Tagged: #brazil

Enforcing Online Copyright Protection Abroad: Part III – South America

As part of my ambitious plan to provide you with information on online copyright enforcement procedures through all of the countries in the world, I come to you with part III of my ongoing posting series on national notice and takedown provisions—South America. Although few South American countries have adopted full-fledged notice and takedown provisions as provided in the U.S., Australia, and others, many South American countries have or an in the process of adopting national notice and takedown provisions, either through legislative reforms or judicial action, or have adopted other measures owners or rights holders of copyright protected works (collectively, “Rights Holders”) can use to protect their works online.

However, as I have mentioned in previous posts on this topic, determining whether a Rights Holder can enforce rights in their work online and abroad depends on: (1) whether a work qualifies for foreign protection (aka national treatment) under the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Berne Convention) or the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS); (2) whether the Internet service provider (ISP) hosting the infringing use of the work is subject to jurisdiction in the country where online enforcement is sought; and (3) what online copyright enforcement procedures are available in the country of enforcement.

Each of these issues have been previously examined here and those with further questions should consult with a qualified attorney.

Below are the current online copyright enforcement procedures in each South American country. However, a couple of preliminary notes:

Classifications: A South American country that maintain legal protocols for a Rights Holder to directly petition an ISP to remove infringing content in order for the ISP to qualify for safe harbor protection from contributory liability for copyright infringement is identified below as a “Notice and Takedown System.” A country that does not provide legal provisions for a Rights Holder to directly enforce their copyright protections through an ISP notification system, and are instead forced to seek copyright enforcement through legal action are referred to as a “Judicial System.”

Notice Limitations: Unfortunately, even if a country maintains a Notice and Takedown System, an ISP may still refuse to disable access to a website or website content upon receipt of a Rights Holder’s infringement notice. In such instances, a Rights Holder may be forced to seek enforcement through that foreign country’s legal system in order to remove such online content.

Time Sensitivity: As several of the listed countries in this posting are evaluating or in the process of implementing copyright reforms, either through legislation or judicial action, there is the possibility that the following information may soon change.

Argentina

Enforcement System: Judicial System (Possible pending judicially-created Notice and Takedown System)

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Argentina does not currently provide statutory notice and takedown provisions. However, it was reported in June 2014 that the Argentine Supreme Court (Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación) heard oral arguments in Rodríguez v. Google Inc., where a lower appellate court had established a ISP safe harbor test where a Rights Holder couldnotify [a] search engine, identifying the alleged infringing contentand thesearch engine acts expeditiously to block the content via a quick and effective filtering method.” The Argentine Supreme Court has yet to publish a final opinion in Rodríguez, and Argentina’s civil law system makes it unclear whether any such judicial decision will require that all Argentine-based ISPs be subject to notice and takedown provisions upheld in such a decision.

Governing Legislation: Copyright Law (Law No. 11.723)

Notice Requirements: N/A

Bolivia

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Bolivia does not currently maintain any notice and takedown provisions.

Governing Legislation: Law No.1322 on Copyright

Notice Requirements: N/A

Brazil

Enforcement System: Judicial System (*Possible Notice and Takedown System)

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Brazil has evaluated notice and takedown reforms, enacted ISP liability legislation, and has even ruled that ISPs are subject to a notice system. However, it is still unclear whether nationwide notice and takedown provisions have been fully established in Brazil.  In 2012, the Brazilian government evaluated the Copyright Law Reform Bill (Bill nº 3133/2012), which commentators had reported was to include U.S.-style notice and takedown provisions. However, the Reform Bill has yet to be implemented. In August 2012, the Brazilian Superior Court of Justice held in a special judiciary opinion in Google Brazil (Special Appeal No. 1323754/RJ) that an ISP was required to temporarily remove infringing content 24 hours upon notice of infringement from a Rights Holder in order to retain immunity from from contributory liability for copyright infringement. However, commentators have questioned Google Brazil’s applicability to other Brazilian-based ISPs, requirements for Rights Holder infringement notices, and the duration of an ISP’s removal obligations, based on Brazil’s civil law system.

