Cloud-based TV storage needs rights holder's consent – EU court

Thursday 30 November 2017 | 16:19 CET | News

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that storing copies of off-air TV programmes on a cloud platform for later access by subscribers amounts to communication to the public and requires the consent of copyright holders. The CJEU’s judgment comes after an Italian court requested guidance in a dispute between UK-based ‘video cloud recorder’ VCAST and Italian broadcaster RTI (Reti Televisive Italiane), owned by Mediaset. Following a pre-emptive suit from VCAST, the Turin District Court provisionally blocked VCAST on the grounds that recording and making TV programmes available to subscribers without the permission of the shows’ copyright holders was contrary to EU law.

In its preliminary ruling, the CJEU agreed with the Turin court that VCAST cannot rely on the private copying exception. It argued that, rather than being a private recording, cloud storage by a third party of off-air signals was a public performance and, as such, can be considered a retransmission that requires the permission of all rights holders. “The Court concludes that the (re)transmission made by VCAST constitutes a communication to a different public from that of the original transmission and must therefore receive the consent of the copyright owner or holder of related rights. Accordingly, such a remote recording service cannot fall within the private copying exception,” said the Luxembourg-based court.

The Turin District Court will now proceed to rule on the specific case on the basis of the EU court’s preliminary judgment.

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