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EU The Courts Your Rights Online

European Court Finds Copyright Doesn't Automatically Trump Freedom Of Expression 214

Posted by samzenpus
from the some-drop-science dept.
First time accepted submitter admiral snackbar writes "The European Court of Human Rights has declared that the copyright monopoly stands in direct conflict with fundamental Human Rights, as defined in the European Union and elsewhere. 'For the first time in a judgment on the merits, the European Court of Human Rights has clarified that a conviction based on copyright law for illegally reproducing or publicly communicating copyright protected material can be regarded as an interference with the right of freedom of expression and information under Article 10 of the European Convention [on Human Rights]. Such interference must be in accordance with the three conditions enshrined in the second paragraph of Article 10 of the Convention. This means that a conviction or any other judicial decision based on copyright law, restricting a person's or an organization's freedom of expression, must be pertinently motivated as being necessary in a democratic society, apart from being prescribed by law and pursuing a legitimate aim.'"
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European Court Finds Copyright Doesn't Automatically Trump Freedom Of Expression

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  • At last! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:36AM (#42830395)
    I, for one, welcome our new european overlords!
    • I wake up every morning
      hold my hands and pray for rain
      I've got a head full of ideas
      driving me insane
      It's a shame the way she makes me scrub the floor
      well, I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more

    • Re:At last! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday February 08, 2013 @02:26PM (#42835031)

      "I, for one, welcome our new european overlords!"

      This is nothing terribly new. Notice that it does NOT say that the concept of Copyrights is inimical to freedom of expression, it says that under certain defined circumstances, copyright CAN interfere with freedom of expression.

      The U.S. has long recognized this: it's called "fair use".

      So if you're looking for some kind of revamping of U.S. copyrights a a result of this, you're probably dreaming.

  • What?

    An organisation has freedom of expression?

    That's not good. It's members maybe, but an abstract legal entity?

    • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by StoneyMahoney (1488261) on Friday February 08, 2013 @07:03AM (#42830533)

      Could you explain why you think it's not good?

      Would you like to see political groups broken up for saying something that an individual would have been fine saying? It's happened all over the world in the past - the "legally elected government" cracking down on opposition parties simply because they oppose them, I'd say protecting the right of any organisation to express rational opposition to another is absolutely a requirement of civilised society.

      • This is the fundamental reasoning behind the Citizens United decision, which takes power out of the hands of media corporations and gives it to others. This pisses off people who don't want the rabble to talk about things they don't like. Some people are incapable of seeing beyond the political moment to recognize when fundamental rights are involved, and others are just thugs who don't care.
        • I will defend to the death the absolute right of Fox News to talk bull****!

          Or I would if I actually lived in America, we don't have TV like that in the UK. That sort of rhetoric gets buried in the columns of disreputable newspapers like the Daily Fail. *cough* Mail.

    • by dkf (304284)

      An organisation has freedom of expression?

      I'm not sure about this, but an organization might not be regarded as a legal person in EU law. (It certainly isn't in tax law: corporations are taxed using a completely separate set of taxes to actual people.) That said, it would also be wrong to restrict organizations except in accordance with the other basic principles from having freedom of (collective) speech. That is, all restrictions have to be necessary to support democractic society, as prescribed in law, and following a legitimate aim (the aims th

  • by StoneyMahoney (1488261) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:49AM (#42830473)

    While the EU has had a lot of criticism (some of it justified) for it's costs, it's impenetrable bureaucracy, and it's tendency to focus on the minutia rather than bigger problems, I think that it would be impossible to practically enact vital laws and opinions such as this on an international scale without it. Big government may be out of fashion on the other side of the pond, but it certainly has it's merits over here (where our governmental needs are different) and this kind of check against the increasing pressure and influence of fanatical commercial interests on the interpretation and drafting of legislation is exactly what we need right now to restore a little sanity to the situation.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @07:04AM (#42830535)

      While I agree with your main point, this ruling is from the European Court of Human Rights which is not an EU institution. All member states of the EU, and indeed the EU itself, is bound by the European Convention on Human Rights -- but so are several other countries that are not EU member states.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      From Wikipedia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Court_of_Human_Rights ):

      "The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR; French: Cour européenne des droits de l’homme) in Strasbourg, France is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights. ... . The court, as is also the Council Of Europe, is not part and is a completely separate body from the European Union and its court, the European Court of Justice. The latter is based in Luxembourg."

