In its recent ruling in Ashby Donald and others v. France App No. 36769/08 ECtHR (5th Section) 10 January 2013, the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”) clarified the boundary between copyright law and the freedom of speech. ECHR held that a conviction based on copyright law for illegally reproducing or publicly communicating copyright protected material can be regarded as an interference with the right of freedom of expression and information under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Therefore, under the judgment of ECHR, any judicial decision based on copyright law and restricting persons’ freedom of expression must be motivated as being necessary in a democratic society, apart from being prescribed by law and pursuing a legitimate aim.