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Newmedia-law.com is a blog about Media Law and Intellectual Property Law, focused on new legal developments in Belgian and European law. The blog is fed by Bart Van Besien, a lawyer at Finnian & Columba in Belgium.  Do not hesitate to contact me for any question or legal problem you may have in relation to Media Law or Intellectual Property Law (such as copyright, trademarks, patents, domain names or confidentiality issues) in Belgium, the Benelux or the European Union (EU).

 

Intellectual Property

06/02/2014 20:05
If you want to register a Benelux trademark, you can apply directly for your trademark online on the site of the BOIP. The Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) is the official body for the registration of trademarks and designs in the Benelux.  Completion of all formalities takes on average 4 to 6...
06/02/2014 19:41
In the course of 2014, the Belgian Copyright Act will be integrated into the new "Code of Economic Law." It is the intention of the Belgian lawmakers to bring all federal economic legislation, including copyright but excluding trademark law (which is covered by the Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property)...
15/11/2013 02:11
The District Court's decision of 14 November 2013 in the case of Authors Guild v. Google is a major victory for Google, and a serious blow for the Authors Guild and other opponents of Google Books.    In 2004, Google announced agreements with several research libraries in the US and abroad to digitally...
30/09/2013 06:57
  Economic rights and moral rights The Belgian Copyright Act makes a basic distinction between moral rights and economic rights. Moral rights are an author's right to disclose his or her work ("divulgation right"), the right to claim or refuse authorship of the work ("paternity right"), and the right to...
17/09/2013 06:47
A couple of days ago, my article on "Copiepresse versus Google" was published in the Belgian law review 'Revue du Droit des Technologies de l'Information' (R.D.T.I.). My article examines the legal dispute between Copiepresse[1] and Google before the Belgian courts. This dispute focused on the question whether...
12/08/2013 10:38
Copyright infringements are widespread on Pinterest. People very frequently 'pin' pictures that they just plucked from the internet, without giving any regard to possible copyright consequences. The problem is that those pictures often are under copyright protection, and are not freely available under Creative...
24/07/2013 22:15
Do the rules of copyright apply to social media as well? The answer is 'yes, they do', though there is often some more room for flexibility when it comes to their practical application.   Few court cases on copyright and social media   First, it is important to note that there are very few court cases...
27/06/2013 17:48
How can you protect your trademark from improper use, infringement or degeneration? Here are some practical tips and tricks to help you protect your trademark. Effectively use your trademark in the course of your business. Once your trademark is registered, it is important to effectively use it. A trademark that...
27/06/2013 17:43
A good trademark should meet some specific legal requirements. This article will give you practical advice on selecting a good and legally sound trademark.  Choose a distinctive trademark. In the first place, make sure that your trademark is distinctive enough. Your trademark should be used to set your goods...
23/05/2013 17:18
Trademarks often list among the most valuable assets of your business. Therefore, it is important to properly protect your trademarks from infringement or generification. Below is an essential guide to trademark law in the Benelux, to help you properly protect your Benelux trademarks.   Different types of...
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Media law