      Therefore, it has nothin

    • by JAlexoi (1085785)
      It's not "big government", it's "unpopular decisions". The EU isn't that big.
      • by foobsr (693224) on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:42AM (#42830919) Homepage Journal
        The EU isn't that big.

        Wikipedia: "With a combined population of over 500 million inhabitants, or 7.3% of the world population, the EU, in 2011, generated the largest nominal world gross domestic product (GDP) of 17.6 trillion US dollars, representing approximately 20% of the global GDP when measured in terms of purchasing power parity."

        CC.

      • by daem0n1x (748565)

        The EU isn't that big.

        If it were a country, it would be the 7th largest in the world. It has the largest GDP in the world and 503 million inhabitants, making it the third largest in population.

        What the fuck are you talking about?

    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:34AM (#42830873)

      While the EU has had a lot of criticism (some of it justified) for it's costs, it's impenetrable bureaucracy, and it's tendency to focus on the minutia rather than bigger problems, I think that it would be impossible to practically enact vital laws and opinions such as this on an international scale without it.

      An ironic comment, given that this ruling was made by the European Court of Human Rights, which is not a part of the EU machinery (and in fact applies in far more countries and has been around for far longer).

    • The European Court of Human Rights is NOT part of EU. Its an independent court.

      So your yelp at EU sceptics is way out of line. Given the decisions from the EU Court I can only say its my opinion that it would naver have reached the same decision. Its very pro-EU.

       

    • by stenvar (2789879)

      This European ruling is still more limited than US fair use rights, and the entire repressive copyright regime was created by international organizations in the first place, mainly driven by Europeans.

      Instead if being an example of the benefits of big government, this is an example of big government passing more laws to fix problems that it itself created.

  • Details (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:51AM (#42830487)

    TFA is crap, but links to a post with more details. [blogspot.com]

    the applicants were Robert Ashby Donald, Marcio Madeira Moraes and Olivier Claisse, respectively an American, a Brazilian and a French national living in New-York, Paris and Le Perreux-sur-Marne. All three are fashion photographers. The case concerned their conviction in France for copyright infringement following the publication of pictures on the Internet site Viewfinder of a fashion company run by Mr. Donald and Mr. Moraes. The photos were taken by Mr. Claisse at fashion shows in Paris in 2003 and published without the permission of the fashion houses. The three fashion photographers were ordered by the Court of Appeal of Paris to pay fines between 3.000 and 8.000 euro and an award of damages to the French design clothing Federation and five fashion houses, all together amounting to 255.000 euro

    Notably,

    In the case of Ashby Donald and others v. France the European Court of Human Rights did not need to undertake itself such a balancing exercise, as it found that the French judicial authorities have done this exercise in a proper way. As the Court stated, it saw no reason to disagree with the findings by the French courts

    I.e., the ruling didn't do squat to help the defendants in this case.

    • Re:Details (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rmstar (114746) on Friday February 08, 2013 @07:31AM (#42830613)

      I.e., the ruling didn't do squat to help the defendants in this case.

      No, because it was a purely commericial issue.

      The clarification of the court concerns things like leaked documents that trigger a political scandal, which in the past have been successfully taken down on copyright grounds. The court has made it clear that it intends to stop this practice.

      It is interesting that the court felt the need to clarify this issue even though it had no bearing on the case at hand.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        It is interesting that the court felt the need to clarify this issue even though it had no bearing on the case at hand.

        It's interesting because they're obviously interested in not accidentally (or otherwise) limiting freedom by issuing a bad ruling. They made it clear why they were doing what they were doing. This doesn't change the law unless they already have no fair use law.

    • by JAlexoi (1085785)
      TFA is not about the particular case. It's about the principle, that has been confirmed and can be cited for consideration.
  • Explains a lot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:51AM (#42830489)

    Might go some way towards explaining the massive right-wing hate for the European Court of Human Rights and petty tabloid hate of 'European human rights' in general.

    Human rights and (rightwing politics, elite interests) of all colours generally don't get along.

    • Re:Explains a lot (Score:5, Insightful)

      by alexgieg (948359) <alexgieg@gmail.com> on Friday February 08, 2013 @07:51AM (#42830685) Homepage

      Human rights and (rightwing politics, elite interests) of all colours generally don't get along.

