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German Copyright Ruling Could Boost Pastiche Profile, Say Lawyers

Managing Intellectual Property

30 Mar 2022

Christiane Stuetzle spoke to Managing Intellectual Property about a Berlin Regional Court decision in favor of client Martin Eder, a painter who was accused of infringing another artist’s copyright with his work “The Unknowable.”

According to the court, Eder’s depiction of a cherry tree on a lava cliff was a pastiche, meaning it didn’t infringe the copyright of English artist Daniel Conway. The decision is notable as it’s the first application of the pastiche exemption since it was formally enshrined in German copyright law in July 2021.

“Pastiche is like Sleeping Beauty, having finally woken after 21 years,” Christiane said, adding: “The lawmakers acknowledged a new digital reality, so even though pastiche already existed, it now has a totally new importance.”

Christiane predicts that pastiche is likely to become more common as a defense in copyright infringement lawsuits, including in the context of user-generated content.

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