In May 2014, the Brazilian government enacted the Internet Bill of Rights (Law No. 12.965) that establishes liability for “Internet intermediaries” for failing to timely comply with a judicial takedown order. However, the Internet Bill of Rights provides no direct Rights Holder infringement notice provisions.

Governing Legislation: Law on Copyright and Neighboring Rights (Law No. 9.610), Internet Bill of Rights (Law No. 12.965)

Notice Requirements: N/A

Chile

Enforcement System: Expedited Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Chile does not currently possess notice and takedown provisions despite agreeing in the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to provide “legal incentives for [ISPs] to cooperate with copyright owners in deterring the unauthorized storage and transmission of copyrighted materials.” Chile rejected adopting notice and takedown provisions in its ratification of the U.S.-Chile FTA, as well as in proposed copyright reform legislation in 2010. Instead, Chile implemented an expedited judicial enforcement process where a Rights Holder may submit a judicial petition against a Chilean-based ISP in a Chilean Civil Court to expeditiously evaluate the alleged infringement and obtain an injunctive takedown order.

However, Chile may soon be required to implement notice and takedown provisions if the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is finalized and the U.S. draft chapter is adopted in a final TPP agreement.

Governing Legislation: Article 85R, Law No. 17.336 on Intellectual Property

Judicial Petition Requirements:

-The allegedly infringed rights, with a specific indication of the rights and the infringement procedure;
-The infringing material; and
-The location of the infringing material in the ISP’s respective networks or systems.

Colombia

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Notes and Overview: Despite multiple reform efforts, Colombia does not currently maintain any notice and takedown provisions. Colombia had agreed to adopt notice and takedown provisions in a side letter to the U.S.-Colombia FTA in 2006. However, Colombia has yet to implement such provisions. In 2011, Colombian legislators introduced copyright reforms in Bill No. 201 (aka Ley Lleras 1.0) that included notice and takedown provisions, but it was not enacted. The Colombian Congress subsequently passed similar reform legislation in 2012, Law No. 1520/2012 (aka Ley Lleras 2.0), but such legislation was largely invalidated by the Colombian Constitutional Court in January 2013 on the grounds that such legislation was not properly implemented. Additional proposed copyright reform legislation, Bill No. 306, was circulated for comments in March 2014, but does not include notice and takedown provisions and has yet to be implemented.

Governing Legislation: Law No. 23 on Copyright

Notice Requirements: N/A

Ecuador

Enforcement System: Minimal Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Ecuador does not currently maintain any notice and takedown provisions. Further, it was reported in December 2013 that the Ecuadorian National Assembly amended its Penal Code and the Intellectual Property Law to decriminalize all IP rights violations, thereby only allowing administrative actions and fines to enforce copyright in works in Ecuador, online or otherwise.

Governing Legislation: Intellectual Property Law (Consolidation No. 2006-13)

Notice Requirements: N/A

French Guiana

Enforcement System: Notice and Takedown System (*Restricted and Undetermined)

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: French Guiana is an overseas department of France and is thereby governed by French copyright law. As a European Union (EU) member state, France was required to adopt notice and takedown provisions as provided under Article 14 of the EU Electronic Commerce Directive (Directive 2000/31/EC). However, the EU Directive provides only general recommendations, thereby giving EU member states such as France substantial flexibility to implement their own notice and takedown provisions.

France adopted notice and takedown provisions in its Creation and Internet Law where Rights Holder organizations could submit complaints to France’s online copyright authority, The High Authority for the Dissemination of Works and the Protection of Rights on the Internet (HADOPI), who would then provide notices to online infringers and remove allegedly infringing content under a graduated three-stikes approach. However, it was reported that individual Rights Holders were not allowed submit complaints to HADOPI, as such complaints must be submitted by agents of industry organizations, rights collection agencies, and the French Center of Cinematography.

