In an interesting recent case, the Regional Court of Cologne (LG Köln) had to decide what constitutes a so-called official work (LG Köln, Urteil vom 07.07.2010 – 28 O 721/09).
That certainly seems clear enough, but the case at hand shows that there may be difficulties involved: Claimant was an attorney; defendant operated a website with reports on legal disputes. Claimant, acting for one of his clients, sought a preliminary injunction (PI) against defendant from a court in Berlin. The court granted the PI, stating:
“The preliminary injunction had to be granted for the reasons set out in the attached motion for the preliminary injunction including the appendices thereto.”
Subsequently, defendant published claimant’s brief on his website, as part of an article about his objection proceedings against the PI. Claimant sued for copyright infringement, so the LG Köln had to decide whether in this context the attorney’s brief was part of an official work for the purposes of section 5(1) UrhG.
I believe the court struck a fair balance of interests, given that the publication of the PI would be quite pointless if it were not permitted to publish the motion for the PI as well. Also, I like my PIs super fast and do not think judges should be made to paraphrase the arguments submitted in an attorney’s brief if they happen to agree with them. Do readers feel the same way, or do you think that’s just promoting laziness?