Luxembourg
15 June 2017
Reporter: Mark Dugdale
CJEU confirms The Pirate Bay does communicate to the public
The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has confirmed that The Pirate Bay and other file-sharing websites do commit an act of communication to the public under Article 3(1) of the Copyright Directive.

The Pirate Bay, as a peer-to-peer network that indexes infringing content, is engaging in communications to the public under the Copyright Directive because it is aware of that content and doesn’t take action to make inaccessible, the CJEU held in the litigation between Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN and two ISPs on 14 June.

In the decision, the CJEU explained: “The view must … be taken that the operators of the online sharing platform The Pirate Bay, by making that platform available and managing it, provide their users with access to the works concerned. They can therefore be regarded as playing an essential role in making the works in question available.”

The Supreme Court of the Netherlands, on referring questions to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling in the litigation, also asked whether website blocks are proportional responses to sites such as The Pirate Bay, which do not host infringing content but provide access to third parties, as well as whether they are effective.

But the CJEU declined to answer this question in light of its ruling that The Pirate Bay and other file-sharing websites do commit an act of communication to the public under Article 3(1) of the Copyright Directive.

In his recommendation to the CJEU earlier this year, advocate general Maciej Szpunar reaffirmed the proportionality and effectiveness of website blocks, which are executed once a court grants an injunction compelling ISPs to do so.

“It is not necessary that intellectual property should be absolutely protected, that is to say, that the proposed measure should result in a complete cessation of copyright infringements,” Szpunar explained. “It is sufficient that it should seriously deter internet users from committing such infringements by making infringement difficult.”

“Given the role of websites such as The Pirate Bay in the operation of peer-to-peer networks, there seems to me to be no question that blocking access to such a site would make it difficult or impossible for most users to find the works made available on such a network and therefore to download them in breach of copyright.”

More news
The latest news from IPPro The Internet
Join Our Newsletter

Sign up today and never
miss the latest news or an issue again

Subscribe now
Google hit with €2.42 billion EU antitrust fine
27 June 2017 | Brussels | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The European Commission ruled the company had abused its power by giving an advantage to its own products and services in Google search results
Elsevier wins $15 million settlement
26 June 2017 | New York | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Elsevier has received $15 million in damages in its copyright infringement lawsuit against Sci-Hub, the Library Genesis project and a number of other sites
Trio sentenced over piracy business
26 June 2017 | London | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Three men have received suspended prison sentences for illegally distributing copyrighted content, costing more than £2.5 million
Jones Day bolsters IP practice
26 June 2017 | Los Angeles | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Law firm Jones Day has added Andrea Jeffries and Emily Tait as partners to its intellectual property practice
Hong Kong, Albania and Panama among key counterfeit transit points
23 June 2017 | Alicante | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Hong Kong, Albania and Panama are among several key transit points for counterfeits worldwide
Merchant & Gould hires patent trio
22 June 2017 | New York | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Merchant & Gould has expanded its New York office with the addition of three new intellectual property attorneys.
Nominet releases annual .uk domain disputes report
22 June 2017 | London | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Over half of .uk domain disputes through Nominet’s Dispute Resolution Service have resulted in a domain name being transferred, saving an estimated £7.18 million in legal costs in 2016