13 August 2015

Wilmslow versus the Bahamas: Dawson-Damer and Others v Taylor Wessing and Others

Bahamas
Source Wikipedia
Reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence
















Probably because it implements an EU directive and costs small business owners money to support a bureaucracy in Wilmslow and is cited by petty officials as an excuse for all sorts of irritations the Data Protection Act 1998 is one of the least understood and most maligned and least appreciated Acts of Parliament on the statute book. It does have its used of course and I for one would keep but I suspect that I am in a minority. If Parliament were ever to repeal this legislation the population would breath a mighty and very audible sigh of relief.

In Dawson-Damer and Others v Taylor Wessing LLP and Others [2015] EWHC 2366 (Ch) (6 Aug 2015) the claimants in an action in the Bahamas over the administration of a trust sued solicitors who had advised the trustees of that trust in England for an order under s.7 (9) of the Data Protection Act 1998. The order that they sought would have required Taylor Wessing to deliver all data of which those claimants were the data subject (including data in which they were identified expressly or by inference) in the solicitors' possession custody or power.  Taylor Wessing resisted the claim on the ground that the data were exempt from the subject access provisions of the Act by reason of paragraph 10 of Schedule 7.  The action came on before His Honour Judge Behrens sitting as a judge of the Hight Court.

The relevant statutory provisions are as follows.  S. 7 (1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 provides inter alia:
"Subject to the following provisions of this section and to sections 8, 9 and 9A, an individual is entitled—
(a)  to be informed by any data controller whether personal data of which that individual is the data subject are being processed by or on behalf of that data controller,
(b)  if that is the case, to be given by the data controller a description of—
(i) the personal data of which that individual is the data subject,
(ii) the purposes for which they are being or are to be processed, and
(iii) the recipients or classes of recipients to whom they are or may be disclosed,
(c) to have communicated to him in an intelligible form—
(i) the information constituting any personal data of which that individual is the data subject, and
(ii) any information available to the data controller as to the source of those data ........"
Paragraph 10 of Schedule 7 provides:
"Personal data are exempt from the subject information provisions if the data consist of information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege or, in Scotland, to confidentiality of communications could be maintained in legal proceedings."
The court has a discretion under s.7 (9) to compel compliance with subject access requests under s.7 (1):
"If a court is satisfied on the application of any person who has made a request under the foregoing provisions of this section that the data controller in question has failed to comply with the request in contravention of those provisions, the court may order him to comply with the request."
The issues that the judge was asked to decide were the extent of the discretion and whether the paragraph 10 exemption extends to overseas proceedings or even to proceedings between trustee and beneficiary in the courts of England and Wales.

His Honour summarized the claimants' case at paragraph [6] of his judgment:
"Mr Swift QC on behalf of the Claimants accepts that the 1998 Act contains an exemption in respect of data in respect of which a claim for legal professional privilege could be made in legal proceedings. He contends that the exemption should be construed narrowly. It does not extend to the rules of equity in England and Wales under which trustees are not required to disclose trust documents to beneficiaries. Equally it does not extend to local Bahamian rules which apply to disclosure in respect of trust litigation in the Bahamian courts. He submits that as Ashley [the first named claimant] is a beneficiary under the Glenfinnan Settlement [the trust which was the subject of the litigation in the Bahamas] any privilege attaching to Grampian resulting from advice taken is a joint privilege with the result that Grampian cannot rely on the privilege against Ashley. Mr Swift QC invited me to take a narrow view of the discretion afforded to the Court in s 7(9) of the 1998 Act. In particular he drew my attention to the large number of exceptions in Part IV and Schedule 7 and of the power of the Secretary of State in s 38 to make further exceptions. He submitted that the Court should not, as a matter of principle, use its discretionary powers under s7(9) to make further exceptions. In general terms he submitted that if the data was not within one of the exemptions the Court should normally order its disclosure. He accepted that one of the motives for making the subject access requests may have been to obtain documents which might be of use in the Bahamian proceedings but he contended that the Claimants could also verify if the data was correct and, if necessary, take steps to have it corrected."
Judge Behrens  rejected all those contentions.

As to the whether the first (namely whether paragraph 10 of Sched 7 should be construed narrowly so as to exclude overseas proceedings) the judge referred to the Court of Appeal's decision n Durrant v Financial Services Authority [2003] EWCA 1746.  Lord Justice Auld said at paragraph [27] of his judgment in that appeal:
"In conformity with the 1981 Convention and the Directive, the purpose of section 7, in entitling an individual to have access to information in the form of his “personal data” is to enable him to check whether the data controller’s processing of it unlawfully infringes his privacy and, if so, to take such steps as the Act provides, for example in sections 10 to 14, to protect it. It is not an automatic key to any information, readily accessible or not, of matters in which he may be named or involved. Nor is to assist him, for example, to obtain discovery of documents that may assist him in litigation or complaints against third parties."
Relying on that passage His Honour concluded at at sub-paragraph (2) of paragraph [62] that the purpose of the legislation is "to protect the Claimants' right to privacy and accuracy of the information held" on him and that  it "is no part of its purpose to provide the Claimants with information or disclosure of documents which may assist them in litigation against Grampian whether in England or the Bahamas." He therefore held at paragraph [62] that "paragraph 10 of Schedule 7 should be interpreted purposively so as to include all the documents in respect of which Grampian would be entitled to resist compulsory disclosure in Bahamian proceedings."

As he had decided that the subject access request was exempted by paragraph 10 of Sched. 7 the exercise of his discretion did not arise but the judge added at paragraph [73] that he would have declined as a matter of discretion to order Taylor Wessing to comply with the subject access requests for the following reasons:
"1. In my view the real purpose of the subject access requests was to obtain information to be used in connection with the Bahamian proceedings. As Mr Taube QC said at the beginning of his oral submissions – "context is everything". These requests were made after MWE had written the letter of 18 February 2014 challenging the validity of the 2006 and 2009 appointments and TW had sent a detailed reply on 9 July 2014. It is, to my mind, of considerable significance that MWE stated in their letter of 4 August 2014 that they would reply to the letter of 9 July 2014 when they have received the documents. Furthermore there is no suggestion in any of the evidence filed on behalf of the Claimant that they wish to check the accuracy of the information held by TW and to have it corrected if it is inaccurate. In my view the Claimants would not have brought the application at all if it had not been for the purpose of assisting in the Bahamian proceedings which were being contemplated. As Auld LJ makes clear in paragraph 27 of Durant this is not a proper purpose.
2. In my view Mr Taube QC's arguments on the question of whether it is reasonable and proportionate to expect TW to carry out a search are just as valid on the question of the exercise of the discretion under s 7(9) of the 1998 Act. This is a case where the question of which documents are discoverable will have to be determined in the Bahamian proceedings according to Bahamian law. The extent to which disclosure will be ordered may depend (if Sir Michael is correct) on the allegations that Ashley makes in those proceedings. The parties in the Bahamian proceedings are the trustee and the beneficiary. It is plainly more desirable that the issue be determined between those parties rather than between TW and the beneficiary. It seems quite unnecessary that the matter should be determined by the English Court in addition to the Bahamian Court.
3. If and in so far as the exception in paragraph 10 of Schedule 7 is restricted to the English law of disclosure and if and in so far as the documents discoverable under English law are more extensive than those under Bahamian law it does not seem to me a proper use of the 1998 Act to enable the Claimants to obtain documents that they could not obtain in the Bahamian proceedings."
Although the judge gave the defendants permission to appeal I should be very surprised if the Court of Appeal overrules him. The purpose of the Act is to regulate "the processing of information relating to individuals, including the obtaining, holding, use or disclosure of such information" and it is not to introduce novel and far-reaching procedures which would undermine  our own and foreign judicial systems. The data protection legislation has received a very bad press lately particularly over the right to be forgotten (see Right to be forgotten: a Transatlantic Dialogue 1 Aug 2015). Had the case been decided differently the legislation would have been even further discredited. 

