Newmedia-law.com is a blog about Media Law and Intellectual Property Law, focused on new legal developments in Belgian and European law. The blog is fed by Bart Van Besien, a lawyer at Finnian & Columba in Belgium. Do not hesitate to contact me for any question or legal problem you may have in relation to Media Law or Intellectual Property Law (such as copyright, trademarks, patents, domain names or confidentiality issues) in Belgium, the Benelux or the European Union (EU).
How can you register a Benelux trademark?
If you want to register a Benelux trademark, you can apply directly for your trademark online on the site of the BOIP. The Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) is the official body for the registration of trademarks and designs in the Benelux. Completion of all formalities takes on average 4 to 6...
Analysis of the New Belgian Copyright Act
In the course of 2014, the Belgian Copyright Act will be integrated into the new "Code of Economic Law." It is the intention of the Belgian lawmakers to bring all federal economic legislation, including copyright but excluding trademark law (which is covered by the Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property)...
US court finds that Google Books does not infringe copyright
The District Court's decision of 14 November 2013 in the case of Authors Guild v. Google is a major victory for Google, and a serious blow for the Authors Guild and other opponents of Google Books. In 2004, Google announced agreements with several research libraries in the US and abroad to digitally...
The Essential Guide to Belgian Copyright Law
Economic rights and moral rights The Belgian Copyright Act makes a basic distinction between moral rights and economic rights. Moral rights are an author's right to disclose his or her work ("divulgation right"), the right to claim or refuse authorship of the work ("paternity right"), and the right to...
Copiepresse versus Google: a legal analysis of news aggregation and copyright infringement under Belgian law
A couple of days ago, my article on "Copiepresse versus Google" was published in the Belgian law review 'Revue du Droit des Technologies de l'Information' (R.D.T.I.). My article examines the legal dispute between Copiepresse and Google before the Belgian courts. This dispute focused on the question whether...
What are the risks of copyright infringement on Pinterest?
Copyright infringements are widespread on Pinterest. People very frequently 'pin' pictures that they just plucked from the internet, without giving any regard to possible copyright consequences. The problem is that those pictures often are under copyright protection, and are not freely available under Creative...
Copyright and social media: rules of thumb under Belgian law
Do the rules of copyright apply to social media as well? The answer is 'yes, they do', though there is often some more room for flexibility when it comes to their practical application. Few court cases on copyright and social media First, it is important to note that there are very few court cases...
How to protect your trademark in Belgium (and the Benelux)?
How can you protect your trademark from improper use, infringement or degeneration? Here are some practical tips and tricks to help you protect your trademark. Effectively use your trademark in the course of your business. Once your trademark is registered, it is important to effectively use it. A trademark that...
Tips for choosing a good trademark
A good trademark should meet some specific legal requirements. This article will give you practical advice on selecting a good and legally sound trademark. Choose a distinctive trademark. In the first place, make sure that your trademark is distinctive enough. Your trademark should be used to set your goods...
Guide to Benelux trademarks
Trademarks often list among the most valuable assets of your business. Therefore, it is important to properly protect your trademarks from infringement or generification. Below is an essential guide to trademark law in the Benelux, to help you properly protect your Benelux trademarks. Different types of...
The essential 'who is who' of media policy in Belgium
Parliaments involved in media policy. The main legislatures in the field of the media policy are the Community Parliaments, i.e. the Flemish Parliament and the Parliament of the French Community. The majority of media-related legislation concerns audiovisual media, rather than the written press or the Internet. These rules on audiovisual media are passed by the Community Parliaments. The Federal Belgian Parliament is responsible for indirect state subsidies, copyright legislation and telecommunications policy (including satellite reception and terrestrial networks). Executive state branches and media policy The executive state powers for media policy rest with the Community Governments, i.e., on the Flemish side, the staff members of the personal cabinet of the responsible Minister and the ‘Flemish Ministry for Culture, Youth, Sports and Media’; and, on the French-language side, the personal cabinet of the responsible Minister...
Right of reply in Belgian media: all you need to know
The Belgian Act of 23 June 1961 on the right of reply grants a broad right of reply to any individual or corporation named or implicitly referred to in a newspaper or a magazine, and a more limited right of reply to any individual or corporation named or implicitly referred to in an audiovisual broadcasting (i.e., radio or television). The Act on the right of reply does not apply to electronic versions of newspapers and other internet-based media. Several legislative proposals aimed at applying similar rules to electronic media have failed so far, but journalistic self-regulation to some extent covers an electronic right of reply. The right of reply on radio and television In other words, there are distinct rules applicable to the right of reply depending on the type of media outlet. In the case of audiovisual broadcasts, the claimant must prove a personal interest in the reply and the right of reply consists only in the right...
Parliament publishes recommendations on freedom of expression and freedom of the press
The Parliament of the French Community of Belgium (also called the Parliament of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels) is currently holding its ‘States General of the Information Media’ (‘Etats généraux des médias d’information’), during which various media players and experts come together with politicians and policy makers, in order to identify the most urgent questions for the Belgian (French-language) media. The discussions focus on possible strategies to improve the economic situation of the media; the education, training and working conditions of journalists; and the regulatory framework on freedom of expression and freedom of the press. The concluding report on freedom of expression and press freedom has just been published. The text of the report and the recommendations formulated by the experts is available for download here. Bart Van Besien has testified before the Parliament's Committee and is referred to at various...
Shopping online – what are your rights under Belgian law?
Shopping online offers you greater choice and savings. Under Belgian law (and EU law), you also enjoy a set of basic consumer rights. Here is an overview of your legal rights when you buy goods or services on the internet. The "distance selling" rules apply not only to online shopping, but also to other purchases outside a traditional shop (e.g. by telephone or mail order). In essence, these rules protect consumers in their relation with professional traders. In other words, the protection rules apply if a consumer buys online from a professional supplier, but not if the buyer is a professional himself (if he or she uses the goods or services for professional purposes) or if the seller is not a professional (for instance, in case of second-hand goods bought from non-professional sellers). Also, specific (but similar) rules apply to particular goods and services such as contracts for financial services, contracts for the supply...
ContactBart Van Besien
Finnian & Columba
K. De Deckerstraat 20A
2800 Mechelen, Belgium
+32 486 626 355
+32 15 29 42 57
Bart Van Besien appointed as Arbiter in domain name disputes by ADNDRC
On 25th July 2014, Bart Van Besien was appointed as an Arbiter ('Panelist') in domainname disputes...
EU survey on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries
The European Union's Observatory on Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights recently...
Appointment as arbitrator (panelist) in domain name disputes with Forum (USA) and Cepani (Belgium)
It is a pleasure to announce that I have been appointed as an arbitrator ('panelist' or...
Different ways for a trademark owner to claim back a domain name (gTLD)
If you are a trademark owner, and you find that someone else has registered a domain name identical...
Domain name disputes in Belgium: how to claim back a “.be” domain name?
In this article, I summarize the different ways to recover a Belgian “.be” internet domain...
How to claim back a .eu domain name?
In this article, I summarize how you can recover a .eu domain name. A .eu domain name can be...
New book published: "Media Policies Revisited" by E. Psychogiopoulou
With a contribution by Bart Van Besien and Pierre-François Docquir "Changing Conditions of...
Review of the EU’s proposal for a new data protection regulation
Under E.U. law, personal data can only be gathered under strict conditions. Those who collect and...
EU Commission launches public consultation on copyright reform
The European Commission recently launched a public consultation to gather public input on the...
Facebook 'Like' is protected free speech under First Amendment says US court
The US Fourth Circuit Court of appeals ruled last Wednesday that a 'like' on Facebook is protected...