Thursday 29 July 2010

Communication questions: Romania asks the oracle

The Inalta Curte de Casatie si Justitie (Romania) has referred some copyright questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union for preliminary rulings in Case C-283/10 Circ & Variete Globus Bucureşti v Uniunea Compozitorilor şi Muzicologilor din România - Asociaţia pentru Drepturi de Autor - U.C.M.R. - A.D.A. -- yet another case that can't be located on the Curia website. This case regards communication of musical works to the public and collective management under Directive 2001/29 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society. The referring court asks:
"1. Is Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29 ... to be interpreted to the effect that 'communication to the public' means:

(a) exclusively communication to the public where the public is not present at the place where the communication originates, or
(b) also any other communication of a work which is carried out directly in a place open to the public using any means of public performance or direct presentation of the work?
In the event that point (a) represents the correct meaning, does that mean that the acts, referred to in point (b), by which works are communicated directly to the public do not fall within the scope of that directive or that they do not constitute communication of a work to the public, but rather the public performance of a work, within the meaning of Article 11(1)(i) of the Berne Convention?

2. In the event that point (b) represents the correct meaning, does Article 3(1) of the directive permit Member States to make statutory provision for the compulsory collective management of the right to communicate musical works to the public, irrespective of the means of communication used, even though that right can be and is managed individually by authors, no provision being made for authors to be able to exclude their works from collective management?"
The 1709 Blog received this information from the UK's Intellectual Property Office, which somewhat alarmingly gives us only till tomorrow, 30 July, to email our comments to the Office. Like NIPC's colleague Jane Lambert (who has posted a helpful note here), he's not sure exactly what the background to this is, though it seems that the parties are, respectively, a circus and a rights society. All further information is gratefully received.

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