05 August 2015

Ukulele Wars: The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain v Clausen

Although Judge Hacon's decision in The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain v Clausen and Another [2015] EWHC 1772 (IPEC)  was reported as a "victory" in the Independent (The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain wins duel with German 'copycat' 3 July 2015) it was somewhat of the pyrrhic kind.  The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain sued The United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra for trade mark infringement, copyright infringement and passing off and applied to strike out the defence on the grounds of abuse of process less than two weeks before the trial. The claim succeeded on passing off but failed on all other counts. The claimants lost their Community trade mark and the judge saw no merit in the strike out application whatever.

The case is an interesting one because it considers what can be protected by intellectual property. The parties were very similar acts.  The claimants' was described as follows by Judge Hacon at paragraph [1] pf his judgmenrt:
"The Claimant ("UOGB") is a partnership of two individuals, George Hinchliffe and Marian Lux. In 1985 they founded and have since operated a group of musicians who play ukuleles and who collectively perform under the name 'The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain'. Over the years their gigs have developed a certain style, with the members wearing evening dress – black tie or gowns as the case may be – telling jokes and delivering mostly well known rock songs and film themes on their ukuleles. UOGB has enjoyed considerable success, particularly in this country and in Germany."
Here they are playing Wagner at the Proms:



And here are the defendants playing Bach:


They are a limited partnership under German law based in Germany but consisting of British players.

The claimants had registered THE UKULELE ORCHESTRA OF GREAT BRITAIN as a Community trade mark for
"Organisation, management, staging and provision of live events, concerts, musical performances, and theatre and stage productions; concert services, orchestra services, production of radio and television programmes; publication of electronic publications relating to music and musical instruments; entertainments services"
in class 41 as well as for various goods in classes 9, 15, 16, 18, 25 and 28.

The judge held that had that CTM registration been valid the defendants would have infringed it under art 9 (1) (b) and (c) of the Community trade mark regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 207/2009of 26 February 2009on the Community trade mark OJ 24.3.2009 L78/1).  After considering paragraphs [33] to [39] of Lord Justice Floyd's judgment in JW Spear & Sons Ltd & Ors v Zynga Inc [2015] FSR 19, [2015] EWCA Civ 290 Judge Hacon concluded at paragraph [57]:
"The CTM and the accused sign are visually and aurally similar to the extent that they both contain the words 'ukulele orchestra'. I think this is an instance in which conceptual similarity is likely to register strongly with the average consumer. In that regard mark and sign are extremely close. As was pointed out at trial, it is certainly true that 'Great Britain' and 'the United Kingdom' do not mean the same thing. But even in this country some pedants might hesitate before getting the difference right. I doubt that the distinction either means anything or matters at all to the vast majority of people elsewhere in the EU. The average consumer, in short, would regard mark and sign as having the same meaning."
Basing himself just on that and the other matters to be taken into account as directed by the above passage from Spear v Zynga he reached the view that there was a likelihood of confusion.

There was also some actual evidence of confusion. The judge observed at paragraph [68]:
"It is possible that if all these instances had been fully explored and tested in cross-examination, some would have fallen away as not being proof of relevant confusion. I was left with the impression that many would support UOGB's case on confusion. In my view, if the CTM had been valid, it would have been infringed by UKUO pursuant to art.9(1)(b)."
That same evidence was relied on in the action for passing off. Judge Hacon said at [92]:
"I am satisfied that the evidence adduced in support of the likelihood of confusion pursuant to art.9(1)(b) establishes that Yellow Promotion's use of the trade name 'The United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra' misrepresents to a substantial proportion of the public in this country who recognise 'The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain' as the trade name of a particular musical group, that UOGB and UKUO are the same group or are otherwise commercially connected. I am also satisfied that this has caused damage to UOGB's goodwill, particularly by way of loss of control over UOGB's reputation as performers."
That was the one bit of the case upon which the claimants succeeded.

As for the remainder of the case the judge threw out the trade mark infringement claim and invalidated the CTM registration on the ground that it was descriptive within the meaning of art 7 (1) (c). The copyright claim failed on the basis that no copyright could subsists in the claimants' act though it might subsist in recordings of one or more of their performances. The strike out application was based on an inference that the defendants had doctored evidence and that a fair trial was not possible. The judge disagreed.

The judge was right to decide this case as did. This was an attempt to suppress a lookalike or to put it another way to monopolize an entertainment style. That would have had very profound and deleterious effects on the performing arts had it succeeded. It would have outlawed not just tribute bands but many legitimate artists who may be influenced by an earlier work and create something new in the same style without copying it.

Should anyone wish to discuss this case with me he or she should call me on 020 7404 5252 during office houses or send a message through my contact form.

01 August 2015

Right to be forgotten: a Transatlantic Dialogue

Cathy Gellis
Jane Lambert














On 12 June 2014 La Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL). the French data protection authority, issued a notice requiring Google to apply de-listing from all platforms of its search engine such as Google Sierra Leone and Google Mongolia and not just those like Google UK, Google France and Google Deutschland that are marketed to residents of EU member states. In his post Implementing a European, not global, right to be forgotten 30 July 2915 Google's privacy counsel Peter Flecischer stated that Google had refused to implement that notice and had asked the CNIL to withdraw it.

It is possible that the CNIL will change its mind and do so but it is more likely that it won't.  In that case the President of the Commission could nominate a Rapporteur and ask him or her to draft a report recommending sanctions to be imposed on Google for such non-compliance. Google could of course challenge the CNIL's decision in the Conseil d'État. As the obligation that the CNIL purports to enforce arises under EU law  the Conseil d'État will be urged to seek a preliminary ruling under art 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ("TFEU") from the Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU") on the nature and extent of the so-called right to be forgotten.

I say "so-called" because you will struggle if you look for the right to be forgotten in the Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data OJ L 281 , 23/11/1995 pages 31 - 50) or member states' implementing legislation. The phrase "right to be forgotten" may not have been coined by the CJEU in C‑131/12 Google Spain SL and Another v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD) ex parte Costeja 36 BHRC 589, [2014] 3 CMLR 50, [2014] EMLR 27, EU:C:2014:317, ECLI:EU:C:2014:317, [2014] All ER (EC) 717, [2014] 3 WLR 659, [2014] ECDR 16, [2014] 2 All ER (Comm) 301, [2014] EUECJ C-131/12, [2014] 1 QB 1022, [2014] QB 1022 bur it entered everyday speech after that judgment.

The Costeja case was a reference for a preliminary ruling under art 267 TFEU from the Audencia Nacional in Spain. It was made in an application by Google Spain and its US parent company to quash an order of the AEPD, the Spanish data protection authority. The AEPD required Google to withhold from its search results URLs to advertisements that had appeared in a Spanish newspaper many years ago of an auction of Mr Costeja's property that had been seized and sold to pay his social security arrears. Mr Costeja had complained to the AEPD that the advertisements came up on every search of his name. He had rebuilt his life since then and those advertisements were a constant embarrassment.  He asked the AEPD to order the newspaper to remove the advertisements and Google to stop including them in its search results.  The AEPD rejected his request in respect of the newspaper since the advertisements had been ordered by the Spanish Ministry of Labour but upheld it against Google.

In the Audencia Nacional the Google companies had argued that Spanish data protection law did not apply to search engines. They argued that search engines were not "data controllers", that they did not process personal data and that in any case they were not within the Spanish courts' jurisdiction. As the Spanish legislation purported to implement the Data Protection Directive the Audencia Nacional referred those questions to the CJEU. The actual questions and reply are lengthy but paragraph [1] of the CJEU's judgment summarizes them conveniently:
"This request for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Article 2(b) and (d), Article 4(1)(a) and (c), Article 12(b) and sub-paragraph (a) of the first paragraph of Article 14 of Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (OJ 1995 L 281, p. 31) and of Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’)."
The CJEU recognized at paragraph [19] that it had to apply a 1995 directive to technologies that had emerged after the adoption of that legislation.

Essentially, the CJEU held that Google (and no doubt all other search engines including Yahoo and Bing) were data controllers and that they processed personal data. It followed that Spanish data protection law applied to their activities and that they had to comply with its data quality and subject access provisions just like everybody else. One consequence of the CJEU's decision was that Google and other search engine operators were subject to enforcement notices from national data protection authorities. Also, they could be sued by data subjects in national courts for any loss or damage that might arise from breaches of their obligations under those laws.

Google responded to that judgment by establishing procedures for handling requests for search result removals. It prepared a simple form and FAQ for such requests. As of 31 July 2015 Google had received 291,243 removal requests and considered nearly 1,6 million URLs since Costeja. It had removed 41.3% of those URLs and had rejected removal requests in respect of 58.7%. Its Transparency Report gives examples of requests that it has accepted and others that have been rejected. Those whose requests are rejected are, of course, free to complain to their national data protection authority or bring proceedings in their national courts. It is not known how many have done so. Bing and Yahoo have established similar procedures. Bing's request form is here and Yahoo's is here.

Although Mr Fleischer characterized the right to be forgotten as a European right and not a global one, similar rights seem to exist elsewhere. In Melvin v Reid and Others 112 Cal.App. 285 (Cal. Ct. App. 1931), for example, the California Court of Appeal allowed a claim against a film maker who had exposed the claimant's early life as a prostitute on the ground that the film had invaded her privacy. It seems to me that the issues in that case as well as the outcome were very similar to those in Costeja.

Should anyone wish to discuss this article with me, the right to be forgotten or data protection generally, he or she should call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours and send a message through my contact form.

Post Script

As I wrote this post at the suggestion of Cathy Gellis who practises IP and internet law in California I drew it to her attention by twitter to which she kindly replied:
Helpfully, she also made the following observations:
@nipclaw or let me rephrase: the right to privacy may remain, but not such that deletion would be a recognized remedy.
Adding in her next tweet
@nipclaw especially not by a party not connected to the act that invaded the privacy. Section 230 would also preclude.
I am sure Cathy is right but nobody even in Europe argues that excluding URLs from a search report is the only or even in many cases the appropriate remedy.

I replied:
@CathyGellis I think Melvin was an action for damages rather than an injunction. The point is that the cause of action appears to subsist.
I added:
CathyGellis The cause of action in Melvin seems to be invasion of privacy which is essentially what data protection is all about.
And concluded
@CathyGellis my point is that the right to be forgotten (subject access and data quality) exists well beyond the shores of the EU states.
We shall have to see how this area of the law develops on both sides of the Atlantic but one thing of which I am very sure is that Americans don't take injustice and invasion of privacy lying down. Had Mr Costeja lived in San Francisco rather than Spain I suspect he would have consulted Cathy or some other US lawyer and asked whether there was anything to be done about the embarrassing search records. Knowing Cathy as I do, it is more than likely that she would have found a way to help him.

Further Reading

Farhad Manjoo  ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Online Could Spread 5 Aug 2015 NYT

31 July 2015

Copyright in Commissioned Works: Atelier Eighty Two Ltd v Kilnworx Climbing Centre CIC and Others
















A question that I am often asked at pro bono IP clinics as well as in my practice is who owns the copyright in a commissioned work when the graphic or web designer or software house fall out with their customer. The basic principles were set out by Mr Justice Lightman in Robin Ray v. Classic FM Plc [1998] ECC 488, [1998] EWHC Patents 333, [1998] FSR 622, (1998) 21(5) IPD 21047, [1999] ITCLR 256 and amplified and clarified by the Court of Appeal in R Griggs Group Ltd and Others v Evans and Others [2005] EWCA Civ 11. The issue arose again in Atelier Eighty Two Ltd v Kilnworx Climbing Centre CIC and Others [2015] EWHC 2291 (IPEC).

In Atelier a graphic designer called Rik Kirk made the logos shown above in August 2011. At that time he was an executive director of the design company Purple Penguin Design Ltd. of Timperley near Altrincham. He was asked to create those logos by one Lionel Bunting who was then a director of both the claimant Atelier Eighty two Limited and the defendant Kilnworx Climbing Centre CIC. Kilnworx was never able to pay Purple Penguin's invoices. These were paid instead by Ateler which also claimed to have paid many other expenses. The parties fell out in 2012. By an assignment dated 23 Aug 2013 Purple Penguin purported to assign whatever copyrights it held in the logos to Atelier. Atelier asked Kilnworx not to use the logos. When it continued to do so Atelier sued Kilnworx and two of its directors for copyright infringement.

The defendants argued that Kilnworx was and always had been the beneficial owner of the copyright or at the very least the exclusive licensee.

In Ray Mr Justice Lightman said at page 640:
The general principles governing the respective rights of the contractor and client in the copyright in a work commissioned by the client appear to me to be as follows:
(1) the contractor is entitled to retain the copyright in default of some express or implied term to the contrary effect;
(2) the contract itself may expressly provide as to who shall be entitled to the copyright in work produced pursuant to the contract. Thus under a standard form Royal Institute of British Architects ('RIBA') contract between an architect and his client, there is an express provision that the copyright shall remain vested in the architect;
(3) the mere fact that the contractor has been commissioned is insufficient to entitle the client to the copyright. Where Parliament intended the act of commissioning alone to vest copyright in the client e.g. in case of unregistered design rights and registered designs, the legislation expressly so provides (see section 215 of the 1988 Act and section 2(1A) of the Registered Designs Act 1949 as amended by the 1988 Act). In all other cases the client has to establish the entitlement under some express or implied term of the contract;
(4) the law governing the implication of terms in a contract has been firmly established (if not earlier) by the decision of the House of Lords in Liverpool City Council v. Irwin [1977] AC 239 ('Liverpool'). In the words of Lord Bingham MR in Philips Electronique v British Sky Broadcasting [1995] EMLR 472 ('Philips') at 481, the essence of much learning on implied terms is distilled in the speech of Lord Simon of Glaisdale on behalf of the majority of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in BP Refinery (Westernport) Pty Ltd v. The President,Councillors and Ratepayers of the Shire of Hastings (1978) 52 ALJR 20 at 26:
'Their Lordships do not think it necessary to review exhaustively the authorities on the implication of a term in a contract which the parties have not thought fit to express. In their view, for a term to be implied, the following conditions (which may overlap) must be satisfied:
(1) it must be reasonable and equitable;
(2) it must be necessary to give business efficacy to the contract, so that no term will be implied if the contract is effective without it;
(3) it must be so obvious that "it goes without saying";
(4) it must be capable of clear expression;
(5) it must not contradict any express term of the contract.'
Lord Bingham added an explanation and warning:
'The courts' usual role in contractual interpretation is, by resolving ambiguities or reconciling apparent inconsistencies, to attribute the true meaning to the language in which the parties themselves have expressed their contract. The implication of contract terms involves a different and altogether more ambitious undertaking: the interpolation of terms to deal with matters for which, ex hypothesi, the parties themselves have made no provision. It is because the implication of terms is so potentially intrusive that the law imposes strict constraints on the exercise of this extraordinary power. … The question of whether a term should be implied, and if so what, almost inevitably arises after a crisis has been reached in the performance of the contract. So the court comes to the task of implication with the benefit of hindsight, and it is tempting for the court then to fashion a term which will reflect the merits of the situation as they then appear. Tempting, but wrong.'
(5) where (as in the present case) it is necessary to imply the grant of some right to fill a lacuna in the contract and the question arises how this lacuna is to be filled, guidance is again to be found in Liverpool. The principle is clearly stated that in deciding which of various alternatives should constitute the contents of the term to be implied, the choice must be that which does not exceed what is necessary in the circumstances (see Lord Wilberforce at 245 F–G). In short a minimalist approach is called for. An implication may only be made if this is necessary, and then only of what is necessary and no more;
(6) accordingly if it is necessary to imply some grant of rights in respect of a copyright work, and the need could be satisfied by the grant of a licence or an assignment of the copyright, the implication will be of the grant of a licence only;
(7) circumstances may exist when the necessity for an assignment of copyright may be established. As Mr Howe has submitted, these circumstances are, however, only likely to arise if the client needs in addition to the right to use the copyright works the right to exclude the contractor from using the work and the ability to enforce the copyright against third parties. Examples of when this situation may arise include:
(a) where the purpose in commissioning the work is for the client to multiply and sell copies on the market for which the work was created free from the sale of copies in competition with the client by the contractor or third parties;
(b) where the contractor creates a work which is derivative from a pre-existing work of the client, e.g. when a draughtsman is engaged to turn designs of an article in sketch form by the client into formal manufacturing drawings, and the draughtsman could not use the drawings himself without infringing the underlying rights of the client;
(c) where the contractor is engaged as part of a team with employees of the client to produce a composite or joint work and he is unable, or cannot have been intended to be able, to exploit for his own benefit the joint work or indeed any distinct contribution of his own created in the course of his engagement: see Nichols Advanced Vehicle Systems Inc v. Rees [1979] RPC 127 at 139 and consider Sofia Bogrich v. Shape Machines unreported, 4th November 1994, Pat Ct and in particular page 15 of the transcript of the judgment of Aldous J.
In each case it is necessary to consider the price paid, the impact on the Contractor of assignment of copyright and whether it can sensibly have been intended that the contractor should retain any copyright as a separate item of property;
(8) if necessity requires only the grant of a licence, the ambit of the licence must be the minimum which is required to secure to the client the entitlement which the parties to the contract must have intended to confer upon him. The amount of the purchase price which the client under the contract has obliged himself to pay may be relevant to the ambit of the licence. Thus in Stovin-Bradford v. Volpoint Properties Ltd [1971] 1 Ch 1007, where the client agreed to pay only a nominal fee to his architect for the preparation of plans, he was held to have a licence to use the plans for no purpose beyond the anticipated application for planning permission. By contrast in Blair v. Osborne & Tompkins [1971] 21 QB 78 , where the client was charged the full RIBA scale fee, his licence was held to extend to using the plans for the building itself. Guidance as to the approach to be adopted is provided in a passage in the judgment of Jacobs J. in Beck v. Montana Construction Pty [1964–5] NSWR 229 at 235 cited with approval by Widgery LJ in Blair v. Osborne & Tompkins supra at p.87:
'it seems to me that the principle involved is this; that the engagement for reward of a person to produce material of a nature which is capable of being the subject of copyright implies a permission, or consent, or licence in the person giving the engagement to use the material in the manner and for the purpose in which and for which it was contemplated between the parties that it would be used at the time of the engagement.'
(9) the licence accordingly is to be limited to what is in the joint contemplation of the parties at the date of the contract, and does not extend to enable the client to take advantage of a new unexpected profitable opportunity (consider Meikle v. Maufe [1941] 3 All ER 144 )."
Those principles were applied by the Court of Appeal in Griggs  which also concerned a customer's beneficial interest in a logo that had been designed for it, Lord Justice Jacob added at paragraph [16]:
"[16] So in the end, Mr Hobbs did not really challenge Lightman J.'s statement of the law which the deputy judge went on to apply. Mr Hobbs went on, however, to challenge that application. The deputy judge said this:
'36. It seems to me that when a free-lance designer is commissioned to create a logo for a client, the designer will have an uphill task if he wishes to contend that he is free to assign the copyright to a competitor. This is because, in order to give business efficacy to the contract, it will rarely be enough to imply a term that the client shall enjoy a mere licence to use the logo, and nothing more. In most cases it will be obvious, it will 'go without saying', that the client will need further rights. He will surely need some right to prevent others from reproducing the logo.
37. Indeed it seems to me that, in the ordinary way, a logo is a paradigm case falling within principle (7) in Lightman J's formulation.'
[17] Mr Hobbs initially characterised this as 'adopting a skewed approach' in favour of the commissioner. But as the argument developed, I think he in effect resiled from this. For he accepted that if Mr Evans' brief had simply been to combine two logos so as to produce a composite logo for the client, business efficacy would indeed require that all rights in the work should belong to the client.
[18] What, submitted Mr Hobbs, made all the difference in this case is that Mr Evans did not know that what he was being asked to produce was just a logo trade mark for the client – a mark which the client would be free to use all over the world actually on the boots as well as on point of sale material and elsewhere. All Mr Evans was told, and thought he was producing, was material for UK point of sale. That being so, runs the argument, all the client needed was a licence (possibly exclusive) for that purpose. A minimalist approach (see Lightman J.'s para.[6]) to the admittedly necessary implied term gives no more than that. It follows that there was no implied term as to title to copyright at all, and only a limited licence. Apart from that Mr Evans retained all the rights.
[19] I find that conclusion fantastic. If an officious bystander had asked at the time of contract whether Mr Evans was going to retain rights in the combined logo which could be used against the client by Mr Evans (or anyone to whom he sold the rights) anywhere in the world, other than in respect of point of sale material in the UK, the answer would surely have been 'of course not.' Mr Evans had no conceivable further interest in the work being created – indeed he surely would never have had the job at all if there had been a debate about this and he had asserted that that was to be the basis of his work.
[20] Moreover the deputy judge's conclusion of fact at para.[47] (quoted at [11] above) is conclusive. He found that the reference to 'UK point of sale' material was only for identification of the work to be done. In other words it was not there to describe or limit the rights in the work.
[21] I should add that the judge's conclusion that Mr Evans was paid the proper rate for the work (and his rejection of the contention that he would have charged more if he had known about intended wider use) disposes of any possible argument based on the notion that Mr Evans needed to retain the copyright so that he could call for payment for such further use. Further use does indeed often cause problems as between an author and his commissioner and it is always better if payment for this is spelt out in the contract. A right to further payment for unforeseen or undisclosed further use may in some cases be implied. In others the author may indeed retain copyright and actually be able to prevent further use. All depends on the circumstances. In the present case, however, there is simply no such problem."
Judge Hacon found for the defendants. He set out his reasoning at paragraph [29] of his judgment:
"[29] In my judgment, in August 2011 Kilnworx through Mr Bunting and Purple Penguin through Mr Kirk entered into an agreement for the creation of the Logos as described above. There was an implied term in the contract. It was a term of the usual nature to be implied into a contract for the creation of a logo, namely that Kilnworx would own the copyrights in the Logos. Purple Penguin, as Mr Kirk's employer, was the owner of the legal interest in the copyrights at the time the Logos were created. It held such copyrights on trust for Kilnworx. By the written agreement dated 23 August 2013 between Purple Penguin and Atelier the legal interest was assigned to Atelier.
[30] Atelier was not a purchaser of the copyrights for value without notice of Kilnworx's claim to the copyrights. In other words and in a further parallel with Griggs, Atelier is not a darling of equity (see Griggs at [7]). Therefore Atelier took the legal interest in the copyrights subject to Kilnworx's equitable interest.
[31] I think the reality is that Atelier's current claim to the unencumbered ownership of the copyrights in the Logos is borne of the unfortunate and bad tempered split between the individuals who thought up the Kilnworx project and a wish on the part of Mr Bunting to hold Kilnworx and its remaining directors over a copyright barrel in order to recover some of what he believes to be the £45,000 or so owed to him. There is nothing intrinsically wrong in that, but the barrel has to be there. In my view it is not."
It followed that Kilnworx was beneficially entitled to the copyrights and that the action for infringement failed.

