Credit: Freepik

CEZ Loses Court Battle Over Satirical Greenpeace Advert

The Czech Constitutional Court has rejected a complaint filed by the CEZ energy company in a dispute with Greenpeace over the latter’s video satirising one of the company’s adverts. The court ruled that it was already clear from the introduction of Greenpeace’s video that it was not an official CEZ advertisement, said judge-rapporteur Pavel Samal yesterday, but was obviously an effort to draw attention to the environmental impact of the company’s activities using exaggeration and irony.

The activists added footage of damaged forests and forest fires to the CEZ commercial. The video was accompanied by text stating that CEZ is damaging the environment through its activities. The energy company complained that this was an unauthorised use of their content.

According to the Constitutional Court, however, there was no doubt over the parodic intent of the amended video.

“Parodic or satirical artistic expressions, as contributions to public debate, will by their very nature provoke and outrage,” Samal said. “Humour, exaggeration, irony and sarcasm are, according to the Constitutional Court, a necessary part of social dialogue. In a democratic society, they contribute to the free exchange of views.” He added that the content of the video was a factual criticism of society, not, for example, a call to violence.

The clip drew attention to the general issue of environmental protection, which is becoming more urgent in the context of climate change and its impact on society, the court said.

“We respect the decision of the Constitutional Court, although we have a different view of the arbitrary use of our work and the infringement of our copyright. That is why we appealed to the court,” said CEZ spokesman Ladislav Kriz yesterday, commenting on the decision.

After the publication of the parody video in 2018, the Prague Municipal Court ordered the environmental association to refrain from further unauthorised use of CEZ materials, and to apologise for the unauthorised interference. According to the municipal court, the activists misused the work for their own benefit and to dehumanise CEZ.

However, the Prague High Court reversed the judgement and dismissed CEZ’s lawsuit. It said that the modified commercial uses irony and is clearly part of the environmental organisation’s campaign for a healthier environment. The Supreme Court then rejected CEZ’s appeal as inadmissible. In its petition to the Constitutional Court, CEZ complained of a violation of the right to judicial protection and the right to the results of creative intellectual activity.

CEZ Loses Court Battle Over Satirical Greenpeace Advert
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