Copyright has seen a spectacular rise in importance, both politically and legally, in recent decades. The digitisation of cultural and scientific goods has led many rights holders to see strengthened copyright protection as the only means of ensuring the survival of the cultural industry. To a large extent the rights holders’ quest for more legal protection has succeeded – today’s copyright protections are as strong and broad as never before.
According to Farida Shaheed, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, this has caused increasing tension between copyright law and human rights law. Her report on “Copyright policy and the right to science and culture” is diplomatically worded but argues strongly that we need to pay more attention to the human rights repercussions of granting authors – and rights holders – exclusive rights over authorial works.
Because of the 25-year copyright protection, several companies in the UK sell replicas of classic European furniture which cannot be sold in other EU member states due to copyright. Examples include Danish classics, such as the famous Egg chair, designed by Arne Jacobsen, who died in 1971.
These replicas are also sold to Danish consumers, among other things, through UK webshops. The Danish furniture industry has successfully pursued a number of legal options in Denmark against the UK sellers in order to stop this activity. A recent Danish court decision from 12 November 2014 concerns the UK company Voga Ltd. which operates a webshop, voga.com.
Over the past several weeks, there have been several developments concerning Australia's recently-proposed online copyright enforcement reforms. Particularly, the Australian government is in the process of adopting reforms that would allow owners of copyright-protected works and other authorized parties (collectively, "Rights Holders") to petition Australian Courts for an injunctive order to directly block foreign-hosted websites from accessing Australia. Although these proposed measures will arguably provide Rights Holders greater means to enforce rights in their works across borders, they pose a number of potentially problematic issues.
The English Premier League has secured an injunction against a Dutch internet hosting provider, Ecatel. The internet hosting provider was ordered by a district court in The Hague to stop providing services which facilitate the video-streaming of Premier League matches. Ecatel could face a fine of up to 1.5 million Euros. The action is part of the Premier League’s copyright protection program and it was stated that the legal proceedings followed earlier warnings.