1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Directors' rights: the AG speaks ... but not in English

In July 2010 the 1709 Blog noted the reference for a preliminary ruling from the Handelsgericht Vienna (Austria) in Case C-277/10 Martin Luksan v Petrus van der Let. To refresh readers' memories, the questions referred were these:
1. Must the provisions of European Union law concerning copyright and related rights, and in particular Article 2(2), (5) and (6) of Directive 92/100 [on rental right and lending right and on certain rights related to copyright in the field of intellectual property], Article 1(5) of Directive 93/83/EEC [on the coordination of certain rules concerning copyright and rights related to copyright applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission] and Article 2(1) of Directive 2006/116 [this being the codified version of the Directive on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights], in conjunction with Article 4 of Directive 92/100, Article 2 of Directive 93/83 and Articles 2 and 3 and Article 5(2)(b) of Directive 2001/29 [on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society], be interpreted as meaning that the principal director of a cinematographic or audiovisual work or other authors of films designated by the legislatures of the Member States are directly (primarily) entitled in all events, by law, to the exploitation rights in respect of reproduction, satellite broadcasting and other communication to the public through the making available to the public and that the film-maker is not entitled thereto directly (primarily) and exclusively;
Are laws of the Member States which assign the exploitation rights by law directly (primarily) and exclusively to the film-maker inconsistent with European Union law? 
If the answer to Question 1 is in the affirmative: 
2a. Does European Union law grant the legislatures of the Member States the option of providing for a legal presumption in favour of a transfer to the film-maker of the exploitation rights within the meaning of paragraph 1 to which the principal director of a cinematographic or audiovisual work or other authors of films designated by the legislatures of the Member States are entitled, even in respect of rights other than rental and lending rights, and if so, must the conditions laid down in Article 2(5) and (6) of Directive 92/100, in conjunction with Article 4 of that directive, be satisfied? 
2b. Must the primary ownership of rights of the principal director of a cinematographic or audiovisual work, or of other authors of films designated by the legislature of a Member State also be applied to the rights granted by the legislature of a Member State to equitable remuneration, such as 'empty cassette remuneration' pursuant to Paragraph 42b of the Austrian Urhebergesetz (Copyright law), or to rights to fair compensation within the meaning of Article 5(2)(b) of Directive 2001/29? 
If the answer to Question 2b is in the affirmative: 
3. Does European Union law grant the legislatures of the Member States the option of providing for a legal presumption in favour of a transfer to the film-maker of the rights to remuneration within the meaning of paragraph 2 to which the principal director of a cinematographic or audiovisual work or other authors of films designated by the legislatures of the Member States are entitled, and if so, must the conditions laid down in Article 2(5) and (6) of Directive 92/100, in conjunction with Article 4 of that directive, be satisfied? 
If the answer to Question 3 is in the affirmative: 
4. If a legal provision of a Member State accords to the principal director of a cinematographic or audiovisual work or other authors of films designated by the legislatures of the Member States a right to half of the statutory rights to remuneration, but provides that that right is capable of alteration and not therefore unwaivable, is that provision consistent with the aforementioned provisions of European Union law in the area of copyright and related rights?
If you're still following all of this, you will probably want to know that the Advocate General delivered  her Opinion yesterday, but that it is sadly available in only seven official languages of the European Union [including Latvian and Portuguese] -- and not in English.

The Opinion is a long one (179 paragraphs). In French it goes like this:
"1. Les dispositions combinées de l’article premier, paragraphe 5, et de l’article 2 de la directive 93/83 et les dispositions combinées de l’article 2, paragraphe 1, de la directive 2006/116 et des articles 2 et 3 de la directive 2001/29 doivent être interprétées en ce sens que le réalisateur principal est l’auteur du film au sens de ces dispositions et que, par conséquent, les droits d’exploitation de la reproduction, de la diffusion par satellite, et de toute autre communication au public par voie de mise à disposition lui reviennent.

2. Toutefois, en vertu de l’article 14bis, paragraphe 2, sous b) à d), et paragraphe 3, de la convention de Berne, les États membres ont la faculté de prévoir une disposition attribuant directement (originairement) et exclusivement les droits d’exploitation au producteur du film , à condition que

– le producteur et le réalisateur du film aient conclu un contrat par lequel ce dernier s’engage à apporter sa contribution à la production de l’œuvre cinématographique;

– il soit possible de conclure des conventions contraires réservant les droits d’exploitation exclusif ou l’exercice de ces droits au réalisateur principal;

– les États membres garantissent que, dans ce cas, l’auteur du film, obtienne une compensation équitable au sens de l’article 17, paragraphe 1, deuxième phrase, de la chartre.

3. Lorsque les États membres prévoient, en vertu de l’article 5, paragraphe 2, sous b), de la directive 2001/29, une limitation du droit de reproduction de l’auteur du film, en vertu de l’article 2, sous a), de la directive 2001/29, pour les reproductions destinées à un usage privé, ils doivent lui garantir une compensation équitable. Dès lors que cela est garanti, ces dispositions ne s’opposent pas à une disposition de droit national attribuant originairement au producteur du film les droits sur les copies destinées à un usage privé.

4. L’article 5, paragraphe 2, sous b), et l’article 2, sous a), de la directive 2001/29 doit être interprété en ce sens qu’il s’oppose à une disposition de droit national, accordant le droit de l’auteur du film à une rémunération équitable respectivement pour moitié à l’auteur et au producteur, en conséquence de quoi l’auteur n’obtient que la moitié de la rémunération équitable".
A slightly tickled-up version of Google Translate renders it thus:
"1. The combined provisions of Article I, paragraph 5, and Article 2 of Directive 93/83 and the combined provisions of Article 2, paragraph 1 of Directive 2006/116 and Articles 2 and 3 Directive 2001/29 must be interpreted as meaning that the principal [director] is the author of the film within the meaning of these provisions and, therefore, the operating rights of reproduction, satellite broadcasting, and any other communication to the public by making available to him back.

2. However, under Article 14bis, paragraph 2, b) to d) and paragraph 3 of the Berne Convention, Member States have the option to include a provision giving directly (originally) and exclusively the rights of operation to the film producer, provided that

- Producer and director of the film have reached an agreement whereby the latter undertakes to contribute to the production of the film;

- It is possible to conclude agreements to the contrary, any rights of exclusive use or enjoyment of those rights to the principal;

- Member States shall ensure that, in this case, the author of the film, get fair compensation within the meaning of Article 17, paragraph 1, second sentence of the charter.

3. When Member States shall, under Article 5, paragraph 2 b) of Directive 2001/29, a limitation of the reproduction right of the author of the film, under Article 2 a) of Directive 2001/29, for reproductions for private use, they need to guarantee fair compensation. Once this is guaranteed, these provisions do not preclude a provision of national law originally attributed to the film producer duties on copies for private use.

4. Article 5, paragraph 2, b) and Article 2 a) of Directive 2001/29 must be interpreted as precluding a provision of national law, granting the right the author of the film to a fair remuneration for half respectively to the author and the producer, with the result that the author gets only half of the equitable remuneration".
This blogger is unwilling to comment on the basis of an unofficial translation, but he gets the impression that the Advocate General is recommending a creator-friendly and flexible interpretation of the relevant provisions. He invites those who are more linguistically competent to tell us what the Opinion really means.

No comments: