Trade secrets are one of the most commonly used forms of protection of intellectual creation and innovative know-how by businesses, yet at the same time they are the least protected by the existing Union legal framework against their unlawful acquisition, use or disclosure by other parties.
Infringement of IP rights in the music sector can occur through physical or digital channels (for instance, through the purchase of fake CDs or downloading of illegal content). This sectorial study analyses the effect of piracy on the recorded music industry, independent of the format independently of the infringing good or service. Survey revealed that although citizens recognise the value of IP in principle, they tend to justify their infringements as a consequence of individual circumstances as opposed to the recognition of the principle.
The Act clarifies that WLAN operators are access providers as defined in § 8 TMG. This does not result in any changes in the existing legal position for service providers which offer access to a communications network in accordance with the TKG (Telekommunikationsgesetz, Telecommunications Act). The obligations on these service providers resulting from the TKG continue to apply. In addition, the principle which has already been developed in case-law is codified that holders of WLAN connections are not to be held liable as interferors if they have fulfilled reasonable obligations in order to prevent rights violations. The Act (de) serves to specify the requirements placed on service providers which provide access to the internet via WLAN, irrespective of whether this is for commercial purposes. If the provisions of the Act are obeyed, it is assumed that the WLAN operator has taken the precautions which are reasonable for them in order to prevent third parties from violating rights. In such cases he will not be held liable as the interferor for omission or removal and can also not be warned to desist. The stipulations mentioned in the Act can generally be fulfilled by WLAN operators. However, this does not exclude operators, in certain cases, from also being able to carry out their obligations through other reasonable means. The Act also cites various situations in which it can be assumed that the host provider will be aware of an unlawful act.
Increasingly, online content services are marketed in a package in which content which is not protected by copyright and/or related rights is not separable from content which is protected by copyright and/or related rights without substantially lessening the value of the service provided to consumers.
Option 4 would be achieved through a Regulation setting out common EU rules and replacing national legislation with a legal base of Article 118 TFEU. A single EU copyright title would be developed to replace national copyright titles. Under a unitary title, the exclusive rights would be defined as being protected in the whole territory of the EU.
Territoriality and absolute territorial restrictions in licensing agreements
Under the “country of origin” principle, a service provider can use the licence in its country of origin (possibly obtained from a person holding the rights in that country only) in order to actively market content outside its country of origin as well. When rights are territorially fragmented, e.g. when different persons or entities hold the rights for different Member States, a service provider established in one Member States may therefore undermine the economic position of right holders in other Member States.
Geo-blocking refers to practices used for commercial reasons by online service providers that result in the denial of access to websites based in other Member States or, where the consumer is able to access the website, they are still not able to purchase products or services from it. Sometimes the consumer will be re-routed to a local website with different prices or a different product or service. In other such cases, where the sale is not denied, geo-localising practices – where differing pricing structures are automatically applied based on geographic location – are often used to apply differentiated prices to consumers. Geo-blocking is one of several tools used by companies to segment markets along national borders (territorial restrictions). By limiting consumer opportunities and choice, geo-blocking constitutes a significant cause of consumer frustration and of fragmentation of the Internal Market.
Making the Single Market fit for a digital age requires rapid actions to remove the major differences between the online and offline worlds i.e. breaking down barriers to cross-border online activity. This is the first pillar of actions for the Strategy. Secondly, since all digital services, applications and content depend on the availability throughout Europe of high-speed, secure and trustworthy infrastructures, we need action to create the right regulatory conditions for investment, stimulate competition and ensure a level playing field between market players. Thirdly, breaking down barriers to the Digital Single Market is not enough if businesses in Europe are not in a position to be able to adopt digital technologies. The Strategy supports increased digitalisation of the EU economy, including investment in ICT infrastructures. The Digital Single Market Strategy will therefore be built on the three pillars: