Birthday Train or Eurostar?
German copyright law reform between national solutions and Europeanisation

Speaker: Professor Ansgar Ohly, University of Oxford and University of Munich
Commentators: Professor Alain Strowel and Professor Martin Senftleben

German copyright law is in flux. The recently elected coalition government has indicated its interest in copyright reform. Issues on the government’s agenda are exceptions for academic use, the portability of digital content, open WiFi networks and the liability of intermediaries. At the same time, the Federal Supreme Court has handed down some landmark judgments. There is no longer a higher originality threshold for works of applied art. The unauthorized taking of tiny sound fragments is an infringement of the sound recording right. Under the doctrine of interferer’s liability, some intermediaries such as sharehosters face very strict duties of care. On the other hand, at least before the CJEU’s judgment in UPC Telekabel Wien, many courts and commentators considered blocking injunctions as incompatible with constitutional law.

The lecture will not only be about the reform of German copyright law, because there is nothing particularly Germanic about these issues. On the contrary, all of them are also familiar to UK copyright experts. Both in the UK and in Germany the CJEU’s pro-active approach raises the question to what extent national Parliaments can still shape copyright law and to what extent national courts can still pursue their own familiar courses.

To be followed by a drinks reception. All welcome.