Further, the French Ministry of Culture revoked the three-strikes approach on July 9, 2013 (Decree No. 2013-596) due to a perceived lack of effectiveness and public concerns that its enforcement measures were overly punitive.  However, the Decree did not expressly remove the Creation and Internet Law’s ISP penalties or its notice system. However, as mentioned, the HADOPI notice system, if still in effect, can only be utilized by industry organizations, rights collection agencies, and the French Center of Cinematography on behalf of individual Rights Holders.

Governing Legislation: Intellectual Property Code

Authorized Agent Notice Requirements:

-Sworn declaration that the authorized agent of the referral has standing to act in the name of the Rights Holder over the protected work or materials in question;
-Information on the website address(es) and other details of the alleged infringer; and
-Information on the infringing acts including date and time of the acts.

Guyana

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, copyright law in Guyana is governed by its former colonizer, the United Kingdom. However, it does not appear that Guyana has adopted notice and take provisions as required by EU member states such as the United Kingdom under Article 14 of the EU Electronic Commerce Directive (Directive 2000/31/EC).

Governing Legislation: United Kingdom Copyright Act of 1956

Notice Requirements: N/A

Paraguay

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Paraguay does not currently maintain any notice and takedown provisions.

Governing Legislation: Law No.1328/98 on Copyright and Related Rights

Notice Requirements: N/A

Peru

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Despite multiple reform efforts, Peru does not currently maintain any notice and takedown provisions. Peru had agreed to adopt notice and takedown provisions in a side letter to the U.S.-Peru FTA in 2006, and it did adopt several copyright reforms in 2009 in order to implement its U.S.-Peru FTA obligations. However, such reforms do not appear to include notice and takedown provisions as promised in the U.S.-Peru FTA side letter.

However, Peru may soon be required to implement notice and takedown provisions if the TTP is finalized and the U.S. draft chapter is adopted in a final TPP agreement.

Governing Legislation: Copyright Law (Legislative Decree No. 822), and Law Amending, Incorporating and Regulating Miscellaneous Provisions on the Implementation of the Trade Promotion Agreement Signed Between Peru and United States

Notice Requirements: N/A

Suriname

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Suriname does not currently maintain any notice and takedown provisions.

Governing Legislation: Copyright Law of 1913

Notice Requirements: N/A

Uruguay

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Uruguay does not currently maintain any notice and takedown provisions. It is reported that Uruguay is currently considering a number of copyright reforms, yet it does not appear that notice and takedown provisions are included in such reform proposals.

Governing Legislation: Law No. 17.616 Amending Law on CopyrightLaw No. 9.739 on Copyright

Notice Requirements: N/A

Venezuela

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Venezuela does not currently maintain any notice and takedown provisions.

Governing Legislation: Law on Copyright

Notice Requirements: N/A

Special thanks to Sara Parker, recent Seattle University School of Law graduate and new member of the Washington State Bar for her assistance.

Don’t Be Scared of Havarti! Geographical Indication Issues Exporting Businesses Should Consider

Late last month, the European Commission approved for publication (pre-registration) a geographical indication (GI) application for the Danish cheese HAVARTI. This raised concern amongst interested industry groups, and should cause concern amongst all export-focused businesses. Similar to trademarks, and particularly certification marks, GIs are legal protection granting producers of a particular type of product from a specific geographical region the exclusive right to use the geographical region’s name (or a regionally-known name) on their products and in related promotions. Being an exclusive right, GIs exclude producers from other regions from labeling and marketing similar or identical products under the same GI name. This means, for example, that a U.S. sparkling wine can never be sold as CHAMPAGNE in the EU, or a Kenyan tea as DARJEELING in India. If registered, the EU HAVARTI GI would exclude non-Danish cheese producers from labeling and promoting their Havarti cheeses in the EU as HAVARTI.

So what’s concerning about the potential EU HAVARTI GI registration for non-dairy businesses? Well, industry groups such as the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) argue that allowing the EU HAVARTI GI application to be registered would contravene international standards by prohibiting non-Danish cheese producers from labeling and promoting their own Havarti cheeses in the EU as HAVARTI, even if they meet recognized international Havarti cheese production standards. From an intellectual property perspective, the registration would arguably expand EU GI protections to common (generic) named products. Commonly named GIs such as DIJON for mustard and CHEDDAR for cheese have traditionally been restricted from GI protection due to their common vernacular usage. HAVARTI is a widely known cheese variety this is arguably as generic as these other excluded food names. By allowing HARVARTI’s potential GI registration, the European Commission could possibly allow other generic named products to be registered as GIs, thereby hindering the promotional efforts, and ultimately success of many foreign goods in the EU.

