC does not preclude national rules, such as those at issue in the main proceedings, which prohibit the sale and transfer by mail order of image storage media which have not been examined and classified by a higher regional authority or a national voluntary self-regulation body for the purposes of protecting young persons and which do not bear a label from that authority or that body indicating the age from which they may be viewed, unless it appears that the procedure for examination, classification and labelling of image storage media established by those rules is not readily accessible or cannot be completed within a reasonable period, or that a decision of refusal is not open to challenge before the courts."
To give some factual background, Avides imported 'Anime' DVDs from the UK which were classified by the British classification authorities and then sold them on the German market. Dynamic alleged that this breached the Law on the protection of young persons, which prohibits the sale by mail order of image storage media which have not been examined in Germany in accordance with that Law, and which do not bear an age-limit label corresponding to a classification decision from a higher regional authority or a national self-regulation body. Avides argued that this law prevented free movement of goods, and so violated Art.28 EC.

The IPKat finds this case a little odd. The DVDs in question had been examined by the UK authorities. He wonders if standards concerning what programming is suitable for children really is so different in the different EU Member States.
ECJ limit on free movement of DVDs ECJ limit on free movement of DVDs Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, February 14, 2008 Rating: 5


Nathan Wajsman said...

Actually, attitudes towards what is suitable for children do differ among EU countries. In Scandinavia nudity is considered much less harmful for children than violence, whereas in other countries it is the other way round.

Philip Eagle said...

Yes, Scandinavian countries have traditionally been extremely sensitive on violence in children's programmes, even to the point of banning Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry cartoons over the slapstick violence in them.

Dr Schoen said...

IPKat's comment at the end is understandable until one recalls that "moral or cultural views" have not (yet) been harmonised across the EU, i.e. what is acceptable to one Member State may not be acceptable to another. Cf. online pharmacies.

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