Monthly Archives: January 2015

Comment on CJEU Ryan air Ltd v PR Aviation BV

CJEU’s interpretative work on copyright law issues has been inaugurated in 2015 with the decision of 15 January 2015 in the case Ryan air Ltd v PR Aviation BV (Case C‑30/14). The preliminary reference concerned a not particularly popular domain of the copyright law arsenal, the interpretation and the possible application of certain provisions of the Directive 96/9 on the legal protection of databases.
The Directive that has been strongly criticized by the doctrine and by digital rights advocates has proved to be in the 18 years of its existence an inexhaustible source of preliminary questions and subsequent CJEU’s decisions. In 2004 the Court had to answer whether and under which conditions the use of football fixtures lists infringes the database sui generis right (Judgments of the Court in Cases C-46/02, C-203/02, C-338/02 and C-444/02, The British Horseracing Board Ltd and Others v William Hill Organisation Ltd, Fixtures Marketing Ltd v Oy Veikkaus Ab, Fixtures Marketing Ltd v Svenska Spel AB, Fixtures Marketing Ltd v Organismos prognostikon agonon podosfairou (OPAP)). In 2008 the Court analyzed the application of the sui generis regime to a collection of poems created in a University (Directmedia Publishing GmbH v Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, C-304/07), while in 2009 the conditions of protection of a legal information database have been examined (Apis-Hristovich EOOD v Lakorda AD, Case C‑545/07). In 2012, in Football Dataco & others v. Yahoo UK ! & (Case C-604/10), the prerequisite of originality for the award of database copyright protection for sport information databases has been scrutinized. In the case Football Dataco-v-Sportradar (C-173/11) the Court ruled on the location of database sui generis right infringement via reutilisation of sports information by another database. More recently, in 2013 the Court had to rule on another obscure aspect of the database sui generis right and more specifically on the issue of the infringement of this right by dedicated search engines (Innoweb v Wegener , Case C-202/12). In all these cases, the Court was called to shed light (and substance) to the conceptual shell of fundamental notions of the Database Directive: definition of a database, substantial investment, substantial and insubstantial part of the contents of a database, extraction and reutilization of the database contents, originality. This intensive interpretative occupation of the Court with the legal protection of databases is understandable, since the novel concepts of the Database Directive’s two-tier regime have often been a source of deep mystification for national courts.

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