Sunday

19th Sep 2021

EU court curbs public copyright compensation

  • "Legal persons should not be the persons ultimately liable for payment" of private copies, the EU court said (Photo: Ben Adamson)

Public budgets cannot be used to compensate copyright owners for private copies, the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on Thursday (9 June).

The Luxembourg-based judges said that a 2001 EU directive on copyrights precludes schemes by which copyrights owners get a so-called fair compensation when private people use works "for private use and for non-commercial ends", if the compensation is taken out of the state budget.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

They said the scheme did not "guarantee that the cost of the fair compensation is ultimately borne by the users of private copies".

The ECJ was asked its opinion by Spain's supreme court after intellectual property rights collecting societies asked for the Spanish system to be abolished.

According to the system, fair compensation is determined annually and split between copyright owners.

Judges said that EU countries were free to establish a scheme under which legal persons, as opposed to private persons, are "under certain conditions and for practical reasons, required to finance the fair compensation".

But they added that such legal persons should not be the persons ultimately liable for payment of that burden".

"That requirement applies in all situations in which a member state has introduced the private copying exception, regardless of whether it establishes a fair compensation scheme financed by a levy or by its budget," the ECJ statement said.

The Spanish system also exists in Estonia, Finland and Norway. Other countries use different schemes.

The EU court ruling comes the EU as the bloc looks for ways to ensure a balance between new ways of consuming content and demands by copyright owners to be compensated for use that they cannot control.

EU copyright reforms kicked into 2016

The European Commission appears to be postponing key reforms of the EU's fragmented copyright system, according to a leaked paper.

EP adopts 'watered down' copyright report

MEPs have adopted keenly-awaited proposals they'd like to see in the commission’s forthcoming copyright reform, but they were roundly criticised by all sides.

Opinion

Let's fix EU copyright law

Europe’s messy copyright legal framework doesn’t belong in the 21st century. A citizens' movement can help reform it.

Vietnam jails journalist critical of EU trade deal

A journalist who had demanded the EU postpone its trade deal with Vietnam until human rights improved has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. The EU Commission says it first needs to conduct a detailed analysis before responding.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed

Latest News

  1. MEPs suspect Gazprom manipulating gas price
  2. Fast fashion vs. climate - how 'repair & resell' is the new model
  3. Right of reply: Erik Bergkvist, S&D MEP and shadow rapporteur
  4. EU Commission blocks anti-fraud funds without explanation
  5. Centre-right MEPs abstain on gender-violence vote
  6. World off track to meet climate targets, despite Covid-19
  7. EU to call out Russian aggression at Kyiv summit
  8. EU urges member states to better protect journalists

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us