Although the potential HAVARTI EU GI registration only directly impacts the global dairy industry and the EU market, it does underscore general issues all export-focused businesses should be aware of concerning GIs. Many businesses are unfamiliar with GIs, much less the extent to which GIs can impact their expansion and success in new foreign markets. GIs are granted legal protections in multiple countries for a wide array of goods, and can significantly impact a business’ foreign operations.

Below are some GI issues businesses should consider when entering new foreign markets:

Know the Practical Differences Between GIs and Trademarks. Before understanding what GIs restrictions a business may face in a foreign market, a business needs to recognize how GIs and trademarks differ. Unlike trademarks, GIs do not indicate or represent a individual business or their goods and services. They instead represent protections for the local conditions—natural or human-made (depending on the country)—that give products from a region their qualities and reputation. Based on these localized and natural characteristics, GIs cannot be extended, shared, or transferred to producers outside the region, and cannot be cancelled once registered. Further, in many countries that grant GIs legal protection such as the EU, member state governments, not individual producers or businesses, prosecute GI infringement claims. This means a foreign business can be assured that their unauthorized use of a registered GI in a foreign market will more likely subject them to a greater risk of legal action in that country compared to the threat of a lawsuit from a individual trademark owner.

The bottom line is that GIs prohibit exporting businesses from promoting and selling their goods in a particular country under a registered GI without much recourse.

Determine if an Export Market Recognize GIs—and to What Degree. After understanding the important differences between GIs and trademarks, businesses need to then evaluate whether the markets they wish to export to have GI protections and the extent of such protections. Nearly all countries recognize GIs for wines and alcoholic beverages through their World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments. Under Articles 22 and 23 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), WTO member states are required to extend specific GI protections for wines and alcoholic beverages, and to a reduced degree other agricultural and natural products. Most common law jurisdictions (U.S., Australia, and Japan, etc.) generally only extend GI protections to wines and alcohol beverages based on their WTO commitments. Yet, many countries, including several substantial markets, have gone beyond TRIPS’ minimum standards by providing enhanced GI protections to non-wine and alcohol agricultural products, and even non-agricultural products. The EU, China, India, and Russia, among others, extend the same level of legal protection to all agricultural and natural product GIs. Brazil, China, India, Russia, and Switzerland even extend GI protections to human made goods such as handcrafts and textiles.

Determine if There are Existing GI Registrations for Your Goods. Once a business determines whether the market(s) they wish to export their goods possess GI protections, they must evaluate whether the names of the goods they wish to use on their goods and related promotions are registered GIs. To do so, businesses must examine national GI registers in such export market(s).

Below are GI registers for some of the world’s major GI jurisdictions.

Country

Governing Agency

National GI Register

Brazil

National Institute of Industrial Property (Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial -INPI)

INPI GI Registry

China

General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine

GI Product List

European Union

European Commission

Database of Origin and Registration (DOOR) Database

India

The Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks

GI Registry

Russia

Federal Institute of Industrial Property

Register of Appellation of Origin of Goods

What’s the Takeaway? As the nature of GI protections are evolving in many of the world’s major markets such as the EU, businesses need to be even more aware of GIs and how they impact their operations in foreign markets. Due to the significant implications GIs have on the labeling and marketing of exported goods, businesses should work with qualified counsel to ensure that they comply with existing GI registrations to ultimately take advantage of foreign markets opportunities.

Determining Whether to Register a Trademark in India Under the Madrid Protocol

Last month, India officially acceded to The Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (Madrid Protocol). This will allow trademark owners from Madrid Protocol countries the ability after July 8, 2013 to register their trademarks in India based on their registrations in their home Madrid Protocol country. From an initial observation, registering a mark in India under the Madrid Protocol offers several advantages over a direct registration at India’s trademark office, The Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM). Reduced filing fees and a uniform registration process are among these advantages. However, there are several issues trademark owners should evaluate when considering whether to a file a mark in India under the Madrid Protocol. First, it is important to understand how the Madrid Protocol works.

