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?
A silly exercise in consultation: this cannot continue A silly exercise in consultation: this cannot continue Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, June 06, 2013 Rating: 5


  1. 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"?

  2. 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?

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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:


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

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

  7. 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


All comments must be moderated by a member of the IPKat team before they appear on the blog. Comments will not be allowed if the contravene the IPKat policy that readers' comments should not be obscene or defamatory; they should not consist of ad hominem attacks on members of the blog team or other comment-posters and they should make a constructive contribution to the discussion of the post on which they purport to comment.

It is also the IPKat policy that comments should not be made completely anonymously, and users should use a consistent name or pseudonym (which should not itself be defamatory or obscene, or that of another real person), either in the "identity" field, or at the beginning of the comment. Current practice is to, however, allow a limited number of comments that contravene this policy, provided that the comment has a high degree of relevance and the comment chain does not become too difficult to follow.

Learn more here: http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/p/want-to-complain.html

Powered by Blogger.