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Bibliographie Commerce et Compagnies Droit d'auteur Grande Bretagne LLD

Première cause en justice du droit d'auteur

L’histoire date de la première loi sur le droit d’auteur en Grande-Bretagne en 1708, mais les faits sont ironiquement similaire à la rhétorique contemporaine. Il est question d’intérêts économiques, de pirates et d’avancées technologiques. L’article suivant traite de la première cause en justice à propos du droit d’auteur:
Gomez-Arostegui, Tomas, The Untold Story of the First Copyright Suit Under the Statute of Anne in 1710 (March 16, 2010). Lewis & Clark Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-11. Available at SSRN:

Merci à Jeff Roberts et à son excellent bulletin d’information IP News This Week du Centre for Intellectual Property Policy de l’Université McGill.

Accès à l'information Grande Bretagne Journaliste Liberté d'expression Web 2.0

L'effet «Streisand» – les blogues sauvent The Guardian

Ce 13 octobre dernier, The Guardian a publié un article dont le sujet était inconnu. En fait, le sujet était connu, mais le quotidien britannique ne pouvait pas dévoiler son information :

Today’s published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found.

The Guardian is also forbidden from telling its readers why the paper is prevented – for the first time in memory – from reporting parliament. Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret.

The only fact the Guardian can report is that the case involves the London solicitors Carter-Ruck, who specialise in suing the media for clients, who include individuals or global corporations.

La nouvelle a rapidement faite le tour de la blogosphère. Plusieurs intrépides Internautes ont été puiser l’information en question sur le site du Parlement britannique (qui jouit de l’immunité parlementaire, une prérogative de la couronne britannique) afin de le diffuser sur leurs blogues. Avant que les avocats n’aient pu réagir, tous étaient au fait des efforts de suppression d’information de la compagnie Trafigura qui, selon le New York Times :

In August 2006, an independent shipping company, Trafigura, paid a local operator in Ivory Coast to dispose of waste from the treatment of low-quality gasoline. The operator dumped about 400 tons of the “slops” — a mixture of petrochemical waste and caustic soda — in open landfills around a large Ivorian city, Abidjan.

Comme le précise The Economist (17 oct, p. 67), il s’agit de l’effet Streisand, nommé en l’honneur de la chanteuse américaine qui a causé une furie dans Twitter et la blogoshère en tentant de faire supprimer des photos désobligeantes. La tentative de censure entraine une publicité corrélative.

En effet, The Economist précise que:

Britain’s libel laws are also under pressure from foreign governments, which are growing frustrated with London’s role as a “libel-tourism” destination. English libel law goes easy on the claimant, assuming that material written about him is false unless the defendant can prove otherwise, the reverse of the position in America. Nor need claimants prove actual damages: potential damage is enough. In 2005 Rachel Ehrenfeld, an American author, was fined £30,000 ($54,600) plus costs by an English court over a book that had sold 23 copies in Britain. In response, American states have passed laws allowing their courts to refuse to enforce foreign judgments if the country’s free-speech provisions are insufficiently sturdy. On October 12th California became the latest to do so.

Despite these pressures, English courts are clamping down harder, granting secret super-injunctions to avoid giving internet rumour-chasers any crumb of information. Over the past three years or so, secret injunctions have spread from the family courts to cases involving celebrities and now companies: Mr Stephens reckons that between 200 and 300 are in force at any time. These days judges lean towards granting pre-emptive injunctions before publication rather than forcing plaintiffs to sue after the story has come out, notes Padraig Reidy of the Index on Censorship, a freedom-of-expression outfit. “The concept of ‘publish and be damned’ doesn’t hold much sway in the Royal Courts of Justice at the moment,” he says.

Accès libre Crimes Domaine public États-Unis Grande Bretagne Musées Numérisation

Les photos du musée

Le Sismographe, le carnet culturel des journalistes du quotidien montréalais Le Devoir, rapporte le cas d’un internaute des USA qui a téléchargé près de 3000 photos du Musée national du portrait (MNP) au Royaume-Uni. Selon Wiki News,

he complaint by the NPG is that under UK law, its copyright in the photographs of its portraits is being violated. While the gallery has complained to the Wikimedia Foundation for a number of years, this is the first direct threat of legal action made against an actual uploader of images. In addition to the allegation that Coetzee had violated the NPG’s copyright, they also allege that Coetzee had, by uploading thousands of images in bulk, infringed the NPG’s database right, breached a contract with the NPG; and circumvented a copyright protection mechanism on the NPG’s web site.

The copyright protection mechanism referred to is Zoomify, a product of Zoomify, Inc. of Santa Cruz, California. NPG’s solicitors stated in their letter that « Our client used the Zoomify technology to protect our client’s copyright in the high resolution images. ». Zoomify Inc. states in the Zoomify support documentation that its product is intended to make copying of images « more difficult » by breaking the image into smaller pieces and disabling the option within many web browsers to click and save images, but that they « provide Zoomify as a viewing solution and not an image security system ».

In particular, Zoomify’s website comments that while « many customers — famous museums for example » use Zoomify, in their experience a « general consensus » seems to exist that most museums are concerned to make the images in their galleries accessible to the public, rather than prevent the public from accessing them or making copies; they observe that a desire to prevent high resolution images being distributed would also imply prohibiting the sale of any posters or production of high quality printed material that could be scanned and placed online.

Appropriation du domaine public par un musée et libération par un robin des bois numérique? Cas de violation de contrat d’utilisation d’un site par un individu obtus? Le débat est lancé…

Canada États-Unis Grande Bretagne Utilisation équitable

Usage équitable: comparaison USA, Canada, GB

La professeure Giuseppina D’Agostino nous propose un article académique en droit comparé sur l’utilisation équitable aux USA, en Grande Bretagne et au Canada (diffusé sur SSRN) :

Giuseppina D’Agostino. 2008. « Healing Fair Dealing? A Comparative Copyright Analysis of Canada’s Fair Dealing to U.K. Fair Dealing and U.S. Fair Use » Volume 53, Number 2, McGill Law Journal

Par ailleurs, professeure Giuseppina D’Agostino a écrit un rapport (PDF, FR, 44p, 2007) analysant l’utilisation équitable suite au jugement CCH pour la Direction générale de la politique du droit d’auteur du Patrimoine Canadien (ministère fédéral).

Grande Bretagne Liberté d'expression

Les poursuites bâillons internationales

Un article du magazine The Economist (10 janvier 2009, page 52) intitulé « Writ Large » traite de la question des poursuites bâillons internationales dans les cours de la Grande Bretagne. La liberté d’expression n’y est pas aussi forte et les frais d’ester en justice y sont fort élevés. En effet, selon cet hebdomadaire britannique, les américains en sont à étudier la question :

Now the campaign has moved to the American Congress. A bill introduced into the House of Representatives last year by Steve Cohen, a Democrat, sailed through an early vote but stood no chance of becoming law. A much tougher version submitted to the Senate, the Free Speech Protection Act, also gives American-based litigants an additional right to countersue for harassment. The bills have been strongly supported by lobby groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, which fear that the protections offered by the First Amendment are being infringed by the unfettered use of libel law in non-American jurisdictions.

Nous pouvons y voir un lien avec les « SLAPP » (« Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation ») qui signifie poursuite stratégique contre la mobilisation publique.