Welcome to the January 2014 edition of ContractAlert.
Defamation law update
The Defamation Act 2013 and associated regulations came into force on 1 January 2014. They bring a number of major changes to UK defamation law.
I'll be writing on the SEQ Legal blog about some of these changes next week.
Software functionality not copyrightable
The Court of Appeal confirmed in SAS Institute Inc v World Programming Ltd that software functionality – as opposed to software code – may be copied without infringing copyright. Moreover, a software licence cannot prevent the licensee from studying software in order to replicate it. A sensible result, if not a surprise for copyright professionals.
Fine spam news
The Information Commissioner's Office has fined payday loans company First Financial £175,000 in connection with the sending of millions of SMS messages without consent. In excess of 4,000 complaints were received by the ICO.
Separately, a fine of £300,000 imposed by the ICO against Christopher Niebel in respect of unsolicited SMS messages was overturned by the Information Rights Tribunal, which found that that the messages had not caused enough damage or distress to warrant the penalty. The ICO is appealing.
New copyright exceptions
UK copyright law will be changing on 6 April 2014. In the name of deregulation, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills plans to introduce no less than nine separate sets of regulations to amend the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. These new laws will likely cover:
EU copyright developments
In parallel, the European Commission has launched a consultation on the updating of the EU's copyright laws, and will be considering whether to push for unification and total harmonisation of EU copyright law. At present, copyright remains a national right, albeit those national rights have been partially harmonised across the EU.
Contributions must be submitted to the Commission by 5 February 2014.
SEQ Legal templates
New templates since the last ContractAlert include specialist terms and conditions for financial websites, legal websites, club websites, Q&A websites, school websites and news websites. See:
Comments and questions
If you have any comments or questions about ContractAlert, please contact Alasdair Taylor by email to email@example.com. To unsubscribe, click the link below.
Copyright © 2007-2017 SEQ Legal LLP.