It is important to remember that each case revolves in its own facts and while it may not be easy to argue that the author of a commissioned work is free to do with the work whatever he wishes there may be circumstances where that was the manifest intention of the parties. Mr Justice Lightman referred to the RIBA contract and that is as it should be since it is the architect and not the client who has an interest in preventing unauthorized reproduction of his designs. That is because it is the architect and not the client who suffers loss - namelyt a second commission and chance to earn another fee - when his design is pirated. In the case of a logo the parties' interests are reversed, It is the client and not the author who will use the logo as a trade mark or seek damages for loss of sales if the mark is infringed.

Although a short case it is an interesting one. I have already referred to it in one skeleton argument and I expect my reference to be the last. As the case comes from the Potteries and as I know well both the counsel for the claimant and his instructing solicitors and the trade mark attorney for the defendants I read the judgment with considerable personal interest. I have no doubt that it would have been hard fought and well argued on both sides. Should anyone wish to discuss this case or copyright in general he or she should not hesitate to call me on 020 7404 5252 or fill in my contact form.

29 July 2015

The BASCA Aftermath

Jane Lambert















In Judicial Review of the Copyright Exceptions: British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and Others v Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills 20 July 2015 I discussed the order by Mr Justice Green to quash The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Personal Copies forPrivate Use) Regulations 2014 SI 2014 No 2361 in  British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors Musicians' Union and others, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Another (No 2) [2015] EWHC 2041 (Admin) (17 July 2015). A statement by the Intellectual Property Office on 20 July 2015 announced that HMG was considering the implications of the judgments and the available options.

In the penultimate paragraph of my case note I wrote:
"As Hargreaves has recommended that intellectual property policy should be evidence based it may be that applications of this kind will become more common in future. Having said that, the legislation that gave rise to this application was unusual in that it allowed member states a discretion as to whether to introduce the exemption at all but gave no guidance as to the nature or amount of, or the triggering factor for, the award of compensation."
Three days later Lady Neville-Rolfe, the minister with responsibility for intellectual proof revoked The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (Commencement No. 8 and Saving Provisions) Order 2015 SI 2015 No 641 which would have implemented primary legislation repealing s,52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to take account of the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Case C168/09 Flos SpA v Semeraro Casa e Famiglia SpA [2011] ECDR 8, [2011] RPC 10, [2011] EUECJ C-168/09 (see Flos putting us all through the Mill 17 Oct 2014). The statutory instrument revoking that commencement order was The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (Commencement No. 8 and Saving Provisions) (Revocation) Order 2015 SI 2015 No 1558.

