Music and IP conference report: 4

The final session of today's Music and IP conference started with a dash of bravado as Rechtsanwaldin Brigitte Lindner (Serle Court) took us on a guided tour of Europe, in search of jurisdictions which had their own versions of the Digital Economy Act.  Finland and Spain were among the countries in which something was (sort of) happening or had (sort of) happened.  The French Loi Hadopi came under Brigitte's careful scrutiny, as did long-suffering Ireland, whose predicament had earlier been noted by Christina Michalos here (and yes, Christina really did say what she said about the connection between unauthorised copyright downloads and the predicament of the Irish economy -- we were all listening!)  Germany was cited as a country in which blocking of access to the internet and the obtaining of information concerning downloaders was likely to face difficulties on account of its strong data protection and civil rights laws. Brigitte warned that, if stakeholder dialogue in Europe did not lead to an acceptable solution, the European Parliament would press for legislation.
This is one of a number of excellent diagrams
you can find on the hadopi website
Turning specifically to the French Loi Hadopi (the high authority for the dissemination of works and the protection of rights on the internet), Brigitte led us through its background and evolution. She then addressed its core: the violation of the duty of care owed by an internet subscriber to avoid using it for the purpose of copyright infringement.  The copyright infringement itself remains to be enforced by the copyright owner in the normal course of things. The law provides for an injunction against anyone who can prevent the perpetration of an infringement; it also establishes a procedure whereby various bodies -- not the copyright owner itself -- can furnish information to Hadopi which, having verified it and having established the identity of the subscriber, will email a warning to him.  The subsequent pursuit of infringers, whether through an administrative procedure leading to an administrative fine or resulting in internet suspension, was then described in excited detail. Hadopi has been up and running since 1 October, unlike the DEA which has not yet kicked in.  In France the state pays for the entire procedure, while under the DEA it is the IP owners who will bear the brunt of the cost.

Excited conference registrants
beseige Ben after his talk
Last to speak was lawyer, academic, 1709 Blogger and Glastonbury Festival legal guru Ben Challis. His talk, "The Glastonbury Tales: the Practicalities of Festival Life and IP". Ben began with some words for the PRS: they announced a review of their consultation on live music licences right in the middle of the summer festival season.  Fortunately the deadline has twice been extended.  The UK's rates (3% of box office receipts) is actually the lowest in Europe -- but it's still twice that of the United States.  Some festivals, particularly those which combine live acts with drama, circus, art and other attractions, want the rate to drop, to reflect the fact that many who attend are not there for the live musical performances. Since the PRS and the festival organisers are so far apart, a reference to the Copyright Tribunal is likely.  Certain unattributed sources question whether the PRS's stance reflects the reality of today's festival scene.

With two sets, Matilda could
enjoy the festival twice as much
Ben then discussed relations between the Glastonbury Festival and the media. There is very wide and varied coverage of the festival with internet, newspaper, magazine, radio and the TV media (particularly numerous tentacles of the BBC). 110 hours of live material goes out, plus content on demand, which requires a good deal of negotiation and attention to detail.

Trade marks are also an important of the festival's protection.  It now has a growing portfolio of registrations, including some acquired following settlements, which feature the word GLASTONBURY.  Brands and other rights are strongly protected, though "We don't want to seem to be litigious", Ben confided.
Music and IP conference report: 4 Music and IP conference report: 4 Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, December 08, 2010 Rating: 5

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