How Does the Madrid Protocol Work? The Madrid Protocol allows trademark owners to file an international trademark application based on a national trademark registration in a Madrid Protocol country (known as the “basic application” or “basic registration”) to obtain trademark protection in other Madrid Protocol countries. Once filed, an international application is submitted to the International Bureau at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and evaluated based on international requirements. If approved, the trademark is registered for protection in countries designated in the international application (subject to such countries’ potential opposition). Once successfully registered, the trademark is treated as if it were filed in each of the foreign countries identified in the international application, subject to specific restrictions.

Central Attack. Determining whether an international registration is subject to central attack is the most crucial issue in determining whether to consider filing a trademark in India under the Madrid Protocol or directly with the CGPDTM. Central attack occurs when a basic application or its resulting registration of a mark is withdrawn, lapsed or renounced within five years of the international registration of the mark under the Madrid Protocol. When this occurs, all Madrid Protocol international trademark registrations filed under the basic application are invalidated. However, after this five year period, a trademark owner’s Madrid Protocol international registration becomes independent of its basic application. This allows a trademark to qualify for national registration in the foreign countries identified in the international registration regardless of its invalidation in its native Madrid Protocol country.

Based on these circumstances, a trademark owner who can ensure that their mark’s basic application or resulting registration will not be invalidated within five years after international registration under the Madrid Protocol may find registering their mark in India under the Madrid Protocol more advantageous. However, if a trademark owner knows that their basic application or resulting registration will likely face potential invalidation within five years of filing a Madrid Protocol international registration in India, a direct filing with the CGPDTM would likely be a more prudent choice.

**Important Note**: A trademark owner whose basic application or resulting registration is subject to potential central attack in their home country may seek national registration in another Madrid Protocol country as their basic application, and then file a international registration in India through the Madrid Protocol. This can be done if the owner has enough presence in that Madrid Protocol country to qualify as a “real and effective industrial or commercial establishment.”

As it is difficult to determine the threat of central attack or if a trademark owner can register their mark in a foreign Madrid Protocol member state, obtaining qualified counsel to assess such issues is always suggested.

Registration Costs. If costs are a trademark owner’s main concerns, the Madrid Protocol provides upfront cost savings. Yet, additional expenses may arise if an international registration is opposed. Although varying based on currency rates, legal fees and the number of registration classes, registering a trademark in India through the CGPDTM costs roughly between US$300.00-$500.00. In comparison, filing an international application under the Madrid Protocol can be substantially less. For example, a Madrid Protocol filing fee in the U.S. is US$100.00-$150.00 per class (excluding fees for the basic application and associated legal costs).

However, as Madrid Protocol registrations are subject to opposition from national trademark offices, a trademark owner’s Madrid Protocol registration that becomes subject to opposition by the CGPDTM may have to spend additional funds to overcome such an opposition. Under Article 5(1) of the Madrid Protocol, any Madrid Protocol member state trademark office may object to a Madrid Protocol international registration based on international criteria provided in Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. Defending against such an opposition may negate any cost savings obtained from a Madrid Protocol registration as a trademark owner would likely have to hire counsel to assist with such a defense. Although registering the same mark under a direct CGPDTM filing may also subject its owner to a CGPDTM action, working with qualified Indian counsel in registering a trademark directly with the CGPDTM may help to mitigate the risk of such an action, or at least provide immediate and knowledgeable assistance in the defense of a potential CGPDTM action.