22/01/2014 16:16
If you are a trademark owner, and you find that someone else has registered a domain name identical or confusingly similar to your own trademark, you may consider filing a domain name dispute before a special arbitration centre (or before a regular court).   Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) for domain name disputes   UDRP (short for Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy) is the adequate dispute resolution scheme for the so-called “generic top-level domains” (gTLDs). These domains include the following domains: .aero, .asia, .biz, .cat, .com, .coop, .info, .jobs, .mobi, .museum, .name, .net, .org, .post, .pro, .tel, and .travel.   Under the UDRP policy, trademark-based domain name disputes must be resolved either by agreement between the parties, by court action or by arbitration, before a registrar can cancel, suspend or transfer the domain name.  In case of an – allegedly – abusive...
21/01/2014 14:17
In this article, I summarize how you can recover a .eu domain name.   A .eu domain name can be challenged either via a specific ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) procedure or in a regular court.   ADR procedure for .eu domain name disputes   In practice, most people choose for the ADR procedure, because of its effectiveness and its speed. Also, the ADR procedure is relatively cheap when compared to a regular court procedure. An ADR procedure may especially be appropriate in case of speculative and abusive registrations of .eu domain names.    Czech Arbitration Court (CAC) for .eu domain name disputes   ADR disputes about .eu domain names are handled by the Czech Arbitration Court (CAC), an independent arbitration body located in Prague. The procedure before the CAC is conducted per email and there is no need to travel whatsoever. Also, there are no in-person hearings (the procedure is conducted entirely...
17/12/2013 15:19
Under E.U. law, personal data can only be gathered under strict conditions. Those who collect and manage personal information are bound by a duty to protect it from misuse and to respect certain rights of the data owners.   The EU Data Protection Directive of 1995 (Directive 95/46/EC) established specific rules for the transfer of personal data, both inside and outside the EU.[1] However, since the draft of the 1995 rules, a vast range of technological developments have seen the light. It is now commonly recognized that the current data protection principles are in need of an urgent update. Also, differences in implementation of the rules in the EU member states have given rise to complex situations, in particular for companies that are active in more than one EU member state. In our globalized economy, drafting different company policies to respond to different legal situations in each of the EU member states is hardly an...
13/12/2013 11:58
In this article, I summarize the different ways to recover a Belgian “.be” internet domain name.   In Belgium, there are two ways to recover a domain name that is registered by someone else. The first way is the “alternative dispute resolution” (“ADR”) service provided by Cepani[1] (for .be domain names) or ICANN (for .com, .net and .org domain names).[2] The second way is through the Belgian Courts (for .be domain names and for other domain names if registered by persons with a residence or an establishment in Belgium).    For the purpose of this article, only action through Cepani’s dispute resolution service and the Belgian Courts is reviewed (I will treat the ICANN procedure in a different article).   Cepani Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR to recover a “.be” domain name   Cepani has developed a detailed set of rules governing the filing of a complaint and the procedure leading up to a decision (see...
27/08/2013 22:49
The basic rules on freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Belgium are enshrined in the Belgian Constitution. The majority of Belgian media-related legislation concerns audiovisual media, rather than the written press or the internet. The rules on audiovisual media are passed by the Community Parliaments (i.e. mainly the Flemish Parliament and the Parliament of the French Community). The Federal Belgian Parliament is responsible for indirect state subsidies, copyright legislation and telecommunications policy (including satellite reception and terrestrial networks).   The protection of freedom of expression and freedom of the press under the Belgian Constitution   Below are the main rules on the protection of freedom of expression and freedom of the press as they are listed in the Belgian Constitution. For a more extensive discussion on the rules on freedom of expression and freedom of the press under Belgian law...
21/08/2013 08:30
Indirect subsidies for Belgian media   Indirect state aid for Belgian media comes mostly from the federal Belgian government. Examples are a zero VAT tariff for newspapers; reduced postal tariffs for newspapers; amounts spent on government advertisements (though these are not only federal); free train and bus tickets for journalists; etc. Direct financial state support through public advertisements is an important source of revenue for some media outlets. The figures for indirect state aid are larger than those for direct state aid, but there is a lack of transparency with regard to these figures. Indirect state aid is believed to amount to a total of 353 million Euros per year in Belgium.[1]   Direct subsidies for Belgian media   Direct state grants to Belgian written press publishers   Direct state aid to Belgian media is mostly directed to the traditional media (the printed daily press). On the Flemish side, it...
