Austrian Courts Uphold Creative Commons License Terms — For Now
from the but-it's-not-over-yet dept
Last week, Mike wrote about an important case involving one of the Creative Commons licenses. The fact that some 15 years after the CC movement started and the courts are still trying to bring legal clarity to the use of CC licenses is further proof that the law tends to lag far behind technology. Given their rarity, it’s interesting to see another recent case involving a CC license, this time in Austria, pointed out by Alan Toner on his blog.
As the timeline (in German) of the events indicates, the story began in January 2014, when thousands of left-wing protesters demonstrated against a ball organized by the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), held annually in Vienna. Following attacks on property and the police during the protest, one person was arrested, and in June 2014 his trial began.
The left-wing film collective Filmpiraten published a couple of short videos relating to the person involved. Shortly afterwards, the FP? used excerpts from the two Filmpiraten videos as part of a report published on its YouTube channel. The FPÖ video was released under the standard YouTube license, which claims full copyright in the material. However, both the Filmpiraten videos used a Creative Commons license — specifically, the BY-NC-SA license. Under its terms, others may use the material free of charge, but are required to release the resulting work under the same CC license.
The FPÖ video did not respect that condition, so Filmpiraten’s lawyers sent a letter asking for its material not to be used. The FPÖ responded by taking Filmpiraten to court, demanding €35,000 (about $40,000) in compensation for what it said were false accusations about its use of copyrighted material. The court case finally began in February 2015, and in July 2016 the judge ruled in favor of Filmpiraten, effectively upholding the Creative Commons license.
One worrying aspect of the case is that Filmpiraten struggled to find the resources to conduct such an expensive and time-consuming legal battle. As a spokesperson for the organization told the Austrian site futurezone, that may be why the FPÖ has adopted this approach — and why it is now appealing to a higher court in an attempt to get the judge’s ruling overturned.