Diritto dei Prodotti Digitali | IT Law

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COMUNICAZIONE DIGITALE | Università degli Studi di Milano

European Court of Justice: privacy, diritto all’oblio e “right to be forgotten”

An internet search engine operator is responsible for the processing that it carries out of personal data which appear on web pages published by third parties. Thus, if, following a search made on the basis of a person’s name, the list of results displays a link to a web page which contains information on the person in question, that data subject may approach the operator directly and, where the operator does not grant his request, bring the matter before the competent authorities in order to obtain, under certain conditions, the removal of that link from the list of results. 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 has the objective of protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons (in particular the right to privacy) when personal data are processed, while removing obstacles to the free flow of such data. The Court of Justice finds, first of all, that by searching automatically, constantly and systematically for information published on the internet, the operator of a search engine ‘collects’ data within the meaning of the directive. The Court further holds that the operator of the search engine is the ‘controller’ in respect of that processing, within the meaning of the directive, given that it is the operator which determines the purposes and means of the processing. So far as concerns, next, the extent of the responsibility of the operator of the search engine, the Court holds that the operator is, in certain circumstances, obliged to remove links to web pages that are published by third parties and contain information relating to a person from the list of results displayed following a search made on the basis of that person’s name. The Court makes it clear that such an obligation may also exist in a case where that name or information is not erased beforehand or simultaneously from those web pages, and even, as the case may be, when its publication in itself on those pages is lawful. The Court points out in this context that processing of personal data carried out by such an operator enables any internet user, when he makes a search on the basis of an individual’s name, to obtain, through the list of results, a structured overview of the information relating to that individual on the internet. The Court observes, furthermore, that this information potentially concerns a vast number of aspects of his private life and that, without the search engine, the information could not have been interconnected or could have been only with great difficulty. However, inasmuch as the removal of links from the list of results could, depending on the information at issue, have effects upon the legitimate interest of internet users potentially interested in having access to that information, the Court holds that a fair balance should be sought in particular between that interest and the data subject’s fundamental rights, in particular the right to privacy and the right to protection of personal data. The Court observes in this regard that, whilst it is true that the data subject’s rights also override, as a general rule, that interest of internet users, this balance may however depend, in specific cases, on the nature of the information in question and its sensitivity for the data subject’s private life and on the interest of the public in having that information, an interest which may vary, in particular, according to the role played by the data subject in public life. Finally, in response to the question whether the directive enables the data subject to request that links to web pages be removed from such a list of results on the grounds that he wishes the information appearing on those pages relating to him personally to be ‘forgotten’ after a certain time, the Court holds that, if it is found, following a request by the data subject, that the inclusion of those links in the list is, at this point in time, incompatible with the directive, the links and information in the list of results must be erased. Read the full judgment  eng | ita

Corte di Giustizia UE: Nintendo, console per videogiochi, drm e “mod chips”

Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society must be interpreted as meaning that the concept of an ‘effective technological measure’, for the purposes of Article 6(3) of that directive, is capable of covering technological measures comprising, principally, equipping not only the housing system containing the protected work, such as the videogame, with a recognition device in order to protect it against acts not authorised by the holder of any copyright, but also portable equipment or consoles intended to ensure access to those games and their use. It is for the national court to determine whether other measures or measures which are not installed in consoles could cause less interference with the activities of third parties or limitations to those activities, while still providing comparable protection of the rightholder’s rights. Accordingly, it is relevant to take account, inter alia, of the relative costs of different types of technological measures, of technological and practical aspects of their implementation, and of a comparison of the effectiveness of those different types of technological measures as regards the protection of the rightholder’s rights, that effectiveness however not having to be absolute. That court must also examine the purpose of devices, products or components, which are capable of circumventing those technological measures.In that regard, the evidence of use which third parties actually make of them will, in the light of the circumstances at issue, be particularly relevant. The national court may, in particular, examine how often those devices, products or components are in fact used in disregard of copyright and how often they are used for purposes which do not infringe copyright. Read the full judgment  eng | ita

Google: ricerca immagini e diritti di utilizzo

Google is making image search more convenient for those who are seeking pictures to use in their publications or personal works — it is letting you sort images by licensing rights under “Search Tools”. Previously, the option to sort search results by licensing rights was found under the “Advanced Image Search Page” and therefore much more inaccessible. In fact, a lot of users might not even have noticed that such an option existed. A minor tweak to its placement will no doubt help to raise awareness. In July last year, Microsoft’s Bing also introduced the option to let users filter image search results by usage rights.

H.265 e MPEG-H: in elaborazione le nuove licenze d’uso per il codec ultra HD

MPEG LA, LLC has announced that a group of 25 companies have agreed on HEVC license terms expected to issue as part of an HEVC Patent Portfolio License in early 2014. High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC, also known as H.265 and MPEG-H Part 2) is a standard designed to improve video coding efficiency for the benefit of Internet and mobile service providers and consumers with increased speed and capacity. HEVC is also expected to deliver next generation higher resolution HDTV video displays for 4K and 8K Ultra High Definition TV (“UHDTV”). “As contemplated, the HEVC license will utilize a modern streamlined pool licensing approach with simple easy-to-understand terms making the technology readily accessible to the largest possible market in the shortest possible time,” said MPEG LA President and CEO Larry Horn. “MPEG LA salutes the cooperation of patent owners who have worked hard to reach common ground in making a joint patent license available for the convenience of HEVC adopters. As a result of their efforts, consumers benefiting from a marketplace of competitive technology choices will be the clear winners”. As work continues on evaluating patents for essentiality and concluding terms in final agreements, the license is currently supported by 25 prospective HEVC essential patent holders including Apple Inc., Cisco Technology Inc., Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Hitachi Maxell ltd., JVC Kenwood corp., LG Electronics inc. and NEC corp. In its effort to include as much essential intellectual property as possible in one license for the benefit of the marketplace, MPEG LA continues to welcome the submission of issued patents for an evaluation of their essentiality to the HEVC Standard.

Yahoo v Facebook: brevetti e social network

The escalating war between technology companies over intellectual property, that has already swept up the smartphone and tablet sectors and high-tech stalwarts such as Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., Samsung, RIM, and others, reaches the social media stage.
Yahoo says it owns patents for as many as 20 technologies used by Facebook, that include online advertising social networking, privacy controlling, and messaging. “Yahoo has a responsibility to its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders to protect its intellectual property. We must insist that Facebook either enter into a licensing agreement or we will be compelled to move forward unilaterally to protect our rights” the company said. Patent fights are nothing new in Silicon Valley, with the realm of smartphones having become the most visible backdrop for such battles. Google paid $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility last year largely to get access to the phone maker’s intellectual property. And a consortium of companies led by Apple and Microsoft paid $4.5 billion for more than 6,000 patents held by Nortel, the defunct communications equipment maker.