The author of two books about South Africa’s political transformation is suing the makers of the documentary Miracle Rising: South Africa, which aired on the History Channel, for over R2 million (approx £110,000) damages for allegedly adapting or reproducing from his work without his authorisation. Geoffrey Heald won the first round of his legal battle against Randburg production company Combined Artists CC when a North Gauteng High Court judge ruled that his claim would have to be tested by a trial court. Judge Bill Prinsloo dismissed Combined Artists’ exception that Heald’s claim did not reveal any cause of action against them.
Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf is back in the news - with reports that a version, annotated with notes, will be published in 2016 following a reversal of a decision by the state of Bavaria which owns the copyright in te book and initially funded the annotated version, to block any publications. The book itself will fall into the public domain in 2016. The Bavarian governor's chief of staff, Christine Haderthauer, had previously said that Hitler's anti-Semitic memoir amounted to incitement and the government would file a criminal complaint if anyone tried to publish the book. The state has now revised its ruling. “We have changed our minds,” said Ludwig Spaenle, the Bavarian Minister of Culture. He said Bavaria would not oppose the project because it was in the interests of “freedom of science” saying "the freedom of science to confront the topics which, in its view, are necessary is thereby not restricted". What would happen if the book was published in its original version in Germany remains unclear although the state stressed in a statement that it would seek to prevent any other full or partial publication of the 1924 book, written whilst Hitler was in prison.
Further to our update on possible criminal actions against 100 or more pubs in England and Wales who use foreign satellite services to show live Premiership football matches, the Telegraph reports that the Premier League is lobbying for an amendment to the Intellectual Property Act, currently making its way through the UK Parliament. FAPL has received backing from the record industry for an amendment to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 that currently allows many venues – such as pubs or gyms, that do not charge patrons to enter their premises – to show broadcasts of video recordings without a licence from the copyright holder. Commenting on the Section 72(1) defence under the CDPA ("The showing or playing in public of a broadcast to an audience who have not paid for admission to the place where the broadcast is to be seen or heard does not infringe any copyright..." for the recorded music sector David Harmsworth, PPL’s director of legal and business affairs, said: “It’s a very strange technological anomaly in the law that if music videos are broadcast rather than played from a system in the gym, then the gym doesn’t need a licence. Actually, the UK is in violation of European law on this. The discussions we’ve had with the Government on this suggest something will be done, although it may end up that the Intellectual Property Bill is not the vehicle.” See here for earlier comment on the IPKat on s72.
The Dutch High Court has overturned a lower court order forcing two internet service providers in the Netherlands - XS4ALL and Ziggo - to block their subscribers from accessing the ever controversial music file sharing site The Pirate Bay. Calling the blocks "ineffectual", the court stated that the blocks would "constitute an infringement of [people's] freedom to act at their discretion".Blocking orders have been upheld in the United Kingdom, France and Belgium and the AG's opinion UPC Telekabel Wien GmbH v Constantin Film Verleih GmbH und Wega Filmproduktionsgesellschaft GmbH (see Jeremy's blog here) was that Member States are to ensure that copyright holders or holders of related rights are able to apply for an injunction against intermediaries whose services are used by a third party to infringe their rights - and that specific blocking measure(s) imposed on a provider relating to a specific website are not, in principle, disproportionate.