      Sometimes in the effects, but not in the causes.

      For example, libertarians are usually all for human rights. What they are against are the "human duties" that come with many of those rights. So, as long as the right is something like "an human has a right to pursue happiness", that's fine. If it says "a man has a right to be happy", and this means someone else having the obligation to make him happy, not so much.

      Conservatives, on the other hand, generally aren't agains the rights themselves, but they have serious issues with the hierarchy of said rights. For example, abortion. A conservative (a western one at least) does think a woman should have right over her own body. If he didn't think so he'd be against anti-rape laws, which are entirely based on the right for a women to decide who she lets or doesn't let inside her body. What he doesn't agree with is that said right be placed above a human (fetus or not) right to live. Which in turn they don't think should be placed above the right of society to kill those humans who threaten it the most.

      It should be noted too that, from the perspective of many rightwingers, it's the left that doesn't respect many human rights, such as the right to fully express one's own personal beliefs wherever one is just because of one's profession by, for example, forcing one to remove religious symbols from one's work desk or wall.

      Gray areas. This theme is full of them.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Conservatives, on the other hand, generally aren't agains the rights themselves, but they have serious issues with the hierarchy of said rights. For example, abortion. A conservative (a western one at least) does think a woman should have right over her own body. If he didn't think so he'd be against anti-rape laws, which are entirely based on the right for a women to decide who she lets or doesn't let inside her body. What he doesn't agree with is that said right be placed above a human (fetus or not) right to live. Which in turn they don't think should be placed above the right of society to kill those humans who threaten it the most.

        Well no, that's a lot of bullshit. What he doesn't agree with is that a fetus is not the same as a person.

        • Re:Explains a lot (Score:4, Interesting)

          by alexgieg (948359) <alexgieg@gmail.com> on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:57AM (#42830991) Homepage

          Well no, that's a lot of bullshit. What he doesn't agree with is that a fetus is not the same as a person.

          The argument doesn't rely on that. If we are distinguish a fetus from a person, it's still a matter of an hierarchy of values. IMHO, it'd look roughly like this (subject to lots of refinements):

          a) Liberal: person life > women rights over body > killing society threatening life > fetus life

          b) Libertarian (typical): women rights over body > person life > killing society threatening life > fetus life

          c) Conservative (typical): killing society threatening life > person life > fetus life > women rights over body

          d) Conservative (Catholic): fetus life > killing society threatening life > person life > women rights over body

          And so on and so forth. Mix and match to find other minor political ideologies.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            The argument doesn't rely on that. If we are distinguish a fetus from a person, it's still a matter of an hierarchy of values.

            You're still attempting to reframe the debate with typical bullshit tactics the same as the douchewad that I was talking to about some property he owns (inherited, did not earn) and he spits out "the problem with this country is that we're still killing babies". We all know that you claim the right to define what is or is not a lifeform, and THAT is what this debate is about.

            • by alexgieg (948359)

              We all know that you claim the right to define what is or is not a lifeform, and THAT is what this debate is about.

              Actually, I don't. My own personal position is that I'm against abortion because I don't know whether a fetus is or isn't a person, or at which point he/she/it becomes one. If I don't know, the only rational course of action for me is to not kill the fetus, since by killing he/she/it I might be killing a human person by mistake.

              I guess a reasonable threshold of risk would be a 99.999+% chance of a specific fetus not being a person. But calculating that is all but impossible, hence not killing he/she/it is t

      • It should be noted too that, from the perspective of many rightwingers, it's the left that doesn't respect many human rights, such as the right to fully express one's own personal beliefs wherever one is just because of one's profession by, for example, forcing one to remove religious symbols from one's work desk or wall.

        The problem here is (often) that these people are all for expressing their own beliefs, but don't spent a thought on how that affects other peoples freedoms.
        No freedom is really unlimited. They all find bounds where other people come into play. And with most of us living in a society with other people, that happens sooner rather than later.

        • by swillden (191260)

          It should be noted too that, from the perspective of many rightwingers, it's the left that doesn't respect many human rights, such as the right to fully express one's own personal beliefs wherever one is just because of one's profession by, for example, forcing one to remove religious symbols from one's work desk or wall.

          The problem here is (often) that these people are all for expressing their own beliefs, but don't spent a thought on how that affects other peoples freedoms.

