On March 27, 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued its judgment in case C-314/12, relating the request for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Article 5(1) and (2)(b) and Article 8(3) of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (OJ 2001 L 167, p. 10), and of certain fundamental rights enshrined in EU law.
The request has been made in proceedings between (i) UPC Telekabel Wien GmbH (‘UPC Telekabel’) and (ii) Constantin Film Verleih GmbH (‘Constantin Film’) and Wega Filmproduktionsgesellschaft mbH (‘Wega’) concerning an application for UPC Telekabel to be ordered to block the access of its customers to a website making available to the public some of the films of Constantin Film and of Wega without their consent.
The Court ruled that Article 8(3) of Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society must be interpreted as meaning that a person who makes protected subject-matter available to the public on a website without the agreement of the rightholder, for the purpose of Article 3(2) of that directive, is using the services of the internet service provider of the persons accessing that subject-matter, which must be regarded as an intermediary within the meaning of Article 8(3) of Directive 2001/29.
The fundamental rights recognised by EU law must be interpreted as not precluding a court injunction prohibiting an internet service provider from allowing its customers access to a website placing protected subject-matter online without the agreement of the rightholders when that injunction does not specify the measures which that access provider must take and when that access provider can avoid incurring coercive penalties for breach of that injunction by showing that it has taken all reasonable measures, provided that (i) the measures taken do not unnecessarily deprive internet users of the possibility of lawfully accessing the information available and (ii) that those measures have the effect of preventing unauthorised access to the protected subject-matter or, at least, of making it difficult to achieve and of seriously discouraging internet users who are using the services of the addressee of that injunction from accessing the subject-matter that has been made available to them in breach of the intellectual property right, that being a matter for the national authorities and courts to establish.
In conclusion, the Court ensured a fair balance between those fundamental rights such as copyrights and related rights (which are intellectual property), with the freedom to conduct a business of economic agents (such as internet service provider) and the freedom of information of internet users.