The Supreme Court rendered the 103-Tai-Shang-1352 Civil Decision of July 3, 2014 (hereinafter, the "Decision"), pointing out that since the exemption provisions provided under the Copyright Law limit the types of works and exclusive rights, exemptions are available if constituting requirements provided by the law are met, and there is no need to further consider elements of fair use.
According to the facts underlying the Decision, United Daily News published its exclusively shot photos (hereinafter, the "Photos at Issue") in its newspapers. However, Apple Daily reproduced and published the Photos at Issue in the report at issue in its newspapers. United Daily News held that such act infringed its copyright and the right of attribution to the Photos at Issue and sued for damages. One of the defense that Apple Daily made is that it merely engaged in fair use and that the name or title of the copyright holder could be omitted since the photos were specified as reproductions.
Article 49 of the Copyright Law provides: "When current events are reported by means of broadcasting, photography, film, newspaper, network, or otherwise, works that are seen or heard in the course of the report may be exploited within the scope necessary to the report." According to the Decision, this provision is an exemption, which is different from the fair use provision in that since an exemption provision limits the types of works and exclusive rights, the court only needs to consider the constituting requirements set by the law to grant the exemption with no need to further consider the elements of fair use. To wit, if the criteria under Article 49 of the Copyright Law are met, the court does not need to consider if a particular use falls within the scope of fair use under the Copyright Law. Accordingly, the original trial court was legally flawed pursuant to the above requirements since it held that the report at issue was an act of news reporting under Article 49 of the Copyright Law and thus jumped to the conclusion that such use falls within the scope of fair use under the Copyright Law without examining if the constituting requirements of such article are met.