Zohar Efroni's blog

The Humboldt Internet Law Clinic Launched

Anyone who has ever attended law school in the United States knows what legal clinics are about. In recent years, clinical work with students in law school settings has been gaining momentum worldwide. Law faculties in Europe, Southeast Asia, South America, Africa, India, Japan and Israel (to name a few) already incorporate clinical activities within the fabric of their more traditional curriculum. Some observers even speak of the emergence of a global movement. And yet, there is still a lot of work to be done. Even in Europe, some folks would assume that “legal clinics” are places where sick laws are being admitted to find cure to their maladies… In Germany, where I currently practice and teach, none of the few clinics around focuses on technology or Internet law.

The ECJ's Scarlet Decision: No Broad Filtering Duty for European ISPs

Per today's ruling, injunctions against European ISPs requiring them to apply filtering tools that monitor traffic to prevent copyright infringement officially violate EU law. The Scarlet decision puts a major stick in the wheel of wholesale copyright holders fighting against file sharing activities. With the expected implementation of the ACTA in mind, this ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will likely affect both prospective copyright legislation in Europe and offensive strategies of rights holders in their operations against intermediaries.

The End of Satellite Decoders for Sports Broadcasting in Europe?

Not quite, but the UK-based Football Association Premier League (FAPL) will not be celebrating the ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the subject from yesterday. Football Association Premier League Ltd et al. v. QC Leisure et al. bears the marks of a very significant milestone in the area of European copyright and broadcasting law. The decision tackles a number of key issues having a direct effect on the way sports associations generate revenues by selling broadcasting rights. Below is a summary of the main points concluded by a short observation.

Why German Privacy Officials Don’t Like Facebook’s “like” Button

Schleswig-Holstein is a small German state located at the very northern tip of the Federal Republic. It is home for enchanting cities such as Kiel and Lübeck, long coastlines overlooking the Baltic See to the east and the North See to the west. Other than scenic landscape, rich culture and a border with Denmark, Schleswig-Holstein also has a dynamic privacy commissioner. Dr. Thilo Weichert heads the ULD, which translates as the SH’s Independent Center for Privacy Protection. His administration published last week a press release (English version here) that has been attracting much attention since (e.g., here and here).

The Israeli Google Books Class Action

Last week, Google Books suffered another legal attack in the form of a class action, this time in Israel. I have been reading through the complaint and the class action motion this morning. Below my short description and initial assessment.

Who Said France Does Not Have Fair Use?

Valérie Laure Benabou, a law professor at the University of Versailles and an esteemed expert on French and international copyright law, kindly agreed to share her thoughts on the Google vs. SAIF case decided yesterday by the Paris Court of Appeals:

An important decision of the Paris Court of Appeal was rendered yesterday in a litigation between Google and a French Collective Society for Visual Works (SAIF). The Collective Society claimed that Google was infringing on the copyright of its authors members by reproducing and displaying their works in the form of thumbnails on the pages of Google Image service and also by reproducing their works through Google caching system. Before the Court of First Instance, the Judge considered the applicable law to be the U.S. Copyright Act, and consequently, the court applied the fair use defense in line with the Arriba and Perfect 10 decisions.

Access-Right over Open Access

The term open access is often used roughly to describe free circulation of academic and scholarly contributions over electronic media. The basic idea is to enhance speed and lower costs of access to new research and cutting-edge scholarship, as well as to improve collaboration between researches and allow them to benefit from the work and critique of their peers.

Data Protection Commissioner to go after Google Analytics

The tension between Google and data protection agencies intensified over the last two days. The Data Protection Commissioner in Hamburg is apparently unhappy with the changes Google has introduced to Google Analytics intending to square it with European data protection regulation. The problem seems to be that the "opting out" tool the new GA version offers cannot be applied with some Internet browsers such as Safari.
There will be surely more to come on this. Meanwhile, legal counsels begin to warn their German large-sites-based clients against possible sanctions for using GA.

The European Court of Justice Rules on Copyright Levies

I am a little late with this comment on the ECJ’s decision released two weeks ago that tackles issues of copyright levies in Europe. In a nutshell, the idea behind copyright levies is to compensate rights holders (via collection societies) for activities roughly described as “private copying” by imposing charges on media and equipment that enable such activities.

Data Protection and Free Speech in Germany

[I am happy to have Thorsten Feldmann as a guest blogger here. Thorsten is a well-known expert on German data protection law and a blogger in his own right.]

Privacy protection in the global information society is today, perhaps more than ever before, a hotly-debated topic in Germany. I had the opportunity last week at a conference held in Berlin to exercise my free speech right while speaking on my favorite topic these days: Data Protection v. Free Speech law.

Google's New Adwording Policy in Europe

As of yesterday, Google’s new policy concerning registration of trademarks as keywords for triggering contextual advertisement in many European countries went into effect. The new policy, which strongly relies on the recent ECJ decision on Google’s potential liability for TM infringement via its adwords practice, demonstrates a notable shift in Google’s approach.


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