          Nonsense. Any time you find yourself believing that your political opponents (who comprise tens or hundreds of millions of people from all walks of life) have simply failed to consider some huge aspect of the debate, you're wrong. When you dig into it you'll find that your opponents' positions are rational and reasonable, but based on different axioms than your own. Exploring the underlying differences rarely changes anyones' positions, but is often enlightening.

    • by tbird81 (946205)

      That's not true at all. Right-wing is about civil liberties and personal freedoms and responsibilities. Left-wing is about granting control to the government for them to act in the best interest of everyone. (e.g. "The left" will increase taxes, because the government thinks they should be able to take someone's money and give it to who they think deserves it. Lefties also make laws that might restrict freedom for the "greater good" - an example is the ban on rare-earth magnet toys in many countries.)

      Corpor

      • by Velex (120469)
        Why does the right wing support things like the TSA and marijuana prohibition? Please, no "no true Scotsman" fallacies.
        • Because the right isn't just one ideology. The political right and religious right are often in conflict, but they are kept unified because they know they need each other to defeat their mutual enemies.

        • by smpoole7 (1467717)

          > Why does the right wing support things like the TSA and marijuana prohibition?

          I think this comment is an insight into your *perception* of conservatives, rather than what we actually believe. In particular, if you read the right-wing sites and blogs, you'll see that most of us *HATE* the TSA. Passionately. From Breitbart to Drudge to you name it. (And for the record, were complaining loudly even when Bush was in office.)

          This shows me that you don't regularly read what we're actually saying. Instead, yo

        • by Jiro (131519)

          It's not a "no true scotsman" fallacy to say "actually, they don't". George Bush supports the TSA. That doesn't mean that "the right" supports the TSA, it means that politicians interested in political patronage support the TSA.

          Opposition to marijuana prohibition is less common among the right, but common enough that it's false to say that "the right supports marijuana prohibition".

      • by DarkOx (621550)

        Its easy to become confused. Both sides talk about rights. The difference been a libertarian and your typical leftist comes down to where the obligations lay.

        The libertarian believes everyone has a right to any health care need or want, but to him the meaning of that is nobody should stop anyone from having procedures performed.

        The leftist believes everyone has a right to health care based on need, and its societies job to ensure they get it.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          Except if you call liberitarians anarchists, then they want the rule of law and its society's job to ensure there is one - at least I don't hear much of private vigilante services as an option. Most people are the same, they want to cut all government services they don't themselves need. They have their health and their health insurance, everyone else tough luck. Of course there's lifestyle-related health issues too but a lot of it is a lottery, first you figure out if you're a winner or a loser then you de

          • Except if you call liberitarians anarchists, then they want the rule of law and its society's job to ensure there is one - at least I don't hear much of private vigilante services as an option.

            It sounds like you haven't been listening very closely. Privately-funded defense is the only option consistent with the Non-Aggression Principle. Any "libertarian" who speaks of it being "society's job" to do anything is entertaining a contradiction.

            (To be fair, you would have to look beyond the U.S. Libertarian Party to get an idea of what consistent libertarianism looks like; but then, the LP's goal is achieve political influence, which is basically the opposite of everything they supposedly stand for, so

        • by swillden (191260)

          And the libertarian will also point out that the leftist's notion of societal duty is code for a collective right to confiscate the individual's goods and restrict the individual's freedom by force of arms, in whatever way the collective decides is appropriate.

    • Are right- or left-leaners more likely to support the US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, which protects the ability of organizations to speak? It's the most analogous legal finding over here, and yet it's almost universally abused by the left side of American politics, which is populated by people who apparently can't imagine ever being out of power.
  • It's long been common practice that copyright couldn't be enforced if it was violated in order to provide information in the interest of the public.
    I don't see this ruling going any further...
    • That's interesting. Could you provide links to more information? I think that's the way it should be.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        That's interesting. Could you provide links to more information? I think that's the way it should be.

        It's called fair use. We also have whistleblower laws. If you were genuinely interested you'd know this already.

  • Agree with anything the self-important 'ECHR' says, and it's like agreeing to burn witches. Well, in ECHR terms, soaking their feet gently in nice warm water and giving them a pension-for-life as an 'excluded community'. Don't join the nonsense train, use the Comfy Cushions.

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang

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