Copyright violations can occur too readily and for makers’ improper advantage when razzle-dazzle TV tools make it too easy to access protected content—with, and without rights owners’ OK, court warns
The sale of multimedia players that permit users to effortlessly stream illegal content to a television screen can be the kind “communication to the public” that is illegal under the European Union’s Copyright Directive, the Court of Justice recently decided.
The ruling by the EU’s high judicial body in Luxembourg could be key as technology continues its unchecked advance.
The case arose when Stichting BRIEN, a Dutch anti-piracy group, filed legal action against Jack Wullems, the creator of the multimedia device known as Filmspeler. Wullems installed third-party add-ons to his creation to permit customers easy access to protected works on streaming websites operated by third-parties. Some of these sites allow access to digital content—both with and without copyright holders’ permission.
The EU high court characterized the Filmspeler as akin to “a pirate … Apple TV,” and noted that Wullems had advertised the device as such. Those promotions played a large part in how the court ruled because it helped show that Wullems aimed strictly to profit from the device, which many customers had purchased. But how did this case prove to be digital double-Dutch in the Netherlands and across the Continent? (more…)