Book review: Cross-Border Copyright Licensing: Law and Practice

Copyright is not the simplest of intellectual property rights and when you add licensing to the mix the combination of contract and competition law plus cross border questions can provide complex considerations for even the most experienced practitioner.

Cross-Border Copyright Licensing: Law and Practice, edited by Carlo Scollo Lavizzari and Rene Viljoen aims to guide you through some of these complexities, particularly as they relate to China, the EU, India, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, South Africa and the US.

The book gives a handy and comprehensive overview of the legal issues to consider when licensing copyright in each territory. This includes the approach of the national courts to important questions such as jurisdiction and choice of law. More practical considerations such as collecting societies are considered as well as related rights such as image rights, moral rights and performers rights. In some cases, other rights such as patents get a special mention, particularly where the law is still developing and the likely approach toward copyright can be seen from patent law developments.

I’m not usually a fan of books which take a country by country review of IP rights. I often find that the overlap between the different systems is hard to identify as the issues and solutions are articulated in such different ways. Dare I say it? This book has avoided many of these pitfalls. In part, I think that is due to the degree of flexibility which has been given to the authors of each chapter to look at the points which are particularly relevant in their jurisdiction.

The contractual and competition law issues can vary substantially between territories, together with the copyright considerations, they are succinctly summarised in each chapter. The expert editing has helped to iron out and identify the commonalities.

I’m not going to look at each chapter in huge amounts of detail but the following points particularly caught my eye.

  1. Bear in mind that even though you don't have to register copyright in China and the US, in practice, ti is very important in the context of damages and enforcement. 
  2. Watch out for liquidated damages clauses which vary substantially in nature and scope between territories e.g. In China you can ask the court to reconsider the figure if the actual damages figure is substantially different to the agreed liquidated damages figure. 
  3. Limitation periods can vary dependent on both the country and the cause of action [quelle surprise]. The limitation period for contractual claims in China is a particularly short two years. 
  4. Many countries imply fixed contractual terms if the contract doesn't meet certain criteria.
  5. It remains important to check local laws regarding the recordal of licenses. 
As the official blurb says "Cross-Border Copyright Licensing is an essential starting point for anyone considering or advising on the implementation or enforcement of a copyright licensing programme, in either developed and emerging markets."
Key facts

480 pages
Hardback Price: £130.50 from the publishers
ISBN: 978 1 78471 850 3

Book review: Cross-Border Copyright Licensing: Law and Practice Book review: Cross-Border Copyright Licensing: Law and Practice Reviewed by Rosie Burbidge on Friday, November 23, 2018 Rating: 5

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