Photo: Creative Commons by Karin Dalziel
TechnoLlama is reporting that a Belgian court upheld a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works licence. Quoting Professor Séverine Dussollier of the University of Namur, TechnoLlama says:

A Belgian court today has applied the CC license to a copyright infringement suit. I attach the judgement (in French). The facts were simple, a music band had posted on its website some music under a CC license Non commercial – No derivative works. A theater adapted the music to make an advertisement for their theatrical season. The ad was broadcast on the national radio several times (with no attribution).
The band refused the damages that the theater proposed (1500 €) and decided to sue for copyright infringement.

The court acknowledged the licensing under the CC license and the fact that the theater did not respect any of the license features:

  • no attribution was made
  • the music was slightly modified for the ad
  • the advertisement, even for a theater was a commercial use prohibited by the license.

The theater defended itself by arguing a mistake (the court said that as a professional of the cultural sector, they should pay more attention to licensing conditions) and its good faith (traditionally not accepted in Belgian as a defense to copyright infringement).
But the court denied to the band the amount of damages they reclaimed (around 10.000 €- and only granted 4500€ (i.e. 1500€ for each attribute of the license that was not respected), considering that it was paradoxical to license works under a CC license and a non-commercial ideology but demanding a price that would be higher than commercial conditions…

This case adds to the growing body of case law from around the world that have upheld the CC licences. Made all the more valuable by the fact that Belgium is a civil law jurisdiction. TechnoLlama is hosting the full text of the decision is here (in French) and it is also available on Scribd.

Credits—Photo: Adaptation (crop and resize) of ‘Creative Commons‘ by Karin Dalziel, CC BY 2.0 Generic.