In a statement announcing the revocation order the government explained that it had received an application for judicial review following the making of that order. It added:
"Having considered the matter carefully, the Government has revoked the Commencement Order and will not continue with the current transitional arrangements."
The government will have to implement s.74 (2) of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013  now that it has been passed and it will have to make sure that the implementing provisions comply with the decision in FLOS. It has therefore indicted that it will launch a fresh consultation on revised transitional arrangements, including the date for implementing the repeal. I will let you know when that consultation is announced.

So the BACSA case has opened up a whole new area of IP law and it is one in which our chambers can claim specialist expertise. Should anyone wish to discuss this topic with me call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or use my message form.

20 July 2015

Judicial Review of the Copyright Exceptions: British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and Others v Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills


























Jane Lambert

On 16 July 2015 my heads of chambers, Tim Straker QC and Robert Griffiths QC together with my colleagues, Richard Clayton QC, Charles Morgan, Christopher Forsyth and Lee Parkhill presented our chambers annual judicial review conference. By all accounts it was a great success.

Ending rhe Personal Copy for Private Use Exception
"But what has that to do with intellectual property?" I hear you say. More than you might suppose for on the day after the conference Mr Justice Green quashed The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Personal Copies for Private Use) Regulations 2014 SI 2014 No. 2361 which had inserted a new s.28B into The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (see British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and Others v Secretary of State for Business etc  (No. 2) [2015] EWHC 2041 (Admin) 17 July 2015). The section inserted by those regulations had created the following exception to copyright:
"28B Personal copies for private use
(1) The making of a copy of a work, other than a computer program, by an individual does not infringe copyright in the work provided that the copy—
(a) is a copy of—
(i) the individual’s own copy of the work, or
(ii) a personal copy of the work made by the individual, 
(b) is made for the individual’s private use, and
(c) is made for ends which are neither directly nor indirectly commercial. 
(2) In this section “the individual’s own copy” is a copy which—
(a) has been lawfully acquired by the individual on a permanent basis,
(b) is not an infringing copy, and
(c) has not been made under any provision of this Chapter which permits the making of a copy without infringing copyright. 
(3) In this section a “personal copy” means a copy made under this section.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (2)(a), a copy “lawfully acquired on a permanent basis”—
(a) includes a copy which has been purchased, obtained by way of a gift, or acquired by means of a download resulting from a purchase or a gift (other than a download of a kind mentioned in paragraph (b)); and
(b) does not include a copy which has been borrowed, rented, broadcast or streamed, or a copy which has been obtained by means of a download enabling no more than temporary access to the copy. 
(5) In subsection (1)(b) “private use” includes private use facilitated by the making of a copy—
(a) as a back up copy,
(b) for the purposes of format-shifting, or
(c) for the purposes of storage, including in an electronic storage area accessed by means of the internet or similar means which is accessible only by the individual (and the person responsible for the storage area). 
(6) Copyright in a work is infringed if an individual transfers a personal copy of the work to another person (otherwise than on a private and temporary basis), except where the transfer is authorised by the copyright owner.
(7) If copyright is infringed as set out in subsection (6), a personal copy which has been transferred is for all purposes subsequently treated as an infringing copy.
(8) Copyright in a work is also infringed if an individual, having made a personal copy of the work, transfers the individual’s own copy of the work to another person (otherwise than on a private and temporary basis) and, after that transfer and without the licence of the copyright owner, retains any personal copy.
(9) If copyright is infringed as set out in subsection (8), any retained personal copy is for all purposes subsequently treated as an infringing copy.
(10) To the extent that a term of a contract purports to prevent or restrict the making of a copy which, by virtue of this section, would not infringe copyright, that term is unenforceable.”
His lordship's order has the effect of repealing the section with prospective effect.

The Directive
The application arose out of the Secretary of State's decision to extend the exemptions to the reproduction right that had been allowed by art 5 (2) of the Directive on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (Directive 2001/29/EC).

The purpose of the Directive had been to harmonization of the implementation of the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Phonograms and Performances Treaty throughout the EU. The Directive required member states to confer reproduction, communication and distribution rights on authors and performers in so far as those rights did not already subsist in the laws of those member states. "Reproduction right" was defined by art 2 as "the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit direct or indirect, temporary or permanent reproduction by any means and in any form, in whole or in part." The Directive was implemented in the UK by The Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003 SI 2003 No 2498 which amended the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Art 5 of the Directive provided for a number of exceptions and limitations to those rights some of which has to be implemented in full and others of which were discretionary. Art 5 (2) permitted member states to provide exceptions to reproduction right in a number of cases one of which was allowed by sub-paragraph (b):
"in respect of reproductions on any medium made by a natural person for private use and for ends that are neither directly nor indirectly commercial, on condition that the right holders receive fair compensation which takes account of the application or non-application of technological measures referred to in Article 6 to the work or subject matter concerned."
The government of the day decided not to implement this exception because it required compensation to be paid to right holders. Instead, reg 8 inserted a much narrower exemption into the Act that allowed temporary copies.

Hargreaves
In his report Digital Opportunity A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth Prof. Ian Hargreaves had recommended that "copying should be lawful where it is for private purposes, or does not damage the underlying aims of copyright"  He added:
"The UK has chosen not to exercise all of its rights under EU law to permit individuals to shift the format of a piece of music or video for personal use and to make use of copyright material in parody. Nor does the UK allow its great libraries to archive all digital copyright material, with the result that much of it is rotting away. Taking advantage of these EU sanctioned exceptions will bring important cultural as well as economic benefits to the UK. Together, they will help to make copyright law better understood and more acceptable to the public. In addition, there should be a change in rules to enable scientific and other researchers to use modern text and data mining techniques, which copyright prohibits."
The Secretary of State for Business accepted all Hargreaves's recommendations including implementing art 5 (2) (b) and began a consultation process on how best to do it.

The Challenge
Following the consultation the Business Secretary drew up the 2014 regulations that purposed to implement art 5 (2) (b) but provided no compensation for right holders. The Business Secretary justified the government's decision stance on the ground that
"it intended only to create an exception which either caused no (zero) harm to right holders or de minimis harm and this meant that the exception would be strictly limited to private own, non-commercial, use by legitimate bona fide purchasers of content."
The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors Limited, Musicians Union and UK Music Ltd  challenged that view and applied to set aside the regulations. There was also an intervention from the Incorporated Society of Musicians. The action came on before Mr Justice Green in British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and Others v Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills (No 1) [2015] EWHC 1723 (Admin), [2015] WLR(D) 268.

