As an advertising message, “Want to watch free films, series, sport without having to pay? Who doesn’t?!” was clearly too good to be true. In the UK, sales of media players incorporating pre-installed add-ons linking to websites giving access to unauthorised content have attracted the attention of criminal prosecution authorities in recent months, with a landmark case due to be heard this month. Now, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) has decided that the sale of such ‘fully-loaded’ devices amounts to a communication to the public and therefore is likely to infringe copyright. Further, users who unlawfully stream copyright content will be unable to rely upon the temporary reproduction defence.
Rights owners in the creative industries will welcome the decision, which demonstrates the CJEU is prepared to adopt an extremely broad interpretation of the ‘communication to the public’ right – an interpretation however that the European Commission had argued would alter and jeopardise the fair balance between the rights and interests of all parties involved.
Read the full article here.