After the EU Copyright Directive was passed by the EU Parliament last month (see our original blog post for further details), it was formally approved by the Council of the European Union on April 15, 2019. Nineteen EU member states, including Germany, France and the UK, voted in favor. Six member states – namely Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden – voted against the Directive, while three countries abstained from the vote.
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In today’s interconnected, “always-on” environment, it is easy to forget how dependent we all are on records and, more importantly, on the people we trust to make these records correctly and to hold them securely. One solution has been the “trusted third party,” who maintains a single ledger for a group. Blockchain is another solution. From a legal perspective, there are challenges with both the blockchain technology and the idea of adopting smart contracts. Mayer Brown partner Oliver Yaros shares his insights as part of our Tech Talks video series.
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After several months of delay and heated political discussion among all German parties about the scope of protection regarding journalists, whistleblowers and employees, the German parliament adopted the Federal Government’s draft Trade Secrets Act on 21 March 2019. This act implements Directive (EU) 2016/943 of the European Parliament on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure into national German law with the aim of establishing a homogenous protection of trade secrets.
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On 26 March 2019, following a lengthy process, the European Parliament has given final approval to the Copyright Directive, aimed at the modernization of the EU copyright regime. Members of parliament voted 348 in favor of the law and 274 against. Before voting on the reform proposal, a vote was held on whether or not to address proposed amendments – notably the exclusion of the law’s most debated clause, Article 13 or the “upload filter.” Members of parliament opposed a decision on the proposed amendments, in a close vote with 312 in favor but 317 against addressing any amendments.
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On 21 March 2019, Advocate General (AG) Maciej Szpunar delivered his opinion on a number of questions which, inter alia, relate to the validity of consent to cookies “by way of a pre-checked checkbox” (Case C 673/17). While the questions referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) primarily related to provisions of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive (2002/58/EG), the AG stated that the principles established in his opinion were equally valid for the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
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On 20 December 2018, the German Federal Court of Justice confirmed that photographs of public domain paintings ‎are, in principle, protected by a copyright-related right in section 72 of the German Copyright Act (Case No. I ZR 104/17). The case involved a request to take down several pictures hosted on Wikimedia Commons—an online database of works distributed under Creative Commons licenses—as public domain images. All pictures featured art on display at the Reiss Engelhorn Museum in Mannheim, Germany.
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On 13 February 2019, the data protection officer for the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg published a guideline on password security under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The guideline aims to advise data controllers (e.g., service providers, administrators) on how to set up effective password policies and securely store passwords, and data subjects (users) on how to choose secure passwords.
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According to recent press reports, since the EU General Data protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May 2018, German data protection authorities have issued 41 GDPR-related fines. The highest fine in a single case is reported to have been EUR 80,000, and the majority of fines (33) originated from the state of North-Rhine Westphalia.
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On 12 February 2019, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) adopted an information note “on data transfers under the GDPR in the event of a no-deal Brexit.” According to the note, as of 30 March 2019, transfers of personal data from the European Economic Area (EEA) to the UK must be based either on Standard or ad hoc Data Protection Clauses, Binding Corporate Rules, Codes of Conduct, Certification Mechanisms or Derogations.
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Regulation (EU) 2019/5, which was published a few days ago in the Official Journal of the European Union, amends the EU pharmaceutical legal framework by firstly complementing new Regulation 2019/6 on veterinary products that repeals Directive 2001/82/EC on veterinary medicinal products and incorporating the provisions on veterinary products contained in Regulation 726/2004 (in particular, Articles 30 to 45), thereby
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