12/08/2013 11:28
This article published in the Belgian law review 'Auteurs & Media' (in French) discusses a court case in Belgium where the administrator of a discussion forum on the internet was sued because of the presence of allegedly libelous or defamatory messages on the forum. The author of the article comments on the decision rendered by the Court of First Instance of Antwerp in three times. The first issue addressed by the court was the question whether the administrator could invoke the exonerations from liability provided by Belgian (and EU) law, given the fact that the forum was a free (non-paying) forum. The judge also had to decide on the correct legal qualification of the activities of an administrator or moderator of an internet discussion forum: do these activities qualify as "hosting" activities / "mere conduit" or rather as "editing"? Finally, the judge had to assess the response (or lack of response) by the forum administrator....
30/07/2013 14:09
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sent several letters to search engine companies (such as Google, Yahoo, AOL, Ask.com, Bing, Blekko and DuckDuckGo) asking them to better distinguish between advertising and natural search results. The FTC notes that in recent years, it has become less easy for searchers to identify paid search results as advertising. This is especially the case with advertisements located immediately above the natural search results (‘top ads’).   Half of searchers do not recognize ‘top ads’   According to a recent survey quoted by the FTC, nearly half of the internet searchers fail to recognize ‘top ads’ as distinct from natural search results. These searchers in particular believed the background shading (used to distinguish the ads) in advertisement blocks was white. The FTC also refers to a practice with certain specialized search engines to include paid advertisements in search results without...
11/07/2013 16:42
Les initiatives législatives adoptées au début des années 2000 pour régler la question de la responsabilité des intermédiaires de l’Internet n’ont pas pu anticiper l’évolution constante de la société de l’information. Aujourd’hui, un grand nombre de prestataires de services sur Internet sont confrontés à l’incertitude qui plane quant à leur responsabilité à l’égard d’informations qu’ils ne produisent pas eux-mêmes.   La première question examinée dans cet article porte sur la qualification des activités d’un gestionnaire d’un forum de discussion : s’agit-il d’activités d’hébergement, de simple transport ou bien d’édition ? Enfin, il revient au juge de trancher la  controverse relative à l’appréciation de la réaction du gestionnaire du forum. A partir de quel moment peut-on considérer que celui-ci ait connaissance du caractère prétendument illicite des messages litigieux sur son forum ? Peut-il demander des...
10/07/2013 14:54
This week, France made an impressive U-turn on the way it handles P2P piracy on the internet. In a decree of 8  July  2013, the French government overturned the provision in the Intellectual Property Code that allowed a court to suspend one's internet access in case of illegal downloading of copyrighted works (more precisely, in the case of "négligence caractérisée" - see below). Under the new law, those accused by the High Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of Rights on the Internet (Hadopi) of illegal downloading, will no longer risk losing their internet access. The new system shifts the focus to imposing fines rather than disconnecting people from the internet.   Old Hadopi law: three strikes and you're out   The old Hadopi law was famous for its "three strikes" graduated response procedure, following which internet users who did not secure their internet connection and allowed it to be...
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News

30/07/2013 14:06
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sent several letters to search engine companies (such as...
11/07/2013 15:16
Google recently announced to make its 'Google News' service "opt-in" instead of  "opt-out" in...
11/07/2013 11:03
This week, France made an impressive U-turn on the way it handles P2P piracy on the internet. In...
28/06/2013 10:41
Belgium took part in an international campaign to block websites that sell counterfeit products....
21/05/2013 14:45
How to handle copyright infringement via 3-D printing? Should you stop infringement through...
21/05/2013 14:25
The Italian competition authority sanctioned Ryanair for charging extra fees for handling online...
21/05/2013 11:36
If you are confused about the exact meaning of the two terms, read this interesting article:...
14/05/2013 20:59
See http://www.pcworld.com/article/2036961/belgian-isps-sued-for-providing-internet-access-with
14/05/2013 10:08
Harper Lee, the author of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' filed a lawsuit against her literary agent to...
24/04/2013 18:28
Our new website has been launched today. Author: Bart Van Besien Finnian &...
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Contact

Bart Van Besien Finnian & Columba
K. De Deckerstraat 20A
2800 Mechelen, Belgium

+32 486 626 355
+32 15 29 42 57
bart@finnian.be