The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has recently interpreted a few articles in Directive 2001/29 and found pirate streaming illegal.

One of the issues at stake in the case was if Jack Frederik Wullems, through online sale of a multimedia player that made it possible to watch for example movies and TV-series online, had made a communication to the public in breach of the directive. Another question was whether a temporary act of reproduction of a copyright protected work, on that multimedia player, could be exempted from the right of reproduction or not.

The ECJ stated that the multimedia player with preinstalled add-ons made it possible for the public to gain access to clickable links to protected work published without the right holders consent and this was to be considered a communication to the public within the meaning of the directive.

Furthermore, the ECJ found that, with regard to in particular the content of the advertising of the multimedia player and to the fact that the main attraction of that player for potential purchasers was the pre-installation of the add-ons concerned, a purchaser of the multimedia player accessed a free an unauthorized offer of protected works deliberately and in full knowledge of the circumstances.

Act of temporary reproduction, on the multimedia player in question, of copyright protected work obtained by streaming on a website belonging to a third party offering that work without the consent of the copyright holder could therefore not be exempted from the right to reproduction according to the ECJ.

Judgement of the European Court of Justice of 26 April 2017 in Case C-527/15, Wullems

Read the Judgement here!