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OPINIONOFADVOCATEGENERAL
CAMPOSSNCHEZBORDONA
deliveredon8December2016(1)

CaseC527/15

StichtingBrein
v
JackFrederikWullems,actingunderthenameofFilmspeler

(RequestforapreliminaryrulingfromtheRechtbankMiddenNederland(DistrictCourt,
CentralNetherlands,Netherlands))

(CopyrightandrelatedrightsInformationsocietyDefinitionofcommunicationtothe
publicReproductionrightExceptionsandlimitations)

1.Therightofauthorstopermitthecommunicationtothepublicoftheirworks,protected
byArticle3ofDirective2001/29/EC,(2)maybeadverselyaffectedbylinksthatredirectusers
from one website to another, if the appropriate balance is not achieved between respect for
intellectual property and the free development of the information society. In this context,
hyperlinks(3)representoneofthefundamentalelementsoftheinternettheyareessentialfor
navigationthroughwebpagesandwebsitesbuttheymayalsofacilitatebreachesofcopyright.
2.TheCourt,whichhadruledonseveraloccasionsontheconceptofcommunicationtothe
public,(4)hasveryrecentlygivenakeyjudgment,(5)inwhichitdeterminedwhethertherewas
communication to the public, within the meaning of Directive 2001/29, when a webpage
included a hyperlink directing users to another page or site on which digital content (6) was
postedwithouttheauthorisationoftherightholderandwhichusersaccessedbysimplyclicking
onthehyperlink.
3.ThefirstandsecondquestionsreferredbytheRechtbankMiddenNederland(District
Court, Central Netherlands) in these preliminaryruling proceedings are, in some respects, the
sameasthosewhichgaverisetothejudgmentinGSMedia.TheNetherlandsreferringcourt,
hearinganddeterminingthemainproceedingsinthatcaseinwhichitmadeareferencetothe
CourtofJustice,consideredstayingtheproceedingsbeforeitpendingtherulinginGSMedia.
However, the referring court decided to request a preliminary ruling from the Court before
judgment was given in GSMediabecause, in its own words, (7) there are certain differences
between the two cases, the most notable being that in the present case no hyperlinks were
postedonitsownwebsite,butaddonswithhyperlinkswereinstalledinthemediaplayeroffered
byWullems...
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4.If,asIpropose,thejudgmentinGSMediaweretobeappliedtothepresentcase,itwill
besufficienttorefertothecaselawwhichsupportsthisandthentoanalysewhetherthesaleof
amultimediaplayerincorporatingatypeofsoftware(withaddons)whichredirectstheenduser
to webpages that distribute digital content without the right holders consent also involves
communicationtothepublic.
5.Thereferringcourthasalsoexpressedotheruncertainties(thethirdandfourthquestions)
whichconcernnotsomuchthetechnicalmeansorplaybackdeviceascopyrightprotection
and the correlated unlawfulness of acts contrary thereto where the end user streams, (8)
withouttheauthorisationoftherightholder,protecteddigitalcontentwhichheaccessesviathe
hyperlink.
ILegislativeframework
Directive2001/29
6. Harmonisation of the laws of the Member States on intellectual property has been
achievedmainlybymeansofDirective93/98/EEC,(9)subsequentlyamendedandthenrepealed
byDirective2006/116/EC,(10)whichcodifiestheearlierversions.Thepurposeofoneofthose
amendments was to govern the protection of copyright and related rights in the socalled
informationsocietybymeansofDirective2001/29.
7.Inaccordancewithrecital23:
ThisDirectiveshouldharmonisefurthertheauthorsrightofcommunicationtothepublic.This
right should be understood in a broad sense covering all communication to the public not
present at the place where the communication originates. This right should cover any such
transmission or retransmission of a work to the public by wire or wireless means, including
broadcasting.Thisrightshouldnotcoveranyotheracts.
8.Recital27states:
Themereprovisionofphysicalfacilitiesforenablingormakingacommunicationdoesnotin
itselfamounttocommunicationwithinthemeaningofthisDirective.
9.Accordingtorecital31:
Afairbalanceofrightsandinterestsbetweenthedifferentcategoriesofrightholders,aswellas
between the different categories of rightholders and users of protected subjectmatter must be
safeguarded. The existing exceptions and limitations to the rights as set out by the Member
Stateshavetobereassessedinthelightofthenewelectronicenvironment.
10.Recital33reads:
Theexclusiverightofreproductionshouldbesubjecttoanexceptiontoallowcertainactsof
temporaryreproduction,whicharetransientorincidentalreproductions,forminganintegraland
essentialpartofatechnologicalprocessandcarriedoutforthesolepurposeofenablingeither
efficienttransmissioninanetworkbetweenthirdpartiesbyanintermediary,oralawfuluseofa
work or other subjectmatter to be made. The acts of reproduction concerned should have no
separate economic value on their own. To the extent that they meet these conditions, this
exceptionshouldincludeactswhichenablebrowsingaswellasactsofcachingtotakeplace,
including those which enable transmission systems to function efficiently, provided that the
intermediary does not modify the information and does not interfere with the lawful use of
technology, widely recognised and used by industry, to obtain data on the use of the
information.Auseshouldbeconsideredlawfulwhereitisauthorisedbytherightholderornot
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restrictedbylaw.
11.UndertheheadingReproductionright,Article2provides:
MemberStatesshallprovidefortheexclusiverighttoauthoriseorprohibitdirectorindirect,
temporaryorpermanentreproductionbyanymeansandinanyform,inwholeorinpart:
a)forauthors,oftheirworks

12.UndertheheadingRightofcommunicationtothepublicofworksandrightofmaking
availabletothepublicothersubjectmatter,Article3(1)ofDirective2001/29provides:
1.MemberStatesshallprovideauthorswiththeexclusiverighttoauthoriseorprohibitany
communicationtothepublicoftheirworks,bywireorwirelessmeans,includingthemaking
availabletothepublicoftheirworksinsuchawaythatmembersofthepublicmayaccessthem
fromaplaceandatatimeindividuallychosenbythem.
13.Withintheregulationofthe[e]xceptionsandlimitations(headingoftheprovision)to
the reproduction right, the right of communication to the public and the distribution right,
Article5(1)and(5)iswordedasfollows:
1.TemporaryactsofreproductionreferredtoinArticle2,whicharetransientorincidental
[and] an integral and essential part of a technological process and whose sole purpose is to
enable:
a)atransmissioninanetworkbetweenthirdpartiesbyanintermediary,or
b)alawfuluse
of a work or other subjectmatter to be made, and which have no independent economic
significance,shallbeexemptedfromthereproductionrightprovidedforinArticle2.

5. The exceptions and limitations provided for in paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4 shall only be
appliedincertainspecialcaseswhichdonotconflictwithanormalexploitationoftheworkor
other subjectmatter and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the
rightholder.
