Monthly commercial law update: Top 5 developments in September

Welcome to the latest top 5 commercial law developments as chosen by the team at Comet for the month of September.   It's good to know that the Supreme Court has taken a sensible view and confirmed that failure by a trader to give written notice of the right to cancel a contract made at the customer’s house did not deprive a consumer of the statutory right to cancel under relevant regulations.  For more on this and developments in the world of media read on.

Advertising and marketing: Gambling Commission issues guidance on changes to law on advertising gambling

The Gambling Commission has issued a quick guide on changes to the law on gambling advertising expected to take effect from 1 October 2014 as a result of the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014. The changes will affect gambling operators who advertise to consumers in Great Britain, and those who carry advertising such as broadcasters, publishers and sports clubs. From 1 October 2014, only gambling operators licensed by the Gambling Commission will be permitted to advertise to consumers in Great Britain or provide them with remote gambling facilities. Advertisements must comply with the Commission's Licence conditions and codes of practice, as well as the CAP Code, s 16 Gambling and BCAP Code, s 17 Gambling.

Consumer protection: Supreme Court rules on doorstep selling

The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal in the case of Robertson v Swift [2014] All ER (D) 45 (Sep) [2014] UKSC 50. The proceedings involved a contract made in the customer's home that the customer had purported to cancel. The trader charged him a cancellation fee and refused to refund his deposit. The Supreme Court ruled in the customer's favour, holding that a failure by a trader to give written notice of the right to cancel did not deprive a consumer of the statutory right to cancel under the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer's Home, or Place of Work etc Regulations 2008 SI 2008/1816. The 2008 Regulations have now been replaced by The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 SI 2013/3134.

Data protection: ICO issues guidance on media and data protection

The Information Commissioner (ICO) has issued its guide on data protection and journalism. The guide follows the Leveson Inquiry and explains how the Data Protection Act 1998 applies to journalism. It sets out the basic principles and obligations, advises on good practice, and clarifies how an exemption for journalism works to protect freedom of expression. It also explains what happens when someone complains, and the role and powers of the ICO. It is intended to help the media understand and comply with data protection law and follow good practice, while recognising the vital importance of a free and independent media. It highlights key data protection issues, and also explains why the Data Protection Act 1998 does not prevent responsible journalism.

Intellectual property: CJEU rules on authors' rights over 'discriminatory' parody

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled in Johan Deckmyn and Vrijheidsfonds VZW v Helena Vandersteen and Others (Case C-201/13) that a parody of an original work must strike a balance between the interests and rights of the author and the freedom of expression of the person who wishes to produce the parody to comply with the Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC). The case concerned a copyright infringement claim over the use of a 1960s comic character. The CJEU declared that, if a parody conveys a discriminatory message, in this case by replacing the original characters with people showing particular ethnic traits, those who hold the rights to the work parodied have a legitimate interest in ensuring their work is not associated with such a message. It will now be for the national court to determine, in the circumstances of this case, whether the application of the exception for parody does strike a fair balance between the differing interests of the persons concerned. 

Media: new press regulator

The Independent Press Standards Organisation has replaced the Press Complaints Commission as the press and magazine regulator. IPSO aims to uphold the highest standards of journalism by monitoring and maintaining the standards set out in the Editors' Code of Practice, and provide support and redress for individuals seeking to complain about breaches of the Code. IPSO says that it is committed to working with the newspaper and magazine industry to maintain and enhance the freedom and authority of the press through effective, independent regulation. The development of IPSO follows the Leveson inquiry and the establishment of a Royal Charter and has been criticised as lacking independence and sanctions especially as not all newspapers have signed up to it with notable exceptions being the Financial Times and the Guardian.

To receive all of the developments highlighted in our monthly round-up for free along with other exclusive content courtesy of our new Comet newsletter enter your name and email address in the box on the right hand side of this page. In the meantime if you have any thoughts on the above developments, do let us know below.


Area of Interest