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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

14/05/2013 21:34
In a recent decision, the CJEU made it clear that streaming of content over the internet can constitute copyright infringement (see the case of ITV and others v. TVCatchup). In this preliminary reference procedure, the referring court (i.e., the High Court of Justice of England and Wales) had asked the...
14/05/2013 14:36
On 17 April 2013, the Court of Appeals of Brussels lodged a reference for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Luxembourg, in a case opposing the heirs of one of Belgium's most famous comic book authors (Willy Vandersteen) and the far-right political party 'Vlaams Belang'...
26/04/2013 16:16
Recent case law by the European Court of Human Rights ("ECtHR") sheds new light on the relationship between copyright protection and freedom of expression. In its decision of 10 January 2013 in the case of Ashby Donald and others v. France, the ECtHR makes clear that a conviction for copyright infringement can in...
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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

28/07/2014 12:07
On 25th July 2014, Bart Van Besien was appointed as an Arbiter ('Panelist') in domainname disputes...
24/04/2014 09:57
The European Union's Observatory on Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights recently...
04/02/2014 17:37
It is a pleasure to announce that I have been appointed as an arbitrator ('panelist' or...
22/01/2014 16:29
If you are a trademark owner, and you find that someone else has registered a domain name identical...
22/01/2014 16:28
In this article, I summarize the different ways to recover a Belgian “.be” internet domain...
22/01/2014 16:13
In this article, I summarize how you can recover a .eu domain name.   A .eu domain name can be...
19/01/2014 21:21
With a contribution by Bart Van Besien and Pierre-François Docquir "Changing Conditions of...
17/12/2013 15:24
Under E.U. law, personal data can only be gathered under strict conditions. Those who collect and...
16/12/2013 20:21
The European Commission recently launched a public consultation to gather public input on the...
20/09/2013 18:13
The US Fourth Circuit Court of appeals ruled last Wednesday that a 'like' on Facebook is protected...
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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