The Eastern High Court has increased the city court ruling concerning the newspaper BT's violation of the copyrights to Ninka's book on Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
In 2012, the Court of Frederiksberg awarded damages of DKK 250,000 to the publishing company Kastaniehøj for BT's violation of the copyrights to the book. BT unsuccessfully appealed against the ruling, as the Eastern High Court also found that the damages awarded were appropriate. Further, the High Court found that the violation of the copyrights was of such significance that the journalists as well as the former chief editor were also to pay a penalty of DKK 5,000.
The reason for the case was that, on 22 May 2011, BT had published eight major transcripts from the book about Helle Thorning-Schmidt - at that time, the opposition leader - without obtaining consent and contrary to the citation rules. The transcripts were taken from a copy of the book that BT had received for review, and they were published in the newspaper two days before the book was going to be released. The transcripts concerned a large number of central sections from the book leaving the readers with the impression that, by reading BT's transcripts, they had read the principal content of the book and did therefore not have to buy it.
Attorney Nina Henningsen, partner and head of Media & Entertainment at Horten, represented Ninka and the publishing company. She is satisfied with the ruling:
"The ruling is important because it clearly emphasises that the right to quote a book is restricted, and that there is a notable consequence if newspapers and other media do not obtain consent from the publishing company and the author when publishing major transcripts. At the same time, it is a spectacular and important ruling because it clearly marks that copyrights are important and must be respected. It is a very central message in a time when it has never been easier to copy material protected by copyright such as e.g. text, music or film."
Also Anja Lykkeberg, executive officer of the publishing company, is happy about the ruling:
"I am very relieved and happy that the Eastern High Court stated so clearly that journalists must take copyrights seriously, and that damages are of such size that it is not worth copying other peoples' work for you own financial gain. It is a great victory for the publishing industry - and for honest journalism", says Anja Desirée Lykkeberg.