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Article

The Elusive Quest for Digital Exhaustion in the US and the EU

The CJEU’s Tom Kabinet Ruling a Milestone or Millstone for Legal Evolution?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords digital exhaustion, Tom Kabinet, UsedSoft, ReDigi, copyright law
Authors Shubha Ghosh and Péter Mezei
AbstractAuthor's information

    The CJEU published its much-awaited preliminary ruling in Case C-263/18 - Nederlands Uitgeversverbond and Groep Algemene Uitgevers (the Tom Kabinet case) in December 2019. Our paper aims to introduce the Tom Kabinet ruling and discuss its direct and indirect consequences in copyright law. The Tom Kabinet ruling has seriously limited (in fact, outruled) the resale of lawfully acquired e-books. It left various questions unanswered, and thus missed the opportunity to provide for clarity and consistency in digital copyright law. Our analysis addresses how the CJEU deferred from its own logic developed in the UsedSoft decision on the resale of lawfully acquired computer programs, and how the CJEU’s conservative approach ultimately missed the opportunity to reach a compromise ruling. The paper further introduces the US approach that has a strong distinction between selling and making with respect to the research of exhaustion. We aim to trace how this distinction rests on the statutory basis for exhaustion (in copyright) and common law basis (in patent and trademark law) and compare these findings with the CJEU’s recent interpretation of exhaustion. Our focus will be on the Supreme Court’s decisions in Kirstaeng and Bowman and lower court decisions that examine technological solutions to facilitate resale. We examine how the US approach adopts a rigid approach that might inhibit technological development in digital markets, an approach with parallels in the Tom Kabinet ruling. In conclusion, we assess whether there is convergence between the two sides of the Atlantic or whether there is a path of innovative legal development that reconciles the various precedents.


Shubha Ghosh
Shubha Ghosh: Crandall Melvin professor of law, Syracuse University, US.

Péter Mezei
Péter Mezei: associate professor of law, University of Szeged; adjunct professor (dosentti), University of Turku, Finland.
Article

The Impact of the Achmea Ruling on Intra-EU BIT Investment Arbitration

A Hungarian Perspective

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Achmea, Intra-EU BIT, investment arbitration, investment protection, Hungary
Authors Veronika Korom
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Achmea judgment of the CJEU brought the worlds of EU law and investment arbitration on a collision course. The judgment sent shockwaves through the EU investment arbitration community, which feared that Achmea would be the death knell of intra-EU BIT arbitration. In the years since Achmea, however, arbitral tribunals, ad hoc committees and national courts have found ways around Achmea, effectively eliminating its practical impact on intra-EU investment disputes. On 5 May 2020, the majority of EU Member States adopted a multilateral agreement that seeks to terminate intra-EU BITs and provides for a transitional regime for pending arbitrations in order to give effect to Achmea. This agreement, once ratified, will mark the end of intra-EU BIT arbitration in the future, although its impact on pending proceedings remains unclear. With its 22 intra-EU BITs and several arbitration proceedings pending under these treaties, Hungary has relied heavily (albeit unsuccessfully thus far) on Achmea in recent years as part of its defense strategy. The final termination of intra-EU BITs will be a win for Hungary in the short term, as no new investment arbitrations can be pursued by EU investors against Hungary. In the long term, however, the termination of intra-EU BITs will leave Hungarian companies who invest in the EU without sound legal protection and may even adversely impact Hungary’s standing as an attractive place for EU investment.


Veronika Korom
Veronika Korom: assistant professor of law, ESSEC Business School.
Case Notes

The Hungarian Constitutional Court’s Decision on the Protection of Groundwater

Decision No. 13/2018. (IX. 4.) AB of the Constitutional Court of Hungary

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords environmental impact assessment, precautionary principle, non-derogation principle, Constitutional Court of Hungary, groundwater
Authors Gábor Kecskés
AbstractAuthor's information

    On 28 August 2018, the Constitutional Court of Hungary delivered a milestone decision [Decision No. 13/2018. (IX. 4.) AB] in relation to the protection of groundwater with reference to the general protection of the environment as a constitutionally protected value. The President of the Republic pointed out in his petition to the Constitutional Court that two sections of the draft legislation are contrary to the Fundamental Law by violating Articles B(1), P(1) and XXI(1) of the Fundamental Law by permitting water abstraction with much lower standards. Adopted by the majority along with concurring and dissenting opinions, the decision is an important judicial achievement in the general framework of constitutional water and environmental protection. It also confirms the non-derogation principle elaborated by the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court had the opportunity and an ‘open mind’ to take into consideration numerous sources of scientific professional evidence on the stock of water and groundwater abstraction. The decision was acclaimed for its environmental orientation, and even more, for developing the 25-year old standards of constitutional review in environmental matters by elaborating on the implicit substance of several articles enshrined in the new Fundamental Law (e.g. Articles P and XXI).


