Supreme Court: commercial breaks violate copyright laws

Supreme Court: commercial breaks violate copyright laws
Sweden’s Supreme Court has ruled in favor of two film directors who had sued TV4 for copyright infringement after the channel ran extended commercial breaks during the directors’ films.

The television station has been ordered to pay 300,000 kronor ($50,000) to film directors Claes Eriksson and the late Vilgot Sjöman to cover legal expenses.

The high court’s ruling affirms decisions by lower courts that a commercial break interrupts a viewer’s film viewing experience. Even if a break is placed at a scene change, it disturbs a director’s intended interplay between scenes, said the court.

Furthermore, commercials can result in a film being longer than a director intended, which isn’t insignificant, according to the court’s ruling.

The Supreme Court also affirmed that the commercial interests behind advertising don’t outweigh the copyright holder’s right to decide how his work is reproduced.

The court concluded therefore, that the commercial interruptions inserted in Sjömans and Erikssons films by TV4 violated the rights of the copyright holders.

However, the court ruled as well that TV4 did not violate the directors’ literary or artistic reputations.