Copyright adapts to new digital models in 2016

Tom Lingard, Henry Milas and Tom Collins explore 2016’s UK and European copyright highlights in an article published in Intellectual Property Magazine.

This year has been another fast-moving year for copyright, with the emphasis continuing to be on adapting traditional copyright rules to new digital business models. On this theme, we highlight two significant Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) rulings relating to hyperlinking and to the potential liability of free Wi Fi providers, and at UK level we look at High Court guidance in relation to the defence of ‘reporting current events’ in the context of mobile phone apps. Other important UK developments include an extension of the Norwich Pharmacal jurisdiction to include wrongdoers and amendments to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, bringing the UK into line with EU law.

EU developments

Hyperlinking to unauthorised content

On 8 September 2016, the CJEU handed down its long-awaited judgment in GS Media v Sanoma.1 The dispute concerned leaked photographs of Dutch TV presenter Britt Dekker, due to be published in Playboy Magazine in December 2011. GS Media operated a site which hyperlinked to websites where these photos could be found, and the publisher of Playboy claimed that posting such hyperlinks infringed the photographer’s copyright.

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Henry Milas, Tom Lingard , Tom Collins

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