IIBackgroundtothedisputeandquestionsreferredforapreliminaryruling
14.StichtingBreinisafoundationinvolvedintheprotectionofcopyrightandotherrelated
rights.Itspatronsincludeassociationsofproducersandimportersofimageandsoundcarriers,
filmproducers,filmdistributors,multimediaproducersandpublishers.
15. Jack Frederik Wullems offered to the public, through various websites (including his
own, www.filmspeler.nl), various models (11) of a multimedia player under the name
filmspeler.Thedeviceactedasaninstrumentforconnectingasourceofimageand/orsound
signalstoatelevisionscreen.Thedifferencesbetweenthemodelsareofatechnicalnaturebut
theiroperationisessentiallythesame:ifthemultimediaplayerisconnectedtotheinternet,on
theonehand,andtoausersscreen(forexample,atelevisionscreen),ontheother,theuseris
abletostreamtheimageandthesoundfromawebportalorwebsite.
16.Thehardwareforthemediaplayercanbeboughtfromvarioussuppliers.MrWullems
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installedonhisdevicestheopensourcesoftwareXBMC,whichmakesitpossibletoopenfiles
through a userfriendly graphic user interface via menu structures and which can be used by
anyone. He also installed addons, separate software files created by third parties and freely
availableontheinternet,whichheintegratedintotheXBMCsoftwareuserinterface.
17. Those addons contain hyperlinks which, if clicked, redirect the user to streaming
websites,controlledbythirdparties,onwhichfilms,televisionseriesand(live)sportingevents
canbeenjoyedfreeofcharge,withorwithouttheauthorisationoftherightholders.Thedigital
contentstartsplayingautomaticallywhentherelevanthyperlinkisclicked.(12)
18.Infourteenoftheaddons(13)thelinksledtofilms,seriesand(live)sportingevents
withoutthe authorisation of the holders of the reproduction rights. Others, however, linked to
streamingwebsiteswhosedigitalcontenthadbeenauthorisedbytherightholders.(14)
19.MrWullemshadnoinfluenceovertheaddons,nordidhealterthem,andtheusertoo
caninstalltheaddonsonhismediaplayer.Onhisportal(www.filmspeler.nl)andonotherthird
partysites,MrWullemsadvertisedhisproductsbymeansofthefollowingpromotionalslogans:
Never again pay for films, series, sport, directly available without advertisements and
waitingtime.(nosubscriptionfees,plugandplay)Netflixisnowpasttense!
Wanttowatchfreefilms,series,sportwithouthavingtopay?Whodoesnt?!
NeverhavetogotothecinemaagainthankstoouroptimisedXBMCsoftware.FreeHD
filmsandseries,includingfilmsrecentlyshownincinemas,thankstoXBMC.
20.On22May2014,StichtingBreincalledonMrWullemstostopsellingthemediaplayers.
On 1 July 2014, Stichting Brein commenced proceedings against Mr Wullems before the
referringcourt,seekinganinjunctionprohibitingMrWullemsfromsellingthedevicesandfrom
offering the hyperlinks which provided users with unlawful access to copyrightprotected
works.
21.Theapplicantclaimed,insupportoftheformofordersought,thatthroughthesaleofthe
filmspeler player, Mr Wullems was carrying out a communication to the public contrary to
Articles1and12oftheAuteurswet(NetherlandsLawoncopyright)andArticles2,6,7aand8
oftheWetopdeNaburigeRechten(Lawonrelatedrights).
22.TheRechtbankMiddenNederland(DistrictCourt,CentralNetherlands)takestheview
thattheprovisionsofnationallawrelieduponintheproceedingsmustbeinterpretedinthelight
of Article 3 of Directive 2001/29, transposed into Netherlands law by those provisions. Since
thepartiestothemainproceedingsdisagreeaboutwhetherthesaleofMrWullemsmultimedia
playerisintendedtoreachanewpublicwithinthemeaningofthecaselawoftheCourtof
Justice,thereferringcourtconsidersthatneitherthejudgmentinSvenssonandOthers(15)nor
theorderinBestWaterInternational(16)providescriteriasufficientforreachingadecisionon
that disagreement. Therefore, in the referring courts view, reasonable doubt remains as to
whetherornotthereisacommunicationtothepubliciftheworkhasbeenpreviouslypublished
butwithouttherightholdersauthorisation.
23. In the second place, the referring court is faced with the argument put forward by
MrWullems,whocontendsthatthestreamingofcopyrightprotectedworksfromanunlawful
sourcecomeswithintheexceptioninArticle13(a)oftheNetherlandsLawoncopyright.Asthat
provisionmustbeinterpretedinaccordancewithArticle5(1)ofDirective2001/29,thereferring
courtobservesthattheCourthasyettoruleonthemeaningoftherequirementoflawfuluse
laiddowninArticle5ofthedirective.
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24. In those circumstances, the Rechtbank MiddenNederland (District Court, Central


Netherlands)decidedtostaytheproceedingsandtoreferthefollowingquestionstotheCourtof
Justiceforapreliminaryruling:
1)MustArticle3(1)oftheCopyrightDirectivebeinterpretedasmeaningthatthereisa
communicationtothepublicwithinthemeaningofthatprovision,whensomeonesells
a product (mediaplayer) in which he has installed addons containing hyperlinks to
websites on which copyrightprotected works, such as films, series and live broadcasts
aremadedirectlyaccessible,withouttheauthorisationoftherightholders?
2)Doesitmakeanydifference:
whether the copyrightprotected works as a whole have not previously been
publishedontheinternetorhavebeenpublishedonlythroughsubscriptionswith
theauthorisationoftherightholder?
whethertheaddonscontaininghyperlinkstowebsitesonwhichcopyrightprotected
worksaremadedirectlyaccessiblewithouttheauthorisationoftherightholders
are freely available and can also be installed in the mediaplayer by the users
themselves?
whether the websites and thus the copyrightprotected works made accessible
thereonwithouttheauthorisationoftherightholderscanalsobeaccessed
bythepublicwithoutthemediaplayer?
3) Should Article 5 of the Copyright Directive (Directive 2001/29/EC) be interpreted as
meaning that there is no lawful use within the meaning of Article 5(1)(b) of that
Directiveifatemporaryreproductionismadebyanenduserduringthestreamingofa
copyrightprotectedworkfromathirdpartywebsitewherethatcopyrightprotectedwork
isofferedwithouttheauthorisationoftherightholder(s)?
4) If the answer to the third question is in the negative, is the making of a temporary
reproductionbyanenduserduringthestreamingofacopyrightprotectedworkfroma
websitewherethatcopyrightprotectedworkisofferedwithouttheauthorisationofthe
right holder(s) then contrary to the threestep test referred to in Article 5(5) of the
CopyrightDirective(Directive2001/29/EC)?