Assignments and Amendments. Determining whether the Madrid Protocol should be utilized to register a mark in India also depends if the trademark owner intends to amend or assign the mark’s international registration. Article 9 of the Madrid Protocol only permits a Madrid Protocol international registration to be assigned to a person or entity who is a national, domiciled, or has a substantial business presence in a Madrid Protocol member state. This potentially limits the economic desirability of a Madrid Protocol international registration as it prohibits its assignability. For example, Canada and Brazil, two major world economies, are currently not Madrid Protocol members, meaning that their citizens or businesses may not likely become assignees to an Indian Madrid Protocol registration. If a trademark owner knows that they are likely to quickly assign their Madrid Protocol registration in India after registration, as a part of a sale of a business or otherwise, such foreign assignment restrictions should be considered when choosing how to register their mark.

Additionally, the Madrid Protocol restricts amendments to international registrations. An international trademark application filed under the Madrid Protocol cannot be amended once it is submitted for examination to the International Bureau at WIPO. These restrictions appear to run contrary to rights provided under Indian trademark law. Under Article 22 of India’s Trade Marks Act, the CGPDTM Registrar may allow a trademark application, either before or after registration, to be amended under “just” circumstances. If a trademark owner knows or believes that they will likely need to amend their Indian trademark application or registration, they should consider a direct registration with the CGPDTM over a Madrid Protocol registration because a direct registration will allow greater registration flexibility.

Parting Issues to Consider Regardless of Registration. Regardless of which Indian trademark registration process a trademark owners chooses, enforcing trademark protections in India remains challenging. In the 2013 Special 301 Report by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, India was identified as having judicial inefficiencies and insufficient criminal enforcement against IP infringers. These problems can make any type of trademark enforcement efforts in India difficult. Based on these concerns, trademark owners should work with qualified local counsel to ensure effective enforcement of their marks in India.

What does India’s Madrid Protocol accession mean for your business? 

Enforcing Online Copyright Protections Abroad: Understanding Foreign Takedown Notice Requirements

Establishing methods for enforcing copyright protections online has become increasingly important to protecting a content owner’s rights in their works—as demonstrated by the recent launch of the Copyright Alert System (CAS) in the U.S. Most content owners do not have the same resources for online copyright enforcement as the Media and Internet service provider industries (two central sponsors of CAS). However, nearly all owners of protected works can take advantage of relatively inexpensive online copyright enforcement methods to protect their works in many of the world’s major markets. The most commonly used means of enforcement are takedown notices—demands sent from content owners to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or website hosts to remove infringing content hosted on websites under their control. Depending on the circumstances, an ISP may be compelled upon receiving a takedown notice to remove infringing content from a hosted website, or in some cases, an entire website, for a temporary or extended amount of time.

Takedown notices can have substantial implications on an infringer’s online presence. A takedown can interrupt access to a infringer’s site, potential disrupt or halt their business, and can possibly result in the deletion of their site’s user comments and feedback. With these potentially serious consequences in mind, a rights holder should consider exhausting all alternatives before submitting a takedown notice against an infringing website.

Determining whether to and how to utilize takedown notices as a international copyright enforcement tool requires understanding a few things:

  • What international legal protections does a rights owner have in their works
  • Where are works being infringed online
  • Where is an ISP subject to jurisdiction
  • What countries have national takedown procedures and what are such countries’ requirements
  • Further issues after a takedown notice is submitted

Let’s break these down a little further:

What International Legal Protections Does a Rights Owner Have in Their Works? A rights owner cannot consider utilizing takedown procedures abroad without first establishing that their works qualify for international copyright protection. A work qualifies for international copyright protection under the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Berne Convention) when it becomes attached. Attachment requires that the author of the work be a national of a Berne Convention country (A list of Berne Convention countries is available here), the author is a habitual resident of a Berne Convention country, that the work is first published in a Berne Convention country, or that the work is published in a Berne Convention country within 30 days after an initial publishing in a non-Berne Convention country. If a work is attached through any of these means, it is treated as if the work originated in each Berne Convention country, and is then subject to each Berne Convention country’s copyright protection requirements in order to qualify for copyright protection in that specific country.

If a content owner has questions about whether their content qualifies for international copyright protection, they should consider consulting with their national copyright office or a qualified attorney.

