"46 Words as such do not, therefore, constitute elements covered by the protection.
47 That being so, given the requirement of a broad interpretation of the scope of the protection conferred by Article 2 of Directive 2001/29, the possibility may not be ruled out that certain isolated sentences, or even certain parts of sentences in the text in question, may be suitable for conveying to the reader the originality of a publication such as a newspaper article, by communicating to that reader an element which is, in itself, the expression of the intellectual creation of the author of that article. Such sentences or parts of sentences are, therefore, liable to come within the scope of the protection provided for in Article 2(a) of that directive.
48 In the light of those considerations, the reproduction of an extract of a protected work which, like those at issue in the main proceedings, comprises 11 consecutive words thereof, is such as to constitute reproduction in part within the meaning of Article 2 of Directive 2001/29, if that extract contains an element of the work which, as such, expresses the author’s own intellectual creation; it is for the national court to make this determination...
51 In the light of the foregoing, the answer to the first question is that an act occurring during a data capture process, which consists of storing an extract of a protected work comprising 11 words and printing out that extract, is such as to come within the concept of reproduction in part within the meaning of Article 2 of Directive 2001/29, if the elements thus reproduced are the expression of the intellectual creation of their author; it is for the national court to make this determination...
61 The Court finds...that a temporary and transient act of reproduction is intended to enable the completion of a technological process of which it forms an integral and essential part. In those circumstances...those acts of reproduction must not exceed what is necessary for the proper completion of that technological process.
62 Legal certainty for rightholders further requires that the storage and deletion of the reproduction not be dependent on discretionary human intervention, particularly by the user of protected works. There is no guarantee that in such cases the person concerned will actually delete the reproduction created or, in any event, that he will delete it once its existence is no longer justified by its function of enabling the completion of a technological process...
64 In the light of the foregoing, the Court finds that an act can be held to be ‘transient’ within the meaning of the second condition laid down in Article 5(1) of Directive 2001/29 only if its duration is limited to what is necessary for the proper completion of the technological process in question, it being understood that that process must be automated so that it deletes that act automatically, without human intervention, once its function of enabling the completion of such a process has come to an end.
65 In the main proceedings, the possibility cannot be ruled out at the outset that in the first two acts of reproduction at issue in those proceedings, namely the creation of TIFF files and text files resulting from the conversion of TIFF files, may be held to be transient as long as they are deleted automatically from the computer memory.
66 Regarding the third act of reproduction, namely the storing of a text extract of 11 words, the evidence submitted to the Court does not permit an assessment of whether the technological process is automated with the result that that file is deleted promptly and without human intervention from the computer memory. It is for the national court to ascertain whether the deletion of that file is dependent on the will of the user of the reproduction and whether there is a risk that the file might remain stored once the function of enabling completion of the technological process has come to an end.
67 It is common ground, however, that, by the last act of reproduction in the data capture process, Infopaq is making a reproduction outside the sphere of computer technology. It is printing out files containing the extracts of 11 words and thus reproduces those extracts on a paper medium.
68 Once the reproduction has been affixed onto such a medium, it disappears only when the paper itself is destroyed.
69 Moreover, since the data capture process is apparently not likely itself to destroy that medium, the deletion of that reproduction is entirely dependent on the will of the user of that process. It is not at all certain that he will want to dispose of the reproduction, which means that there is a risk that the reproduction will remain in existence for a longer period, according to the user’s needs.
70 In those circumstances, the Court finds that the last act in the data capture process at issue in the main proceedings, during which Infopaq prints out the extracts of 11 words, is not a transient act within the meaning of Article 5(1) of Directive 2001/29...
...the Court (Fourth Chamber) hereby rules:
1. An act occurring during a data capture process, which consists of storing an extract of a protected work comprising 11 words and printing out that extract, is such as to come within the concept of reproduction in part within the meaning of Article 2 of 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, if the elements thus reproduced are the expression of the intellectual creation of their author; it is for the national court to make this determination.
2. The act of printing out an extract of 11 words, during a data capture process such as that at issue in the main proceedings, does not fulfil the condition of being transient in nature as required by Article 5(1) of Directive 2001/29 and, therefore, that process cannot be carried out without the consent of the relevant rightholders."
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
ECJ: 11 words can infringe
According to Outlaw the European Court of Justice has ruled that reproduction of 11-word snippets of news can constitute copyright infringement.