From October 2016 to March 2017 the team is joined by Guest Kats Rosie Burbidge and Eibhlin Vardy, and by InternKats Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo, Tian Lu and Hayleigh Bosher.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Breaking news: Reprobel ruling out at last

When they heard about
InsoSocks, the Kats knew
that something was afoot ...
Regular readers of this blog will recall that Case C‑572/13, Hewlett-Packard Belgium SPRL v Reprobel SCRL, Epson Europe BV intervening, has attracted the attention of some of Europe's finest copyright analysts [for background and a note on some of the positions taken by notables on both sides you can check out the IPKat's earlier posts here].  Today's decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on a reference for a preliminary ruling from the Cour d’appel de Bruxelles, deals with questions relating to the provision of "fair compensation" for copyright owners in respect of non-commercial uses of their works that are made under exceptions to copyright under Directive 2001/29 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (better known as the InfoSoc Directive).
This morning's ruling comes a little over two years since the request for guidance was first made. Given that the CJEU has been turning its IP caseload round with commendable alacrity over the past couple of years, the length of time taken in this instance is a little surprising.  Merpel suggests one of a number of possible causes:
  • the questions asked by the Belgian court were so difficult and intellectually taxing that the CJEU really needed all the time it could get in order to sort its answers out; 
  • the legal points made at the hearing stage were sufficiently novel and unexpected that the CJEU had to look afresh at its preliminary opinion; 
  • the case was so boring that the CJEU could scarcely face looking at it and left it till its supply of the not-quite-so-dull stuff like fishing quotas, farming subsidies, anti-dumping and staff disputes was exhausted; 
  • the issues seemed so familiar, since the CJEU has been sent rather a lot of fair compensation questions in the not-too-distant past, that the good judges of Luxembourg left the file to gather dust on the erroneous assumption that they had already dealt with it;
  • every year an officer of the CJEU pulls the names of three cases out of a hat and decides to do a go-slow with them.
Be that as it may, this Kat is not going to provide a plot-spoiler.  For those who only want to know the outcome, the full text of the decision (which runs to a mere 89 paragraphs) can be read here.  If you want an informed analysis, fellow Kat Eleonora is already working to provide it -- so keep watching this space, or at least one very close to it!

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