Where are Works Being Infringed Online? To determine if any enforcement measure can be utilized, it is essential to know where in the world a work is being infringed online. If a work is being used without authorization and is available on the Internet in a particular country, it is likely being infringed in that particular country. For example, if a song by a Spanish artist, that qualifies as a protected work under the Berne Convention, is uploaded without authorization by a Malaysian file sharer to their website and is accessible throughout the entire world, it is being infringed in both Malaysia and Spain, as well as potentially in the other 164 Berne Convention countries.

Where is an ISP Subject to Jurisdiction? In order to effectively submit a takedown notice in a country where a protected work is infringed online, the ISP of the infringing website must be subject to that country’s laws in order for the ISP to be potentially compelled to comply with a takedown request. Generally, an ISP is only subject to the laws of a country where it is physically located or countries where it is engaged in enough commercial activity to establish personal jurisdiction. Determining an infringing site’s ISP can be completed through conducting a WHOIS database search. Such a search may also help identify the ISP’s host country by providing details about the ISP. However, this is not always a certainty.

If an ISP is located in the country where a work is infringed online, a rights owner only needs to establish whether that country has takedown procedures (see next section) to determine whether they can utilize takedown notices. However, determining whether an ISP is subject to the copyright laws of a country where it is not physically located is more difficult. In the U.S., a foreign ISP must at least have sufficient “minimum contacts” with the U.S. for the foreign-based ISP to be subject to U.S. law, and potential liability under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Int’l Shoe Co. v. Wash., 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945). Generally, such contacts have required purposeful interactions with U.S. citizens and commerce, such as marketing its services in the U.S. that would foreseeably bring the ISP under U.S. jurisdiction. Asahi Metal Indus. v. Superior Court, 480 U.S. 102, 112 (1987). It must also be “reasonable” to bring the ISP under U.S. jurisdiction, based on multiple factors. World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 292 (1980).

To illustrate these requirements using the previous example of the Spanish musician: Let’s assume that an Australian ISP hosts the Malaysian file-sharer website whose infringing content is available in the U.S., but the ISP does not market or make its services available in the U.S. In this case, the ISP would likely not be subject to U.S. law. Therefore, it is likely that the ISP is only subject to Australian law due to its location in Australia—and possibly Malaysian law if qualifying under Malaysian personal jurisdiction requirements. Alternatively, if the Australian ISP actively markets its services to U.S. citizens and businesses, the ISP may be subject to U.S. jurisdiction, and thereby potential liability under the DMCA. This would give the Spanish artist the ability to submit a U.S. takedown notice against the Australian ISP that would subject the ISP to potential liability under the DMCA if is fails to take action on the takedown notice.

Two important things to note:

  • Failing to qualify for jurisdiction does not mean a rights holder is barred from demanding an ISP to takedown content that infringes a protected work. It simply means that an ISP may not be compelled or have incentive to remove infringing content because they are unlikely to face liability.
  • Many content submission sites like YouTube and Facebook, as well as search engines such as Google and Bing, maintain their own takedown submissions procedures that are generally available to users regardless of their geographical location or where a protected work is infringed online.

What Countries Have National Takedown Procedures and What are Such Countries’ Requirements? To effectively utilize takedown procedure against an ISP, the ISP’s host country or country to which it is brought under personal jurisdiction must possess takedown procedures for rights holders, and such rights holders must comply with such procedural requirements. This requires understanding:

  • Whether the country to which the ISP is subject to jurisdiction has takedown notice legislation
  • If so, what are the country’s takedown notice requirements and procedures.

National Takedown Notice Legislation. Surprisingly, not all countries maintain takedown notice legislation for rights holders. Major markets including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India, Israel, Mexico and Russia are among those that don’t currently have takedown notice procedures. Despite such gaps, a large number of Berne Convention countries have enacted takedown notice legislation including the U.S., Australia, China, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Kingdom, to name a few.

National Takedown Notice Requirements: Below are the requirements for takedown notices in a number of major markets that have notice and takedown legislation.

