New references to the CJEU: SPA v. Ministério Público; Vereniging Openbare Bibliotheken; Reha Training v. GEMA

Some recent references for a preliminary ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) are worth highlighting:


a) Case C-151/15, a case involving the IFRRO member SPA, in Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores CRL v Ministério Público, upon request from the Tribunal da Relação de Coimbra, Portugal, on the meaning of “communication of works to the public” in Directive 2001/29. Inter alia, the Portuguese court asked the CJEU for clarification whether the concept of the communication of works to the public is to be interpreted as encompassing the transmission of broadcast works in commercial premises, via television receiving apparatus, where the transmission of such works is amplified by speakers or amplifiers, thus constituting, in that context, a new use of copyright-protected works.
b) Case C-174/15, Vereniging Openbare Bibliotheken, concerning the digital use of “copyright-protected novels, collections of short stories, biographies, travelogues, children’s books and youth literature”. The case (referred to the CJEU by the Rechtbank Den Haag in the Netherlands), in essence, deals with making available digital works by way of a download option on a non-profit basis. It is for the CJEU to decide under which conditions EU Member States may impose a statutory limitation upon the rightholder’s exclusive lending right set out in Article 6 of Directive 2006/115, and whether Article 4(2) of Directive 2001/29 is to be construed as meaning that the initial sale or other transfer of ownership of material also includes making available remotely by downloading (for use for an unlimited period) a digital copy of copyright-protected novels, collections of short stories, biographies, travelogues, children’s books and youth literature. All questions referred for a preliminary ruling are available here.

c) Case C-160/15, GS Media, a reference from the Hoge Raad der Nederlanden. GS Media is a company which runs a website which allegedly infringed copyright in relation to photographs taken for a feature by publishing a hyperlink on its website that allowed the public to access those photos on an external, third-party hosted site, which also did not have the rightholders’ consent to publish the photos in question. In a nutshell, the questions asked seek clarification on “communication to the public” within the meaning of Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29, if (by means of a hyperlink) access is provided to a work which has not been (previously) communicated to the public with the consent of the rightholder. All questions referred can be accessed here.