IIIProcedurebeforetheCourtandsubmissionsoftheparties
AProcedure
25.TheorderforreferencewasreceivedattheRegistryoftheCourtofJusticeon5October
2015.
26. The parties to the main proceedings, the French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish
Governments and the European Commission lodged written observations within the period
stipulatedinthesecondparagraphofArticle23oftheStatuteoftheCourtofJustice.
27. At the hearing, held on 29 September 2016, oral argument was presented by the
representatives of Stichting Brein, Mr Wullems, the Spanish Government and the European
Commission.
BSubmissions
1.Thefirstandsecondquestions
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28.StichtingBreinandtheFrench,Italian,PortugueseandSpanishGovernmentspropose
that the first question should be answered in the affirmative and submit that the criteria
mentioned in the three indents of the second question are irrelevant. They submit that, in this
case, the two conditions required cumulatively by the caselaw of the Court are satisfied,
namely:thattheremustbeanactofcommunicationandapublic.(17)
29.Sincethatcaselawstressedtheneedforabroadinterpretationoftheconceptofactof
communication, (18) Stichting Brein and the Governments in question submit that the
filmspelerdevicehastheeffectofmakingavailableworkstothepublicand,consequently,of
anactofcommunicationforthepurposesofArticle3(1)ofDirective2001/29.TheCourthas
held that the provision, on a website, of clickable links to protected works, published without
any access restrictions on another site, affords users of the first site direct access to those
works,(19)irrespectiveofwhethertheyavailthemselvesofthatopportunity.(20)
30.ForStichtingBreinitisimmaterialthatitwasnotMrWullemshimself,buttheoperator
providing the separate software files, who made the hyperlinks available to the public. The
French Government makes two points: (a) the public to which the protected works originally
communicatedweredirectedconsistedonlyofsubscriberstothetelevisionchannelsauthorised
tobroadcasttheprogrammesconcernedand(b)thewebsiteonwhichtheworksatissuewere
postedwasprotectedbyanumberofaccessrestrictions,accordingtotheorderforreference.In
the same connection, the Spanish Government points out the necessity of taking into account
potential,currentandfutureusers.(21)
31.Asregardsthenewpublic(thepublicwhichtheauthorsoftheprotectedworkdidnot
have in mind when they authorised the communication to the original public), (22) Stichting
Brein draws attention to the importance of the authorisation granted by right holders for the
initialcommunicationbyhyperlink.ThePortugueseGovernmentaddsthat,inasmuchastheact
of communication represents the making available of protected works by means of a specific
technical process which differs from the original process, it is, according to the caselaw,
unnecessarytoexaminetheconditionrelatingtothenewpublic,foreverynewtransmission
mustbeauthorisedindividuallyandseparatelybytheauthorsconcerned.(23)
32.However,MrWullemsandtheCommissionsubmitthat,inthiscase,thereisnoactof
communication. Mr Wullems focuses in his reasoning on the fact that the addons with
hyperlinks are not installed in the device when it is sold to the end user. Mr Wullems further
contendsthatahyperlinkcannotinitselfconstituteanactofcommunicationtothepublic.
33.TheCommissionsubmitsthatthefilmspelermarketedbyMrWullemscomeswithinthe
concept of physical facility (in recital 27 of the preamble to Directive 2001/29) in that it
enables,butisnotinitself,acommunication.Ifinstallingaprograminafacilityweretoleadto
the latter losing its status as such, recital 27 in the preamble to Directive 2001/29 would lack
practicaleffect,foritwouldapplytoonlyaverylimitednumberofcases.Iftheoppositeview
were accepted, the provisions of Chapter III of Directive 2001/29 would be rendered
meaningless.
34.Inshort,theCommissionfearsthatanexcessivelybroadinterpretationoftheconceptof
communicationtothepublicwouldalterandjeopardisethefairbalancebetweentherightsand
interests of all the parties involved, which it considers to be a general objective inherent in
Directive2001/29.
2.Thethirdandfourthquestions
35. Stichting Brein and the French and Spanish Governments deny that the exception in
Article5ofDirective2001/29isapplicabletothestreamingofacopyrightprotectedworkfrom
the thirdparty website on which it is offered. They submit that Article 5(1) concerns only
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temporary reproductions that are transient or incidental, qualities lacking in the reproductions
providedbythefilmspeler,sincethesearenotanintegralandessentialpartofatechnological
processwhosesolepurposeistoenablealawfuluseofaworkorothersubjectmatterto
bemade,asrequiredbyArticle5(1),inparticularsubparagraph(b)thereof.
36. Further, in response to the fourth question, Stichting Brein and the Spanish
Government(24)observethattheCourtsreasoninginrelationtotheinterpretationoftheso
calledprivatecopyingexceptioninArticle5(2)(b)ofDirective2001/29(25)maybeextended
to the authorisation of streaming from an unlawful source. For want of authorisation by the
rightholders, that method of reproduction from unlawful sources is, in their view, clearly
contrarytothethreecumulativestepsprovidedforinArticle5(5)ofDirective2001/29andthe
BerneConvention.(26)
37. Along the same lines, Stichting Brein and the Spanish Government point out that the
possible mass use of streaming from unlawful sources means that the exception is not to be
applied in certain special cases only and, moreover, that such use threatens the normal
exploitation of the protected works with the consequent damage to the legitimate interests of
theholdersofcopyrightandrelatedrights.
38. Mr Wullems merely asserts that streaming is a temporary act that is transient or
incidental and an integral and essential part of a technological process. The Portuguese
GovernmentandtheCommission,whichputsforwardthisargumentonlyinthealternative,(27)
start from the same premiss and add that the mere reception of transmissions (of protected
works)bythemethodatissuedoesnotamounttounlawfuluseforthepurposesofArticle5(1)
of the directive. The Portuguese Government and Commission state that their position is
supportedbythecaselaw(28)accordingtowhichcachedcopiesandonscreencopiessatisfied
thecumulativeconditionslaiddowninArticle5(1)and(5)ofDirective2001/29.