Gábor Kecskés
Gábor Kecské: research fellow, Eötvös Loránd Research Network, Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies, Budapest; associate professor of law, Széchenyi István University, Győr.
Article

The ECtHR’s Grand Chamber Judgment in Ilias and Ahmed Versus Hungary: A Practical and Realistic Approach

Can This Paradigm Shift Lead the Reform of the Common European Asylum System?

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2020
Keywords ECHR, Hungarian transit zone, deprivation of liberty, concept of safe third country, Common European Asylum System
Authors Ágnes Töttős
AbstractAuthor's information

    The judgment of the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR in Ilias and Ahmed v. Hungary reflected a big turn of the ECtHR towards a practical and realistic approach. Although the Grand Chamber found that Hungary by choosing to use inadmissibility grounds and expel the applicants to Serbia failed to carry out a thorough assessment of the Serbian asylum system, including the risk of summary removal, contrary to the Chamber it found that a confinement of 23 days in 2015 did not constitute a de facto deprivation of liberty. This paradigm shift is already visible in further decisions of the Court, and it could even serve as a basis for a new direction when reforming the Common European Asylum System.


Ágnes Töttős
Ágnes Töttős: lecturer, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; JHA counselor responsible for migration and asylum issues at the Permanent Representation of Hungary to the EU, Brussels.
Article

From Kásler to Dunai

A Brief Overview of Recent Decisions of the CJEU in Hungarian Cases Concerning Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords preliminary ruling, consumer protection, unfair terms, Directive 93/13/EEC, consumer loan contract
Authors Miklós Zoltán Fehér
AbstractAuthor's information

    The CJEU was recently called upon to interpret Council Directive 93/13/EEC on unfair terms in consumer contracts in relation to consumer loan contracts denominated in a foreign currency and in relation to the legislation adopted by the Hungarian Parliament in 2014 concerning such contracts in several Hungarian preliminary ruling procedures. The decisions of the CJEU, starting with the judgment rendered in case C-26/13, Kásler and Káslerné Rábai, have not only contributed to the ever-evolving case-law relating to Directive 93/13/EEC but also provided national jurisdictions with useful guidance on the interpretation and application of the Directive in the specific area of consumer loan contracts concluded in a foreign currency, an area of prolific litigation before Hungarian courts in recent years. The CJEU also evaluated the Hungarian legislation adopted in 2014 to deal with certain issues relating to such contracts and seemed to approve of its conformity with Directive 93/13/EEC in a series of decisions up until the judgment made in case C-117/18, Dunai. In that judgment, however, the findings of the CJEU may have been based on a misinterpretation of the content of national legislation, leading to a perhaps erroneous conclusion and most certainly prompting a re-emergence of controversies before national courts.


Miklós Zoltán Fehér
Head of Department at the Hungarian Ministry of Justice, Agent of the Hungarian Government before the CJEU.

Írisz E. Horváth
Associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.

Gyula Bándi
Professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; Ombudsman for Future Generations.

Yseult Marique
Free University of Brussels (ULB), University of Essex and FÖV Speyer.

Kris Wauters
Free University of Brussels (ULB), University of Essex and FÖV Speyer, Catholic University of Louvain (UC Louvain) and attorney-at-law.

    The Lisbon Treaty introduced the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), a brand new tool of transnational participatory democracy aiming to bring Europe closer to the people. Five years after the first ECI was lodged, we have yet to see an ECI that would pass the full procedure and end up as a proposal for a legal act. The European Commission (hereinafter: Commission) refused to register almost one third of the initiatives lodged on the basis that they fall manifestly outside the framework of the Commission’s powers to submit a proposal for a legal act. The organizers of the refused Minority SafePack ECI challenged the Commission’s decision before the Court of Justice of the European Union. The General Court approved the claims of the organizers of an ECI for the first time in this case. The General Court’s findings with regard to the Commission’s duty to give proper reasoning with respect to the refusal of an ECI may be a small but important step in achieving the goals of the ECI.
    In July 2013 the Citizens Committee of the ‘Minority SafePack – one million signatures for diversity in Europe’ European Citizens’ Initiative (MSPI) submitted its proposal to the European Commission. The aim of the proposal was to call upon the EU to improve the protection of persons belonging to national and linguistic minorities and strengthen cultural and linguistic diversity in the Union. The European Commission refused to register the initiative by its Decision C(2013) 5969 final of September 13, 2013 (hereinafter: the contested decision) on the grounds that it manifestly fell outside the powers of the Commission to submit a proposal for the adoption of a legal act of the European Union for the purpose of implementing the Treaties of the European Union (hereinafter: Treaties). As a result, the organizers could not even start collecting signatures for the MSPI. In November 2013, the decision of the Commission was brought before the General Court. The General Court with its judgment on February 3, 2017 approved the claims of the applicants and annulled the contested decision (hereinafter: Judgement). This was the first time the claims of the organizers of an ECI were approved by the Court of Justice of the European Union in relation to the rejection of the Commission’s decision.


