Linchôdmapwa v L'asbl Festival de Theatre de Spa

Background information

In 2004, the Belgian band Lichôdmapwa released the song “Abatchouck” under CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 Belgium license. Several years later, one of the band members heard a portion of the song in an advertisement for a theater festival run by a nonprofit organization. Lichôdmapwa contacted the organization to see if they could negotiate a deal. The negotiations failed, and Lichôdmapwa sued the organization for copyright infringement in September 2009.

Case summary

Lichôdmapwa claimed the defendant violated all three conditions of the applicable CC license. The defendant had modified the original work, used the work for commercial purposes, and failed to provide attribution. The defendant claimed it had acted in good faith, arguing that it was unaware of the terms of the CC license. The defendant also argued that since the plaintiff was not a member of the Belgian collecting society, SABAM, they had no rights to collect payments for use of the music.
 The court recognized the validity of the Creative Commons license applied to the music, and held that the plaintiff’s decision not to join SABAM and instead to release their music more openly should not prevent them from enforcing their copyright. The court held that the good faith of the defendant was not an excuse for violating the license. As a festival organizer regularly involved in licensing, the court said the defendant should have known to look for and follow the terms of the license. In addition, the court noted that the website from which the theater downloaded the music,, clearly mentions the CC license. On October 28, 2010, the court awarded the plaintiff 1,500 Euros per license condition violated, 4,500 Euros in total.

Attribution Music NoDerivatives NonCommercial