39. The Portuguese Government points out that the temporary acts of reproduction by
streamingcreatenoeconomicadvantageadditionaltothatderivedfromthemerereceptionof
theworks.Lastly,thePortugueseGovernmentsubmitsthatitfollowsfromcertaincaselawof
the Court that, when acts of reproduction satisfy the conditions laid down in Article 5(1) of
Directive2001/29,theysatisfytheconditionsapplicableunderArticle5(5)too.(29)
IVAnalysisofthequestionsreferredforapreliminaryruling
AThefirstandsecondquestions
40. I believe that, in view of their close connection, the first two questions should be
examinedtogether.Thereplytobothis,inlargepart,influencedbycertainfactorsthatdelimit
the subject matter of the dispute as follows: (a) Mr Wullems sells (for profit) a multimedia
player in which he has installed hyperlinks to websites offering unrestricted access, free of
charge,todigitalcontentprotectedbycopyright(30)(b)theholdersofthatcopyrighteitherdid
not authorise communication to the public of the digital content or did so only in relation to
certainsiteswhichareaccessedbymembershipfeeorsubscription(c)userscanpurchasefor
themselves the addons which include the hyperlinks to the websites on which unrestricted
accessisprovidedtoprotectedworkswithouttherightholdersconsent,and(d)thosewebsites
areavailableontheinternetwithoutneedofamediaplayerofthekindofferedbyMrWullems.
41.WhileIamtemptedtoexplainatlengththedevelopmentofthecaselaw,composedofa
substantiallineofjudgments,ontheinterpretationofArticle3(1)ofDirective2001/29,itdoes
notseemtometobenecessarytorepeattheanalysisoftheexpressioncommunicationtothe
public or of the two individual elements of that expression: the act of communication of a
workandthepublictowhichitisdirected.IprefertorefertothepointsmadebytheCourtin
the judgment in GS Media, and to mention the precedents for that judgment. (31) The
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requirementofcertaintyintheapplicationofthelawobligesthecourt,ifnottoapplythestare
decisis in absolute terms, then to take care to follow the decisions it has itself, after mature
reflection, previously adopted in relation to a given legal problem. To my mind, that is what
musthappenwithregardtothecaselawlaiddown(orconfirmed)inthejudgmentinGSMedia
regardingtherelationshipbetweenhyperlinksandcommunicationtothepublicinthecontextof
Directive2001/29.
42.Accordingly,Ishalladoptasthebasisformyargumentsthepropositionspreviouslyset
down by the Court, namely: (a) the provision of clickable links to protected works must be
considered to be making available and, therefore, such conduct is an act of
communication (32) (b) that concept refers to any transmission of the protected works,
irrespective of the technical means or process used, (33) and (c) there is a rebuttable
presumption that the posting of a hyperlink to a work unlawfully published (without the
authorisation of the right holders) on the internet amounts to a communication to the public
withinthemeaningofArticle3(1)ofDirective2001/79,ifitisdoneinpursuitofprofit.
43.Inthesamevein,theCourthasheldthattheconceptofcommunicationtothepublicofa
protected work requires either the communication to be made by a specific method different
fromthoseusedbeforeor,failingthis,theworktobedistributedtoanewpublic,deemedto
beapublicwhichtherightholdersdidnottakeintoaccountwhentheyauthorisedtheoriginal
(limited)distributionofthework.(34)
44.FromananalysisofthefactsofthecaseinthelightofthepropositionsIhavejustlisted,
it is not difficult to conclude that the caselaw laid down in the judgment in GS Media,
regardingtherelationshipbetweenhyperlinksandtheconceptofcommunicationtothepublic,
isapplicabletothosefacts,andthis,inlargemeasure,determinesthetenorofthereplytothe
firsttwoquestions.
45.AsIhavealreadypointedout,MrWullemsinstalledontheuserinterfaceoftheXBMC
software addons with hyperlinks to websites providing unrestricted access to copyright
protectedworks.Inadditiontoprovidingthehyperlink,MrWullemswasoroughttohave
beenawarethat14ofthoseaddonsincludedlinkstodigitalcontentuploadedtotheinternet
without the authorisation of the copyright holders or with authorisation conditional on only
certain persons being entitled to access that content through membership fee, subscription or
anotherpayperviewmethod.ItgoeswithoutsayingthatMrWullemswasoperatinginpursuit
ofaprofit,giventhathewassellinghismultimediaplayer.
46.Therefore,thedisputeturnsontheimportancetobeattachedtooneadditionalfactor,not
present in GS Media, to which Mr Wullems and the Commission refer in their observations,
whentheypointoutthatthecaseconcernsthesaleofamultimediaplayerandnottheprovision
ofhyperlinks.BothMrWullemsandtheCommissionsubmitthatthesaleoftheplayerandthe
installation of hyperlinks on a website cannot be likened to one another and that, even if the
conceptofcommunicationtothepublicisinterpretedbroadly,itcannotbeextendedwithout
limitsothatitencompassesthesaleofamultimediaplayeraswell.(35)
47. At the hearing, Mr Wullems and the Commission pointed out that Mr Wullems
interventionwasnotcrucialandthathemerelyenabledthepublictohaveaccesstocontent
thatcanbedownloadedfromotherwebsites.Thefilmspelerisnot,therefore,anessentialpartof
theprocessconnectingthewebsiteonwhichprotectedcontentismadeavailableunlawfullyand
the end user. In the same vein, the sale of Mr Wullems device does not provide direct but
indirect access to that content, so that the link or connection between Mr Wullems and the
making available to the public of the protected works is tenuous and forms part of a more
extensivechainofbroadcasting.
48.TheargumentputforwardbyMrWullemsandtheCommissionis,initially,persuasive.
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The sale, as a contract to supply a multimedia player in exchange for the price paid, would
appear neutral, that is to say, it would have no direct connection to the transmission of
protected works. Moreover, the Commission states that there must be some limit to the
wideningofthedefinitionofcommunicationtothepublic.(36)
49. However, in my opinion, that argument is, in fact, too reductionist. Marketing of the
filmspeler goes beyond the mere sale of a technical accessory which, according to the
Commission,fitsthedefinitionofphysicalfacilitiesforenablingormakingacommunication,
theprovisionofwhichdoesnotinitselfamounttocommunicationwithinthemeaningofthis
Directive.(37)
50.Inthatdevice,MrWullemsprovides,inseparably,thenecessaryhardwareandsoftware
whichareaimeddirectlyat(38)enablingpurchaserstoaccesscopyrightprotectedworksonthe
internet without the consent of right holders. Provision of that immediate access to an
unspecifiedpublicispartoftheaddedvalueoftheservicesuppliedbyMrWullems,forwhich
he receives the price paid or at least a substantial part thereof in return for the
mediaplayer.
51.Ibelievethatthereisnosignificantdifferencebetweenpostinghyperlinkstoprotected
worksonawebsite(39)and,asinthepresentcase,installinghyperlinksinamultimediadevice
designedspecificallyforusewiththeinternet(inparticular,sothat,throughit,usersareableto
access straightforwardly, directly and immediately, digital content made available without the
consentoftheauthors).Theprovisionoflinkstothatprotectedcontent,themakingavailableof
that content to the public, is a feature common to both types of conduct, and its apparently
incidentalorancillarynaturecannotconcealthefactthattheactivitiesconcernedareaimedat
ensuringthatanyonemay,merelybyclickingonthehyperlink,enjoytheprotectedworks.(40)
52.Whateverthemethodortechnicalprocessbywhichtheyareinstalled,hyperlinksserveto
enablethirdpartiestoaccessdigitalcontentwhichhasalreadybeenuploadedinthiscase,
unlawfullytotheinternet.Thesignificantaspectofthecommunicationtothepublicwhich
takesplacethroughthosehyperlinksisthefactthatitincreasestherangeofpotentialuserswho,
I repeat, are provided with a functionality involving the prior selection of websites that allow
digitalcontenttobeviewedfreeofcharge.