The Issue
The issue that Mr Justice Green had to decide was:
"Would the introduction of a limited private use exception cause no more than minimal or zero harm?"
The government based its contention that there would be zero or minimal harm on  the following premises which are summarized in  paragraphs [12] and [13] of his lordship's judgment:
"[12] The first premise was that the only relevant "harm" that would, in principle, need to be compensated for was the risk to right holders of lost, duplicate sales i.e. the only harm for which compensation would be due were the sales that were lost as a consequence of legitimising what were hitherto unlawful acts. As to this the Secretary of State concluded that whilst consumers considered that they should be entitled to copy content they had acquired they were not, to any material degree, prepared to go out and purchase duplicate copies in order to be able to achieve multiple use. In other words there was no automatic correlation between the desire to copy and lost sales; if the former was constrained the latter would not necessarily occur. And as such if a limited exception to copyright was introduced this would not impact upon duplicate sales.
[13] The second premise was that either fully, or very substantially, sellers of content had already priced-in to the initial sale price the fact that consumers treated content that they purchased as fair game when it came to copying for personal use; in other words when a purchaser acquired content the seller had already factored into the price an assumption that the consumer would in fact copy that work even if it was, in law, unlawful so to do. This has become known as the 'pricing-in' principle."
In the consultation the Intellectual Property Office (which had carried out the process on behalf of the government) had asked for evidence to prove or disprove those premises and it also instructed consultants who carried out research into the music, film and book trades.

Was there evidence of harm beyond the de minimis level?
After referring to the Directive, the evidence before Hargreaves, the consultation and the evidence that was considered by the IPO and the Department for Business the judge concluded at paragraph [140] that "this case boils down to the narrow question: Whether on the facts there is evidence of harm beyond the de minimis level for which no compensation mechanism has been provided?" 

Review Process
In order to determine this issue, his lordship decided at paragraph [148] to review, carefully and thoroughly, the evidence relied upon by the Business Secretary to justify the decision to introduce section 28B. He made clear he was not conducting that exercise to see, for instance, whether he agreed with the conclusion arrived at by the experts who advised the government. Rather he was concerned with "the process of evidence collection; its fairness and thoroughness; any acknowledgements as to its inherent limitations; and the inferences drawn from the evidence by the [government] which ultimately led to the decision in issue."

Between paragraphs [237] and [244] the judge set out the principles that a court should apply in determining whether the decision making process was fair and thorough:
"[237] There are, in my view, 7 points to make about the evidence in this case which bear upon the outcome.
[238] First, the court must examine the inferences drawn in the light of the relevant legal issue. In the present case the legal issue is whether pricing-in will lead to "minimal or zero" harm since if it does not then, in law, a compensation scheme must in law be introduced. The legal issue guides the exercise: The evidence accepted by the Secretary of State must be sufficient to enable a reasonable inference to be drawn from it that this de minimis threshold has been met.
[239] Second, a court will examine the evidence to see if there are, logically, gaps in it. Such might well be the conclusion if experts selected by the Government to collect and analyse evidence themselves identify questions and queries and matters requiring further investigation which are not then followed up or which are ignored; or if consultees identify issues which the decision maker accepts are relevant but which for no identified reason are not followed up.
[240] Third, a court will, even in relation to a narrow question such as whether the evidence established a de minimis threshold, accord to the decision maker an appropriate margin of discretion. So, if the evidence had suggested that (say) 93% of harm was obviated by pricing-in then the court might well conclude that it had no remit to quibble as to whether 95% or 97% should be treated as the relevant de minimis threshold. But the conclusion might be very different if the evidence either fails to address what is to be understood by de minimis at all or suggests an answer that (say) between 40-50% of right holders would be deprived of compensation if the exception were introduced. In short the court will look to see if the inferences drawn are within the range of reasonable and rational inferences which are capable of being drawn from that evidence.
[241] Fourth, the court must recognise that relevant evidence may be qualitative and/or quantitative. Experience shows that, even in areas of technical or economic complexity, decisions may, of necessity, be properly taken upon the basis of a mix of quantitative and qualitative evidence. Indeed, a decision maker might well adopt a particular proposition because it is simply intuitive economic common sense: See Sinclair Collis (ibid) at paragraphs [237], [238] and [242], and, Gibraltar Betting & Gaming (ibid) at paragraphs [110], [119], [120], [163] – [168].
[242] Fifthly, when appraising the reasons in the decision based upon the evidence a court should not construe the decision as if it were a statute. The Court is concerned not to pick holes in infelicitous or badly chosen language but, rather, with seeking to understand and review the true substance of the reasoning. The courts have adopted this approach in relation to reports of the Competition Commission (Tesco Plc v Competition Commission [2009] CAT6 at paragraph [79] ("Tesco")); and officers' reports in the context of planning (e.g. South Somerset District Council v Secretary of State for Environment [1993] 1 PLR 80 per Lord Justice Hoffmann at page 83). In the present case, the critical and final reasoning is found in the Updated Impact Assessment of March 2014. Evidence before the Court demonstrates how that reasoning evolved over time. The task is to focus upon pith and substance and to avoid the temptation to pick holes in loose language.
[243] Sixthly, a court needs to exercise care in placing too much store by witness statement evidence from decision makers, prepared for the purposes of litigation. In many cases claimants submit that the challenged decision should stand or fall upon its own merits and after the event ("boot strapping") attempts in witness statements to add new or supplemental reasons, caveats or "spins" must be ignored: See, for example,Ermakov v Westminster City Council [1995] EWCA Civ 42; Lanner Parish Council v The Cornwall Council [2013] EWCA Civ 1290 at paragraphs [61] and [64]; and per Ouseley J in Ioannou v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government [2013] EWHC 3945. In the present case, a different approach has been adopted by the Claimants who submitted that the Defendant's witness statement evidence should be taken to reflect the reasoning of the Defendant and that it disclosed errors of law and evidence of predetermination. In my view, the reasoning the Defendant accepted has been set out comprehensively in the Updated Impact Assessment of March 2014 and it is to that document that I must primarily turn to identify the Defendant's reasoning.
[244] Finally and seventhly, even if the court concludes that there is an error a remedy will not be ordered if that error is not material to the outcome: see in this regard R v MMC ex parte National House Building Council [1993] ECC 388 at [398] (upheld on appeal: [1995] ECC 89); Tesco (ibid) at paragraph [79]; Gibraltar Betting and Gaming (ibid) at paragraphs [100] – [102]."
Applying these principles, Mr Justice Green considered the evidence upon which the Business Secretary relied and, in particular, the Updated Impact Assessment which in turn relied heavily on an IPO research report. The judge concluded at paragraph [269] that the inferences drawn in that Impact Assessment about whether the harm that right holders would suffer would be de minimis were not remotely supported by the evidence. Consequently, the decision to introduce section 28B in the absence of a compensation mechanism was unlawful.

