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 Copyright 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
IPTV supplier fined £18,000
14 February 2018 | Harrow | Reporter: Barney Dixon
A pre-loaded IPTV box supplier must pay a £18,000 fine for selling illicit streaming devices online, as well as breaching the Premier League’s copyright
IFPI calls for “effective solution” to value gap
07 February 2018 | Brussels | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), with the support of 23 other creative industry organisations, has penned a letter to the new presidency of the European Council asking it provide an “effective solution” to the so-
New trial ordered in BMG v Cox
06 February 2018 | Virginia | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has overturned a $25 million damages award for BMG Rights Management and ordered a new trial in its dispute with Cox Communications
CRB issues royalty rate hike for music streaming services
05 February 2018 | Washington DC | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The Copyright Royalty Board has ruled to increase royalty payments to songwriters and music publishers from music streaming services by nearly 44 percent
Grumpy Cat wins copyright lawsuit
25 January 2018 | California | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The owner of internet sensation ‘Grumpy Cat’ has won a copyright infringement lawsuit against Grenade Beverage
Radiohead sue Lana Del Rey for copyright infringement
8 January 2018 | New York | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Radiohead are suing Lana Del Rey for copyright infringement, claiming that the Del Rey’s 2017 song Get Free was similar to their 1992 song Creep
Glosfer and Gemmy to create blockchain copyright protection platform
4 January 2018 | Seoul | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Blockchain firm Glosfer has signed a memorandum of understanding with copyright protection company Gemmy to create a blockchain-based copyright protection platform