Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Ruling from Appeal Court "brutal" - intellectual property lawyer

Adam Mitton, a partner in the intellectual property practice at law firm Harbottle & Lewis, said: "It's quite a brutal and perhaps surprising judgment on the particular facts of the case.

You might expect that a licence granted to the provider of a news aggregating product would necessarily imply a licence for its customers to receive and read that product, but the Court of Appeal, endorsing the earlier decision in the High Court, held that this was not the case.

"More generally from a copyright perspective, the ruling is also potentially quite far reaching, even if the reality is likely to be more limited.

Theoretically, anyone copying and making available a headline and a link, for instance on Twitter or as part of a commercial search or aggregation service, could be infringing copyright in doing so, and anyone who re-tweets could be doing the same.

"However, there are defences open to Twitter users which would not be available to a news aggregator or other commercial organisation. For example, most media content is made available to end users on terms which allow 'personal and non-commercial use' and can be downloaded and copied for that purpose.

This could be broad enough to provide a defence for individuals who draw attention to articles or print their own copies." "But there is now with this ruling an added risk to downloading content and sending headlines and links to articles which you might have thought was not there before."
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