Consequences
His lordship made clear at paragraph [21] that his conclusion did not necessarily result in that section being struck down.  It was in theory, possible for the Secretary of State to re-investigate the issue in order to address the evidential gap which now prevails. If he did that then one possible outcome would be that the gap that the court had identified could be plugged and the decision would become justified. Another outcome might be that following further investigation the gap in the evidence remained un-plugged in which case the Secretary of State could either repeal section 28B or introduce a compensation scheme. A third possibility was that the Secretary of State might simply decide to introduce a compensation scheme without more ado. He therefore invited further submissions from the parties.

At the hearing on 17 July 2015 the Secretary of State accepted that the 2014 regulations should be quashed:
"[4]. The Secretary of State welcomes the guidance which the Court has provided as to the correct approach to be adopted as a matter of law when considering the introduction of a private copying exception, and as to the scope and nature of the factual enquiries which are necessary. He will now take the opportunity to reflect further and in due course take a view as to whether, and in what form, any further factual enquiries should be carried out and whether a new private copying exception should be introduced. The Secretary of State has not decided on any specific course at this stage and wishes to take time to reflect before making any further decisions. He would not wish to create any uncertainty in the law by submitting that the Regulations remain in force while further policy decisions are made.
[5]. Given that the Secretary of State submits that a quashing order is appropriate at this stage, there is no necessity for a reference to the CJEU. As is made clear in the body of the Judgment, the Judge's conclusion leading to the ruling that the decision was unlawful did not depend on his conclusions on issues of EU law, in particular as to the meaning of "harm" (the issue identified by the Judge is a matter for a potential reference)".
The rights holders' representatives had argued that the regulations should be quashed with retrospective effect. The judge refused to make such an order:

 "It seems to me that the declaration sought raises potentially complex and far reaching issues which it is appropriate to address in the circumstances of private law litigation between a specific right holder and an alleged infringer. It will be for a defendant in future proceedings to explore and raise this issue, including whether the effect of the fact that they relied at the time upon Section 28B creates some species of estoppel, legitimate expectation or fair use defence in private law and whether, if such exists, this goes to the cause of action or the remedy or both."
He thus quashed the regulations with prospective effect. In view of the Secretary of State's concession and as he had made the decision in accordance with English as opposed to Community legal principles the judge declined to make a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union. The judge acknowledged there may be a need for clarification of the harm for which compensation would be awarded under art 5 (2) (b) but that was not a sufficient reason for a reference on that issue at this time.

Comment
It is important to stress that the rights holders did not win on everything. In particular, the judge rejected their contention that art 5 (2) (b) was directly applicable giving rise to an action for damages against Her Majesty's government under the principles set out in Cases C-6/90 and C-9/90 Francovich v Italian Republic [1991] ECR I-5403. He accepted the government's argument that it would be pointless to set up a compensation scheme if it really was clear that nobody would ever have a case for compensation. He also rejected the submission that the denial of compensation was tantamount to state aid. Instead of awarding the claimants their costs outright he allocated costs on an issue by issue basis.

As Hargreaves has recommended that intellectual property policy should be evidence based it may be that applications of this kind will become more common in future. Having said that, the legislation that gave rise to this application was unusual in that it allowed member states a discretion as to whether to introduce the exemption at all but gave no guidance as to the nature or amount of, or the triggering factor for, the award of compensation. Moreover, the judge declined to rule on the validity of s.28B up to now. All these questions will require expertise in both intellectual property and public law and there not many places other than my chambers where such expertise is to be found.

Should anyone wish to discuss this case, the copyright exceptions and directive, judicial review or copyright law and related rights generally, he or she should not hesitate to call me during office hours on 020 7404 5252 or use my contact form.

16 June 2015

Copyright: Minder Records and Another v Sharples

Jane Lambert














S.10 (1) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 defines a work of joint authorship as "a work produced by the collaboration of two or more authors in which the contribution of each author is not distinct from that of the other author or authors." However, it was held by Hazel Williamson QC sitting as a judge of the High Court in Bamgboye v Reed [2002] EWHC 2922 (QB), [2002] EWHC 2922, [2004] EMLR 5 and implied by the Court of Appeal in Brooker and Another v Fischer [2008] Bus LR 1123, [2008] FSR 26, [2008] EWCA Civ 287, [2008] EMLR 13 that joint ownership is not necessarily the same as equal ownership. Where two or more collaborators claim to have contributed to a copyright work the task of the judge is to discern the nature and extent of each party's contribution in order to determine his or her share of the copyright.

This issue came before Miss Recorder Michaels in Minder Music Ltd and Another v Sharples [2015] EWHC 1454 (IPEC). The claimants, Minder Music and the song writer Julia Adamson, owned the copyrights in a song called Touch Sensitive that had been played on the radio in 1998. After the broadcast the song writer and composer enlisted the services of Steve Sharples, the defendant, to include it in an album. He claimed to have contributed substantially to both the words and music which resulted in a long running dispute over royalties. The issue came to a head when the claimants applied for:
    "a. a declaration that Minder Music owns a 33.34% of the copyright in the Album Version and that Ms Adamson owns 66.66% (or such share as the Court shall determine);
    b. a declaration that no part of the copyright is or was owned by Mr Sharples; and
    c. an inquiry as to damages."
Mr Sharples did not counterclaim for any relief but denied that the claimants were entitled to their declarations and damages on the grounds that he had contributed to the album and that the claimants had agreed that he should have a share of the copyright.

The agreement on which Mr Sharples relied was one that the parties had entered in 2013 for the resolution of a dispute as to the division of royalties held by the PRS whereby each of the parties was to receive a third share. Ms Adamson argued that it was unconscionable on a number of grounds none of which was accepted by the recorder. Even though the agreement was unduly favourable to Mr Sharples her ladyship saw no grounds for setting it aside.

The judge then considered the defendant's alternative grounds. In assessing his contribution she compared the words and music as they had been when the sing was played on the radio and as they had been after Mr Sharples's involvement. In her view there was very little difference in the words and the evidence suggested that they had been contributed by the original song writer. However, he had added a string section to the music that would have contributed perhaps 20% to the value of the album.

Because Miss Recorder Michaels found that there had been a valid agreement between the parties as to entitlement to royalties and that Mr Sharples had contributed to the composition of the music for the album she declined to make the declarations sought by the claimants. She invited counsels' submissions on the relief (if any) that she could make in the light of her findings.

Two important lessons arise from this decision. The first is the crucial importance in getting agreement at the earliest possible stage on who should own the copyright in any new copyright works that might result from a collaboration such as the one between the original song writer and composer and Mr Sharples. The second is that not every contribution to the creation of a copyright work justifies a share in the copyright in the work. It has to be the right kind of contribution. In other words the contribution has to add value to the work.

Should anyone wish to discuss this case or copyright in general, he or she should contact me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or use my contact form.