53.Itisthereforepossibletorefertotheindispensablerole,withinthemeaningofthecase
law, (41) played by Mr Wullems in the communication to the public of protected works his
intervention is performed deliberately and with full knowledge of the consequences entailed.
That is clear, in particular, from the examples of the advertising he uses to promote his
device.(42)
54. In short, the filmspeler cannot be regarded as a mere physical facility within the
meaning of recital 27 in the preamble to Directive 2001/29, but rather as a type of
communicationtothepublicofcopyrightprotectedworksthathavepreviouslybeenunlawfully
uploadedtotheinternet.MrWullemsconductinvolvingtheinstallationofhyperlinkstothose
works in his devices, which he clearly does in pursuit of a profit and in awareness of its
unlawfulness,assistspurchasersofthefilmspelertoavoidtheconsiderationpayableforlawful
access to those works, that is, payment of the remuneration due to the right holders which
usuallytakestheformofamembershipfee,subscriptionoranotherpayperviewmethod.
55.Havingestablishedthatthefilmspelercarriesoutacommunicationtothepublicunder
Article3(1)ofthedirective,(43)itremainstobeascertainedwhetherthatpublicwarrantsthe
descriptionnew,asinterpretedtodate.
56. According to the caselaw of the Court, the requirement of a new public must be
satisfied where the communication of the protected work is not made by means of a specific
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methodwhichdiffersfromthemethodsuseduptothattime.(44)Althoughthatfindingoffact
fallstothenationalcourt,themethodusedbyMrWullemsdoesnotappeartoinvolveanynew
features but is rather a combination of other, preexisting methods. In order to simplify the
debate,itcouldthereforebeacceptedthat,inthiscase,thereisnospecific,differentmethod,
for the purposes of the caselaw, which would lead to an analysis of whether potential
purchasersofthefilmspelercanbeclassifiedasanewpublic.
57.Accordingtothecasefile,andtheFrenchGovernmentrightlydrawsattentiontothis,the
protected works were either distributed on the internet without the authorisation of the right
holdersorthatauthorisationwasgrantedonlyforsubscriptionsites,inotherwords,restricted
accesssites.Hence,themultimediaplayersoldbyMrWullemswidensthepoolofusersbeyond
thatintendedbytheauthorsofthoseworks,inasmuchasitlinksbothtowebsitesdistributing
such digital content without authorisation and to sites containing protected works and making
themavailableonlytocertainuserswhohavetopayforaccess.
58.Moreover,notwithstandingthepossibilityoffindingtheaddonsonthemarketandthe
hyperlinks free of charge on the internet, the filmspelerentails an undeniable advantage for a
significant portion of that public: persons not particularly skilled at using the internet to find
illegalsitesforwatchingfilmsandtelevisionsseries,amongstotherdigitalcontent.Thatportion
ofthepublicmightprefertheuserfriendlymenuwhichthefilmspelerdisplaysonitsscreento
thesometimeslaborioussearchforwebsitesofferingsuchcontent.
59.Bethatasitmay,thedistributionofprotectedworkswhichMrWullemsfacilitatesis
directed to a public which the right holders did not take into account when they authorised
access to those works or did so only on payment circuits, from which it follows that the
conditionofanewpublicissatisfied.(45)
60.Ipropose,therefore,thatthereplytothefirsttwoquestionsreferredforapreliminary
rulingbytheRechtbankMiddenNederland(DistrictCourt,CentralNetherlands)shouldbethat
thesaleofamultimediaplayerinwhichthesellerhasinstalledhyperlinksenablingdirectaccess
to protected works, such as films, series and live programmes, available on other websites
without the authorisation of the copyright holder, constitutes a communication to the public
withinthemeaningofArticle3(1)ofDirective2001/29.
BThethirdandfourthquestions
61. By these two questions, the referring court raises two uncertainties which, as I have
pointed out, do not concern the multimedia device but rather the compatibility with Directive
2001/29 of the conduct of an end user who, by means of that device, makes a temporary
reproductionduringthestreamingofacopyrightprotectedworkfromathirdpartywebsite
wherethatcopyrightprotectedworkisofferedwithouttheauthorisationoftherightholder(s).
Inparticular,thereferringcourtseekstoascertainwhetherthistypeofconductcouldbecovered
byArticle5(1)and(5)ofthatdirective.
62. In view of that wording, the two questions were the subject of a number of pleas of
inadmissibilitybecausetheyappeartogobeyondtheboundariesofthecasebetweenStichting
BreinandMrWullems.However,followingtheexplanationsofthereferringcourt,thosepleas
must be dismissed, for one of the heads of claim put forward by Stichting Brein in the main
proceedings is that Mr Wullems should be found to have created misleading advertising and
carried on unfair commercial practices, because in his advertisements, as a claim intended to
increase sales, he stated that the mere streaming of works from unlawful sources (unlike the
downloadingofsuchworks)islawful.Thatiswhythereferringcourt,calledupontoruleon
that specific head of claim, needs the Courts answer as to the interpretation of Article 5 of
Directive2001/29.
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63.TheconsiderationsIshallsetoutbelowmustbetakentorefertothefactsofthemain
proceedingsinthecontextofthemainheadofclaimtowhichIhavejustreferred,andtothe
applicationofArticle5ofDirective2001/29.
1.TheexceptioninArticle5(1)ofDirective2001/29
64.Article5(1)ofDirective2001/29includesinthelistofexceptionstothereproduction
right[t]emporaryactsofreproductionwhicharetransientorincidental[and]anintegraland
essentialpartofatechnologicalprocessandwhosesolepurposeistoenablealawfuluseofa
work or other subjectmatter to be made. The exception applies also to the end user and not
onlytoonlineserviceprovidersorintermediaries,asareadingofrecital33ofDirective2001/29
appearstosuggest.(46)
65.Idonotbelievethat,forthepurposesofthiscase,itisessentialtodeterminewhetheror
notthestreamingofaworkviathehyperlinksonthefilmspelerhasthetransientandincidental
naturetowhichthedirectiverefers.(47)Adecisiononewayortheotheronthedisputewould
firstofallrequireahighlytechnicalassessment(relatingtobufferingandmakingcopiesinthe
cacheoronscreenmemory),(48)whichIdonotconsideritnecessarytomake,(49)when,in
my opinion, one of the other main requirements for the exemption is not satisfied: that of
enablinglawfuluseoftheprotectedwork.
