CJEU: Making available of copies of television programmes saved in the cloud

30 Nov 2017 12:12 PM

VCAST is a company incorporated under UK law which makes available to its customers via the Internet a remote video recording system for terrestrial programmes of Italian television organisations, among which are those of RTI (Reti Televisive Italiane). The customer selects a programme and a time slot. The system operated by VCAST then picks up the television signal using its own antennas and records the time slot for the selected programme in the cloud data storage space indicated by the user, thereby making the copy of the programmes broadcast available to the customer via the Internet.

VCAST has sought a declaration from the Tribunale ordinario di Torino (District Court, Turin, Italy) of the lawfulness of its activities. To that end, it invokes the private copying exception, according to which the authorisation of the copyright owner or holder of related rights is not necessary in respect of reproductions on any medium made by a natural person for private use and for ends that are neither directly nor indirectly commercial, on condition that the rightholders receive fair compensation.

Turin District Court, following an application for interim measures submitted by RTI, provisionally prohibited VCAST from pursuing its activity. In that context, before delivering its ultimate decision, it decided to submit questions to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling asking, in essence, whether VCAST’s service, provided without the consent of the copyright owner or holder of related rights, is compatible with the Copyright Directive.

By today’s judgment, the Court finds that the service provided by VCAST has a dual functionality, consisting in ensuring both the reproduction and the making available of protected works.

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