Balázs Tárnok
PhD researcher at Pázmány Péter Catholic University Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, Budapest.

Árpád Varga
Research fellow, Institute for Media Studies of the Media Council, Budapest.
Article

Piecemeal Harmonization of European Civil Law

The Case of Limitation Periods in the Antitrust Damages Directive

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2016
Authors Miriam Buiten
Author's information

Miriam Buiten
PhD candidate, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Péter Fáykiss
Péter Fáykiss is the Head of the Macro-prudential policy department at the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB), the central bank of Hungary. He graduated at Corvinus University of Budapest in 2009. After graduation, he joined MNB, where he worked as analyst at the Financial Stability Department. Between 2013 and 2014 he worked as Deputy Head of Financial Services Department at the Ministry for National Economy, and was responsible inter alia for the implementation of CRD IV in Hungary.

Dániel Papp
Dr. Daniel Papp is member of the Macro-prudential policy department at the Magyar Nemzeti Bank as a legal advisor. He graduated at ELTE law school in 2012. After having supervisory experience at the former Hungarian Financial Supervisory Authority, he was enrolled at LUND University for a postgraduate law course, called European Business Law (LL.M.). He made extensive research on the forming European supervisory framework, since his master thesis was about the Single Supervisory Mechanism and the Assessment of Hungary’s Possible Approach.

Anikó Szombati
Anikó Szombati leads the Macroprudential Directorate of Magyar Nemzeti Bank, the central bank of Hungary. This Directorate is responsible for the fulfillment of tasks originating from the Central Bank Act recognizing MNB as the macro-prudential authority of Hungary. The macro-prudential authority’s major task is to identify and mitigate system-wide risks in the financial intermediary system. The Directorate also contributes to the formulation of central bank opinion in major structural issues related to the financial sector developed either at EU or at the country level.

Ágnes Töttős
Legal expert, Ministry of Interior – Department of European Cooperation, Hungary.

Mart Susi
Docent of Public Law, Head of International Research Center of Fundamental Rights, Tallinn University Law School.

Levente Nyakas
Head of Institute, Institute of Media Studies (Budapest).

Tamas Dezso Ziegler
Research fellow, Hungarian Academy of Sciences – Institute for Legal Studies of the Centre for Social Sciences.

Catherine Barnard
Catherine Barnard, MA (Cantab), L.LM. (EUI), Ph.D. (Cantab), is a Professor in European Union and Employment Law at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Trinity College. She specialises in EU law, employment law and discrimination law. She is co-director of the Centre for European Legal Studies at Cambridge, and the author of EU Employment Law (4th edn) OUP, Oxford, 2012 and The Substantive Law of the EU: The Four Freedoms (4th edn.), OUP, Oxford, 2013.

Ernő Várnay
Head of Department of European and International Law, University of Debrecen, Chair Jean Monnet in European Law, Graduated in Law (Szeged), Economics (Budapest) and European Studies (Nancy).
Article

The Personal Law of Companies and the Freedom of Establishment under EU Law

The Enthronement of the Country-of-origin Principle and the Establishment of an Unregulated Right of Cross-Border Conversion

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2013
Authors Csongor István Nagy
Author's information

Csongor István Nagy
Doctor juris (Budapest), LL.M. (Budapest/New York), Ph.D. (Budapest), SJD (Budapest/New York). Associate professor at and head of the Private International Law Department of the University of Szeged (Hungary), associate professor at Budapest University of Technology and Economics (Hungary), and head of the International and EU Law Department of the István Bibó College of Law (Budapest) and visiting associate professor at the Sapientia University in Cluj-Napoca (Romania). The author was a visiting fellow at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (London) at the time the paper was completed.
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