CJEU confirms "accessibility criterion" in online copyright infringement cases

On 22 January 2015, the CJEU also issued its ruling in Case C-441/13, Pez Hejduk v EnergieAgentur, following a reference for a preliminary ruling from the Handelsgericht Wien (Austria) on the jurisdiction / recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. 

The CJEU concluded that Article 5(3) of the Brussels I Regulation No. 44/2001 “must be interpreted as meaning that, in the event of an allegation of infringement of copyright and rights related to copyright guaranteed by the Member State of the court seised, that court has jurisdiction, on the basis of the place where the damage occurred, to hear an action for damages in respect of an infringement of those rights resulting from the placing of protected photographs online on a website accessible in its territorial jurisdiction. That court has jurisdiction only to rule on the damage caused in the Member State within which the court is situated."
Against this background, the CJEU rejected the “causal event” criterion as proposed by the Advocate General Cruz Villalón (we reported about the AG’s Opinion here), and confirmed its earlier approach in Pinckney, i.e. the “accessibility criterion”. Also, the CJEU confirmed that “intention to target” is not part of Article 5(3) of the EU Information Society Directive 2001/29, because, unlike Article 15(1)(c) of the Brussels I Regulation, “Article 5(3) does not require, in particular, that the activity concerned be ‘directed to’ the Member State in which the court seised is situated” (cf. para 32).