66. It cannot be said that there is lawful use of protected works when the end user has
accesstothoseworksinthecircumstancesatissueinthepresentcasethatistosay,whenthe
holdersoftherelevantcopyrighthaverefusedtoalloworhaverestrictedthedistributionofthe
digitalcontentconcernedandhavenotauthorisedunrestrictedcommunicationtothepublicof
thatcontentonwebsitestowhichthehyperlinksinstalledinthefilmspelerconnect.
67.Itisnot,therefore,aquestionofformingageneralviewonstreaming,butofassessing,in
thelightoftheprovisioncitedabove,theconductofauserwho,inthecircumstancesofthis
case,usesthatmethodtoplayprotectedfilmsandseriesonhisscreen.
68. The development of telecommunications (among other factors, the extension of fibre
opticnetworkswhichprovideveryhighconnectionspeeds)hasmeantthatillegaldownloading
ontodatacarrierswhichreceivedalotofattentionuntilafewyearsagoisgraduallybeing
superseded,ifnotreplaced,bythereproductionofdigitalcontentthroughstreaming,tosucha
point that this has become one of the most soughtafter methods of reproduction. Streaming
frompaymentplatformspresentsnosignificantdifficultiesfromthepointofviewofintellectual
property,nordodifficultiesarisewhereauserviewsorlistenstodigitalcontentnotsubjectto
accessrestrictionsonwebsitesthatprovidesuchcontentlawfullyandfreeofcharge.
69. However, the situation changes when account is taken of websites that make pirated
versions(50)ofsuchcontentavailabletousers.TheCourtsrulinginthejudgmentinGSMedia
concernedapersonwhopostedahyperlinktoprotectedcontentontheinternetwithoutalicence
fromtherightholder.Theconductofonewhoactsinthatwaymustbeassessedbyreference,
first,towhetherthatpersonpursuesaprofit(ifhedoes,thereisarebuttablepresumptionthat
thatpersonisawarethattheworkhasbeenunlawfullypostedontheinternet)and,second,to
whetherhedidnotknow,andcouldnotreasonablyhaveknown,thatpublicationoftheworkon
theinternethasnotbeenauthorised.(51)
70.Inmyopinion,ifthekeyfactor,inthecaseofapersonwhoinsertsahyperlinkwithout
pursuingaprofit,isknowledgeatleastthereasonablepossibilityofknowledgethatthe
protected work is available on the internet unlawfully, it would be difficult not to extend that
criterion to a person who merely makes use of that hyperlink, also without pursuing a
profit.(52)
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71. However, I believe that the subjective component is more appropriate for excluding
personal liability than for deciding on objective unlawfulness and, as the case may be, the
classification of the conduct. To enable a proper interpretation of Article 5(1) of Directive
2001/29, it must be borne in mind that, in accordance with recital 33 thereof, lawfulness, in
objective terms, depends rather on the authorisation of the right holder or his licensee. (53)
Excusable ignorance or reasonable lack of knowledge, on the part of the end user, of the fact
thatnosuchauthorisationexistscould,undoubtedly,exempttheuserfromliability,(54)butit
doesnotexcludeIrepeat,instrictlyobjectivetermstheunlawfulnessoftheusereferred
toinArticle5(1)ofDirective2001/29.
72.Asitisclearfromthecasefilethattheprotectedworkstowhichthehyperlinksinstalled
onMrWullemsfilmspelerleadwerenotauthorisedbythecopyrightholders,ortheholdersof
thereproductionrightprovidedforinArticle2ofDirective2001/29,streamingbyanenduser
bymeansofthatdeviceisnotconsistentwithlawfuluseforthepurposesofArticle5(1)(b)of
thatdirective.
2.TheapplicationofArticle5(5)ofDirective2001/29
73.If,purelyforthesakeofargument,useofMrWullemsfilmspelermightbecoveredby
the exception in Article 5(1) of Directive 2001/29, it would still have to pass the test in
Article5(5),inrelation to which thereferringcourt hasformulatedits fourth question.Itwill
thereforehavetobedeterminedwhether,inthiscase,theconditionslaiddowninArticle5(5)of
thatdirectivearesatisfied.(55)
74.Thatprovisionstatesthattheexceptionprovidedforin,interalia,paragraph1,regarding
temporary acts of reproduction, shall only be applied in certain special cases which do not
conflictwithanormalexploitationoftheworkorothersubjectmatteranddonotunreasonably
prejudicethelegitimateinterestsoftherightholder.
75.Inmyview,noneofthethreeconditionsissatisfiedinthiscase.Inthefirstplace,the
device sold by Mr Wullems will give rise to countless downloads of films, series, sporting
events and other types of broadcasts without the consent of the holders of the reproduction
rights.Therefore,asStichtingBreinandtheSpanishGovernmentcontend,itcannotbeargued
that these proceedings are simply concerned with special cases as the provision at issue
requires.
76.Inthesecondplace,fromatechnicalpointofview,theconductofapersonwhosurfsthe
internet and visits websites cannot be likened to that of a person who streams protected films
andseries.Inthefirsttypeofconduct,thetemporarycopywhichmustbemadeasaresultofthe
technological process may involve normal exploitation of the works, which enables internet
userstoavailthemselvesofthecommunicationtothepubliccarriedoutbythepublisherofthe
websiteconcerned.(56)However,thesituationinwhichaninternetuserviewsprotectedworks
onhisscreenthroughstreamingdoesnotinvolvenormalexploitationofthework,necessitated
bythetechnologyrequiredtonavigatetheinternet,butratheranabnormalactinlegalterms,
which reflects the users deliberate aim of accessing digital content without payment of any
financialconsideration,withtheassistanceofthefilmspeler.
77.Inthosecircumstances,itwouldruncountertoDirective2001/29toallowindiscriminate
or widespread reproductions from unlawful sources, or reproductions made by circumventing
the access limits. Accepting the validity of such reproductions would be tantamount to
promotingthecirculationofpirateddigitalcontentand,tothatextent,wouldseriouslyprejudice
the protection of copyright and create favourable conditions for unlawful methods of
distribution,tothedetrimentoftheproperfunctioningoftheinternalmarket.(57)
78.Inthethirdplace,thereproductionrighthaving,accordingtothecasefile,beengranted
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only for circuits where the end user must pay for access (either through subscription,
membershipfeeorothersimilarmethods),theimmeasurableamountofstreamingwithoutany
financialconsiderationfortherightholdermeansthattherewillnecessarilybeasimultaneous
reductioninthenumberofsubscriberstosuchcircuits,withtheresultingadverseeffectonthe
normalexploitationoftheprotectedworks,toechothetermsusedinthejudgmentinACIAdam
andOthers.(58)
79.TheconsiderationssetoutbytheCourtinACIAdamandOthersareindeedappropriate
hereinthatjudgment,theCourtheld,wheninterpretingtheconditionslaiddowninArticle5(5)
of Directive 2001/29, that to accept that such reproductions may be made from an unlawful
source would encourage the circulation of counterfeited or pirated works, thus inevitably
reducingthevolumeofsalesorofotherlawfultransactionsrelatingtotheprotectedworks,with
theresultthatanormalexploitationofthoseworkswouldbeadverselyaffected.(59)Thesale
ofthefilmspelerthereforeconflictswiththelegitimateinterestsoftherightholder,whohasnot
authorisedtheunrestrictedpublicationofhisworks.
