For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

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Thursday, 6 June 2013

A silly exercise in consultation: this cannot continue

Is this the parody that led to the referral?
Here's another of those requests for comments on intellectual property cases that have been referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU or, as some folk quaintly prefer, ECJ), which the UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) sends out from time to time. Unlike the usual email circulars, which are urgent but don't say so, this one is actually headed 'Urgent'.  The full text reads as follows:
We have received notification of a new case referred by Hof van beroep te Brussel - Belgium to the Court of Justice of the European Union:  C-201/13.  The case concerns the meaning of the concept of 'parody' in Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society ('the Directive').

This case and the questions referred to the court can be viewed on our website at:

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/pro-policy/policy-information/ecj/ecj-2013.htm [no it can't. At 15.26 pm this Kat clicked the link and was treated to a short list of cases, none of which was Case 201/13 Deckmyn et Vrijheidsfonds, which you can read about in what this Kat guesses to be Dutch here. Update: by 16.13 pm the CJE|U website for this case was available as a click-through -- but the questions were "not available"]

If you would like to comment on this case please e-mail policy@ipo.gov.uk before noon 7 June 2013 [that's right, tomorrow.  This email, timed at 15.15pm today, gives less than a day for responses and comments to be composed and submitted].

We understand how difficult it is to provide detailed comments in the time available.  The IPO has tight time limits in which to consider and provide advice to ministers on ECJ cases.  In order to help us provide the right advice, we just need a short email by the deadline stating whether you think the UK should intervene and some general points about how you think we should answer the questions.

You are welcome to follow this email up with more detailed comments after the deadline, which can be taken into consideration if we have chosen to submit observations or if we decide to attend a hearing.

If you are aware of any references to the ECJ that are not currently included on our website, you are also welcome to send us your views.  If you choose to do this, please include clear information about the case to help us to identify it.

Further information on intellectual property ECJ cases can be found on our website http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ecj.htm.  ..."
This exercise has become mindless and futile.  Is there no-one in authority who reads this weblog and is prepared to take this problem by the scruff of the neck and shake it till it is solved?

This Kat is reminded of the story of the visitors to the Soviet Union and who watched with fascination while two workers proceeded with their labour.  The first dug a hole in the earth, which the second filled up again.  When the visitor expressed his surprise at this apparently pointless exercise, one of the labourers explained to him: "Usually there are three of us, but the guy who plants the trees is off sick today".  This exercise is scarcely more productive. If less than one day's notice is given, is it worth wasting the effort and talent of IPO staff in sending out such email circulars?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Surely the correct response in this case is "I wish the IPO to file observations, as this appears to be only only option which gives me more than a day to translate the original ruling from Dutch"?

Anonymous said...

Well its there now, not sure how useful it is as most of the fields say "Information not available". Perhaps this is why the IPO need advice?

David England said...

The deadline for comments on Court of Justice case C-201/13 (Deckmyn et Vrijheidsfonds – parody) is now 12 June 2013.

Michael Factor said...

Sallah Shabbati!

Anonymous said...

The questions are up on the IPO page now.

I like it: the IPO has resolved to introduce a parody exception in the UK. And now that want us to tell them what it is they are legislating for. I say a 'parody exception' is a national holiday with cream buns laid on by the IPO. That's my answer.

Ben G said...

Why is ECJ "quaint"?

David England said...

I note from Twitter that two new cases referred to what I call the CJEU, C-210/13 GSK and C-205/13 Hauck, one on SPCs and one on shape trade marks, have just appeared on the IPO website:

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/pro-policy/policy-information/ecj/ecj-2013.htm

The deadline for comments by 13 June 2013 is too soon bearing in mind most people will not now see these until Monday.

Ifeoma Okorie said...

I just can't stop laughing at the Soviet Union analogy! Apt!

Anonymous said...

But are you aware that the party allegedly using the work as a "parody" is Belgium's far right political party roughly equivalent to the UK's ..let me see now which one should we choose of the UK's three...

That puts a different slant on thing -freedom of speech and all that

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