ContractAlert - 4 February 2013

Freedom v copyright

The UK government is planning to strengthen rights to use copyright materials without permission. Most notably, a new private copying right for digital works will be introduced.  See: summary and details. Due for implementation in October 2013.

"Take or pay" in IT consultancy

The High Court has ruled that a contract clause requiring a customer for IT consultancy services to buy at least 500 days of consultancy per year was enforceable. However, in other circumstances such a clause may be unenforceable. The key lesson from the case is that "take or pay" clauses should specify that money owed under the clause are recoverable as a debt. Still, that may not be enough to bring the clause outside the scope of the rule against penalties. There is a good summary of the decision on the SCL website.

Copyright in a programming language?

In SAS v WPL Mr Justice Arnold has expressed the view (obiter) that a programming language is just not the sort of thing in which copyright can subsist. See the summary of the case.

Cookie non-compliance

According to a report from TRUSTe, only 12% of the UK's top 50 sites have taken steps to comply with the cookies laws introduced in May 2011, but nominally enforced from May 2012.

While the UK ICO has relaxed its approach to cookie compliance on its own website, Google has found itself on the wrong end of a cookie-related lawsuit. A timely reminder that the ICO's word on this subject is not always the last word.

Royalties up to standard?

Finally, if you've ever wondered whether the royalties you were paying / receiving under an IP licence were "standard", read this post from Mark Anderson and find out.