Competition law in copyright exploitation
Produced in partnership with Bristows
Competition law in copyright exploitation

The following IP practice note Produced in partnership with Bristows provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Competition law in copyright exploitation
  • What is copyright?
  • Exhaustion of rights and parallel trade within the EEA
  • Existence v exercise
  • Exhaustion
  • When does exhaustion apply?
  • When does exhaustion not apply?
  • Article 101(1) TFEU and Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998
  • Exclusivity clauses
  • Article 102 TFEU and copyright

As of exit day (31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this Practice Note. For further guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—IP rights.

What is copyright?

Copyright protects the original expression of an author’s ideas, rather than the ideas themselves. It does not confer a monopoly on the copyright holder. Works which are similar or identical to a copyright work can therefore coexist lawfully provided they are not unauthorised copies. In the EU and the UK, copyright applies automatically and does not require registration.

Copyright protection generally covers original: musical, dramatic, literary, and artistic works (all of which must be recorded in some form); sound recordings; films; typographical arrangements of published editions and broadcasts; databases (which may be covered by a database right or copyright); source code, user code and preparatory design material, in certain circumstances a user interface, logic, algorithms or programming languages.

Exhaustion of rights and parallel trade within the EEA

Existence v exercise

Central to the philosophy of the EU are the rules which ensure the free movement of goods between Member States (the free-movement rules). Article 34 TFEU prohibits barriers to cross-border trade in goods within the internal market. Article 36 TFEU provides

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