80.Inshort,Ibelievethatthestreamingofprotecteddigitalcontentwithoutthepermission
ofthe copyrightholders doesnotsatisfy theconditionslaid downinArticle 5(5)ofDirective
2001/29,foritdoesnotconstituteaspecialcase,itconflictswiththenormalexploitationofthe
work,anditunreasonablyprejudicesthelegitimateinterestsoftherightholders.
81.Takingaccountofthecumulativenatureoftheconditionssetoutabove,towhichthe
Courthasreferred,(60)thethreestepexceptiontotheexception,laiddowninArticle5(5)of
Directive2001/29,isapplicabletothiscase.Therefore,theexceptiontothereproductionright
maynotbereliedupon.
82. Accordingly, I propose that the reply to the third and fourth questions referred for a
preliminaryrulingshouldbethat,inthecircumstancesofthemainproceedings,thestreaming
ofacopyrightprotectedworkcannotbecoveredbytheexceptionlaiddowninArticle5(1)of
Directive 2001/29, inasmuch as it does not fall within the definition of lawful use in
subparagraph (b) of that provision and, in any case, fails the threestep test laid down in
Article5(5)ofthatdirective.
VConclusion
83. In the light of the arguments set out, I propose that the Court reply as follows to the
questionsreferredforapreliminaryrulingbytheRechtbankMiddenNederland(DistrictCourt,
CentralNetherlands):
Thesaleofamultimediaplayerofthekindatissueinthemainproceedings,inwhichtheseller
hasinstalledhyperlinkstowebsitesthat,withouttheauthorisationofthecopyrightholder,offer
unrestrictedaccesstocopyrightprotectedworks,suchasfilms,seriesandliveprogrammes,
constitutescommunicationtothepublicwithinthemeaningofArticle3(1)ofDirective
2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the
harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information
societyand
cannot be covered by the exception laid down in Article 5(1) of Directive 2001/29,
inasmuchasitdoesnotfallwithinthedefinitionoflawfuluseinsubparagraphb)of
that provision and, in any case, does not fulfil the conditions for application of
Article5(5)ofthatdirective.
1Originallanguage:Spanish.
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2DirectiveoftheEuropeanParliamentandoftheCouncilof22May2001onthe
harmonisationofcertainaspectsofcopyrightandrelatedrightsintheinformationsociety(OJ
2001L167,p.10).
3Thetermhyperlinkisusedasasynonymforlink.Inthecontextofprogramminglanguages
anddocumentsinelectronicformat,bothrefertothelinkestablishedbetweendifferentinformation
segmentssothat,whentheyareactivated,theyinterconnectnodesorblocksoftext,images,audioor
video.
4Inparticular,onlinksandtheconceptofcommunicationtothepublicwheretheworksconcerned
maybeviewedonotherwebsites,seethejudgmentof13February2014,SvenssonandOthers
(C466/12,EU:C:2014:76).Theorderof21October2014,BestWaterInternational(C348/13,
EU:C:2014:2315),appliesthereasoninginthatjudgmenttothetechniqueknownasframing
wherebyusers,whentheyclickonalink,areredirectedtoathirdpartysportalonwhichthework
appears,givingtheimpressionthatitispartofthecontentofthatsite.
5Judgmentof8September2016,GSMedia(C160/15,thejudgmentinGSMedia
EU:C:2016:644).
6Althoughthecurrentlegislationonthissubjectusesthetermworks,Ishallalsouse
interchangeablythetermdigitalcontentinthiscontext,bothtermsrefertorightsrelatedto
copyright.
7Paragraph6.14oftheorderforreference.
8Thestreamingofdigital(generallyaudioorvideo)content(thatis,withoutsavingorcopyingthat
contenttothememoryofadevicebutonlytothedatabuffer)wasthesubjectofthejudgmentof
7March2013,ITVBroadcastingandOthers(C607/11,EU:C:2013:147).
9CouncilDirectiveof29October1993harmonizingthetermofprotectionofcopyrightand
certainrelatedrights(OJ1993L290,p.9).
10DirectiveoftheEuropeanParliamentandoftheCouncilof12December2006ontheterm
ofprotectionofcopyrightandcertainrelatedrights(OJ2006L372,p.12).
11UnderthenamesFilmspelerX5fullyloadedFilmspelerCompleet(Raspberrypi)MinixNeo
X7FilmspelerX90fullyloadedandTurboSd/usbconfiguratie.
12Thesearetherefore,incomputerjargon,socalleddeephyperlinksandnotmerelylinkstothe
homepagesofthedestinationwebsites.
13Theaddonsconcernedare1Channel,GlowmoviesHD,GoMovies,Icefilms,Mashup,Much
Movies,MuchMoviesHD,Istream,SimplyMovies,SimplyPlayer,YifyMoviesHD,Ororo.tv,
Teledunet.comandGoTV.
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14SuchasYoutube,Sportsillustrated,uitzendinggemist,Musicvideobox,Vimeo,ESPN3,
RTLXL,SkyFMandSoundcloud.
15Judgmentof13February2014(C466/12,EU:C:2014:76).
16Orderof21October2014(C348/13,EU:C:2014:2315).
17Judgmentof7March2013,ITVBroadcastingandOthers(C607/11,EU:C:2013:147,
paragraphs21and31).
18Judgmentsof7December2006,SGAE(C306/05,EU:C:2006:764,paragraph36),andof
4October2011,FootballAssociationPremierLeagueandOthers(C403/08andC429/08,
EU:C:2011:631,paragraph186).
19Judgmentof13February2014,SvenssonandOthers(C466/12,EU:C:2014:76,paragraph18).
20Ibid.,paragraph19andthecaselawcited.
21Judgmentof7December2006,SGAE(C306/05,EU:C:2006:764,paragraphs37to39).
22Judgmentsof7March2013,ITVBroadcastingandOthers(C607/11,EU:C:2013:147,
paragraph37),andof4October2011,FootballAssociationPremierLeagueandOthers(C403/08
andC429/08,EU:C:2011:631,paragraph197).
