Wed 16 May, 4.30pm: João Pedro Quintais (Amsterdam) – Global Online Copyright Infringement: Exploring Standards of Liability

As exam weeks and essay deadlines will be over soon, and summer is on its way (hopefully), we are wrapping up this semester with our next IP/IT/Media Law Discussion Group event. In this final session, Dr João Pedro Quintais (IViR, Amsterdam Law School) will be presenting his latest research on global online copyright infringement. The talk will take place on Wednesday 16 May at 4.30pm in Room 11.18, David Hume Tower. (Please note the change of the date/time from initially advertised.)

Global Online Copyright Infringement:
Exploring Standards of Liability

Is it possible to derive common standards of liability for online copyright infringement from diverse national legal systems? Can these provide a basis for uniform liability standards in international copyright law? The presentation explores these questions against the background of a multi-country study on online copyright infringement carried out between June 2017 and May 2018 (the ‘Study’). The Study examines the online use of protected music, films and TV series, books, and video games covered by an exclusive right (under copyright and related rights) but not authorized by the rights holders or otherwise permitted under the applicable law (e.g. by virtue of an exception or limitation). It covers the following legal systems: France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, UK, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Brazil, and Canada.

The Study aims to provide accurate information about the state of online copyright infringement in different countries. In this context, legal questionnaires were carried out for each country, focusing on quantitative and qualitative information describing the legal situation of online copyright infringement at national level, including the status of online use of works and enforcement by public authorities and rights holders. This information includes the analysis of law, case law and relevant scholarship, with a focus on the description and adjudication of the law.

The presentation builds on the Study’s findings to provide a comparative overview of the selected national legal systems within the context of the relevant international and regional legal frameworks. It addresses the legal status of different types of online use (e.g. downloading and hyperlinking) and the civil liability of users and intermediaries. The analysis is developed as a thinking exercise to identify and conceptualize common standards of liability for online copyright infringement.

Copyright law operates as a multi-level system comprising international, regional (mostly European, for our purposes), and national systems. International and EU copyright law are substantially harmonized through the imposition of minimum standards, thus determining the content of the domestic laws under scrutiny. Despite that, the diversity of the legal systems provides important insights. The selected systems represent four different continents (Europe, Asia, North and South America), different legal families (e.g. common law UK vs civil law France), different copyright traditions (German monism vs French droit d’auteur vs UK copyright), and different stages of market development for cultural and entertainment goods and services (e.g. a more developed Canada vs the emerging economies of Indonesia and Brazil). This diversity is useful for the identification of commonalities and differences in the interpretation of existing international treaties, as well as potential emerging standards or practices beyond (or absent) existing rules.

The presentation will briefly set out the baseline of the multi-level international framework in which the national legal systems are integrated. It will then provide a comparative overview of the relevant legal rules and their application in those systems. The focus is on the legal status of different types of online use (e.g. downloading, stream-ripping, and hyperlinking) and the liability of users and intermediaries. This will be followed by a discussion on standards of liability for online copyright infringement that emerge from the comparative analysis, advancing a modest two-tiered proposal for a minimum liability standard at international level.

As always, everyone is welcome and no registration is required. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session, then an informal reception where refreshments will be provided.

We look forward to seeing many of you then!