Country

Legislation

Takedown Notice Requirements

United States DMCA (17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(3)(A))
  1. A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the rights holder alleging infringement;
  2. Identification of the copyrighted work(s) claimed to have been infringed;
  3. Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing and wished to be removed or disabled, including any reasonable information that would allow an ISP to locate the material (i.e. website addresses);
  4. Information reasonably sufficient to allow the ISP to contact the rights holder (i.e. address, telephone number, e-mail, etc.);
  5. A statement that the rights holder has a good faith belief that the use of their content is not authorized by the rights holder; and
  6. A statement that the information provided is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
Australia Regulation 20I, Schedule 10, 1969 Copyright Regulations
  1. The statement: “I, the person whose name is stated below, issue this notification for the purposes of condition 3 of item 4 of the table in subsection 116AH(1) of the Copyright Act 1968 and regulation 20(I) of the Copyright Regulations 1969.”
  2. The statement: “I am the owner (or agent of the owner of the copyright) in the copyright material specified in the Schedule [See number 7], being copyright material residing on your system or network.”
  3. (If submitted by a copyright owner) The statement: “I believe, in good faith, that the storage of the specified copyright material on your system or network is not authorized by me or a licensee, or the Copyright Act 1968, and is therefore an infringement of the copyright in that material.”;
  4. (If submitted by a copyright owner’s agent) The statement: “I believe, in good faith, that the storage of the specified copyright material on your system or network is not authorized by the copyright owner or a licensee of the copyright owner, or the Copyright Act 1968, and is therefore an infringement of the copyright in that material”;
  5. (If submitted by a copyright owner’s agent) The statement: “I have taken reasonable steps to ensure that the information and statements in this notice are accurate.”;
  6. The copyright owner or their agent’s name, address, e-mail address, telephone number and fax number; and
  7. An attached schedule to the notice including a description of the copyright material and the location of the infringing content.
China Article 14, Regulations on the Protection of the Right to Network Dissemination of Information Networks
  1. The rights holder’s name, contact information and address;
  2. The titles and website addresses of the infringing content which is requested to be removed or disconnected;
  3. Preliminary evidence of the works’ infringement; and
  4. A request that the service provider remove the infringing content.
Japan Article 3(2)(ii), Act on the Limitation of Liability for Damages of Specified Telecommunications Service Providers and the Right to DemandDisclosure of Identification Information of the Senders
  1. Information on the particular infringement;
  2. Suggested actions to be taken by the ISP;
  3. The rights in the work that are allegedly being infringed;
  4. The reasoning why the rights holder believes that an infringement has taken place; and
  5. The rights holder’s contact information.
South Africa Section 77(1), The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act
  1. The rights owner’s full name, address, telephone and e-mail address (if any);
  2. Identification of the right of the protected work that has been allegedly infringed;
  3. Identification of the material or activity that is claimed to be the subject of the infringement;
  4. The requested remedial action to be taken by the ISP;
  5. A statement that the rights holder is acting in good faith;
  6. A statement by the rights holder that the information in the notification is true and correct to their knowledge; and
  7. The copyright owner’s electronic signature.
United Kingdom Section 124(a)(3), Communications Act 2003
  1. A statement that there appears to have been an infringement of the owner’s copyright in the protected work;
  2. A description of the apparent infringement;
  3. Evidence of the apparent infringement that shows the infringer’s IP address and the time at which the evidence of infringement was gathered;
  4. Notice must be sent to the ISP within one (1) month of when evidence of the infringement; and
  5. The notice complies with any other requirement of the initial obligations code.

Note: Some of these national take down requirements are derived from translations. Rights holders should consult with National Copyright Offices or qualified attorneys in the jurisdictions they wish to enforce their rights in order to confirm these and other take down notice requirements.

Further Issues After a Takedown Notice is Submitted. Finally, it is important to note that there are issues to consider after a takedown notice has been submitted. First, an infringer may respond to a takedown notice by submitting a counter notice attesting to their rights in a protected work, even after their online content or website has been blocked or removed. Also, an ISP may refuse to act after a takedown notice has been submitted. If these circumstances arise, one should consider contacting a qualified attorney to discuss further actions.

Special thanks to co-author Kenneth Louis Strocsher, J.D. Candidate, 2014, Seattle University School of Law.