ECJ clarifies scope of communication to the public right

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UK broadcasters have won an important stage in their attempt to stop an unauthorised service from providing online simultaneous streaming of their broadcasts. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that the service constituted a communication to the public and therefore infringed the broadcasters’ copyrights in their broadcasts and films.

TV Catchup Limited (TVC) operates a website which allows subscribed members to stream free-to-air programmes being broadcast live on UK television on computers, smart phones, games consoles etc. Only UK TV licence holders can subscribe. TVC operates without a licence and the broadcasters alleged that TVC had infringed their copyrights in films and broadcasts by reproducing them and communicating them to the public.

TVC generates revenue by showing its own advertisements before and during the showing of the programmes (via “in-skin” advertising), thus acting in direct competition with the broadcasters…

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