23Byreferencetothejudgmentof7March2013,ITVBroadcastingandOthers(C607/11,
EU:C:2013:147,paragraphs22to26and39).
24TheFrenchGovernmentdidnotsubmitanyobservationsonthefourthquestion,whichisinthe
alternativetothethirdquestion,inviewoftheansweritsuggestedtothelatterquestion.
25Judgmentof10April2014,ACIAdamandOthers(C435/12,EU:C:2014:254,paragraphs37
and39).
26ConventionfortheProtectionofLiteraryandArtisticWorks,signedatBerneon9September
1886,(ParisActof24July1971),asamendedon28September1979.
27TheCommissiondoubtsthatitisnecessarytoanswerthethirdandfourthquestions,since:a)
theydonotconcernthesaleofthefilmspelerbutthestreamingtechnology,andb)theydonotreferto
theconductofthepersonwhosellsthemultimediaplayerbuttothatoftheenduser.
28Judgmentof5June2014,PublicRelationsConsultantsAssociation(C360/13,
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EU:C:2014:1195).
29Orderof17January2012,InfopaqInternational(C302/10,EU:C:2012:16,paragraph57),and
judgmentof4October2011,FootballAssociationPremierLeagueandOthers(C403/08and
C429/08,EU:C:2011:631,paragraph181).
30Thesameunrestricted,freeofchargeaccessisprovidedtoothercontentwhichhasnotbeen
authorisedfordistributiontothepublicbythepersonwhooriginallyretransmittediteither,butwhich
isnotprotectedbycopyrightinthestrictsense.Thatisthecase,forexample,ofthelive
retransmissionofcertainsportingeventswhicharenotbytheirnatureoriginalworksforthepurposes
ofDirective2001/29(althoughreproductionrightsawardedthroughexclusivelicencestocertain
televisionoperatorsmaycomeundertheprotectionofotherprovisions).TheCourthasalreadyruled
onthisissueinthejudgmentof4October2011,FootballAssociationPremierLeagueandOthers
(C403/08andC429/08,EU:C:2011:631,paragraph98),statingthatsportingeventscannotbe
regardedasintellectualcreationsclassifiableasworkswithinthemeaningoftheCopyrightDirective.
31JudgmentinGSMedia,inparticularparagraph32andthecaselawcited.Afterthatjudgment
wasgiven,articlessomecriticalofitandsomepraisingitbegantoappearinthespecialist
media,asislogicalandusual.See,forexample,amongthoseclosestintimetothejudgment,the
articleintheEuropeanLawBlogof20September2016,SavingtheInternetorlinkinglimbo?CJEU
clarifieslegalityofhyperlinking(C160/15,GsMediavSanoma)orthedebateintheplenary
sessionof20September2016ofthe47thWorldCongressoftheInternationalAssociationforthe
ProtectionofIntellectualProperty(AIPPI)onTheCJEUcaselawonhyperlinkingandtheearlier
reportoftheworkinggrouponthesubjectofLinkingandmakingavailableontheInternet.
32Judgmentof13February2014,SvenssonandOthers(C466/12,EU:C:2014:76,paragraph20).
Inthatcase,itwasultimatelyfoundoutthattherehadnotbeenacommunicationtoanewpublic
becausethepersonstargetedbytheinitialcommunicationwereinternetusersingeneral,sincethe
linkstookuserstoprotectedworkspublishedwithoutanyaccessrestrictionsonanotherwebsite
(paragraphs18,25and26).
33Judgmentof31May2016,RehaTraining(C117/15,EU:C:2016:379,paragraph38).
34Accordingtoparagraph31ofthejudgmentof13February2014,SvenssonandOthers
(C466/12,EU:C:2014:76),whereaclickablelinkmakesitpossibleforusersofthesiteonwhich
thatlinkappearstocircumventrestrictionsputinplacebythesiteonwhichtheprotectedwork
appearsinordertorestrictpublicaccesstothatworktothelattersitessubscribersonly,andthelink
accordinglyconstitutesaninterventionwithoutwhichthoseuserswouldnotbeabletoaccessthe
workstransmitted,allthoseusersmustbedeemedtobeanewpublic,whichwasnottakeninto
accountbythecopyrightholderswhentheyauthorisedtheinitialcommunication,andaccordinglythe
holdersauthorisationisrequiredforsuchacommunicationtothepublic.Theorderof21October
2014,BestWaterInternational(C348/13,EU:C:2014:2315,paragraph14),elaboratedonthatview.It
isdecisivethatthepersonsformingthepublicmayaccessthedigitalcontent,notthatthosepersons
actuallymakeuseofthatpossibility,asindicatedinthejudgmentof7December2006,SGAE
(C306/05,EU:C:2006:764,paragraph43).
35TheCommissiondrawsattentiontothefactthatthepresentcaseisconcernedspecificallywith
thesaleofthefilmspelermultimediaplayer,which,initssubmission,comeswithintheconceptof
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physicalfacility,referredtoinrecital27inthepreambletoDirective2001/29.TheCommission
statesthatthefilmspeler,enablesbutisnotequivalenttocommunication.
36Afteracknowledgingatthehearingthatitwasnotsatisfiedwiththejudgmentof13February
2014,SvenssonandOthers(C466/12,EU:C:2014:76),andthejudgmentinGSMedia,the
Commissionwarnedthatthatapproachincaselawcouldleadtolegaluncertainty.Fromother
quarters,variousvoiceshavecomplainedthat,throughitsrulingsinthisarea,theCourtiscreating
lawratherthaninterpretingtheexistinglaw.Idonotagreewiththelattercriticism,fortheCourthas
confineditselftodrawingattentiontothepotentialeffects,hithertoinsufficientlyrecognised,ofan
impreciselydefinedlegalconcept(communicationtothepublic),andhasadaptedtheapplicationof
thatconcepttothedevelopmentoftherapidlyevolvingtechnologywhichisusedatanygiventimeto
makecopyrightprotectedworksavailabletothepublic.
37Recital27inthepreambletoDirective2001/29.
38Viewingandlisteningtoprotectedworksismadepossiblebytheaddonswithhyperlinkstothe
websitesconcerned,whichMrWullemsinstalledintheXBMCsoftware.Asaresultofthemenus
installedontheXBMCsoftwareinterfacewiththeaddonswhichtakehimtothosesites,atelevision
viewerwhousesthefilmspelerbecomesaninternetuserwhoisabletovisitthosesites.
39Aswasthecaseofthefactswhichledtothejudgmentof13February2014,Svenssonand
Others(C466/12,EU:C:2014:76),thejudgmentinGSMediaandtheorderof21October2014,
BestWaterInternational(C348/13,EU:C:2014:2315).
40Fromanotherperspective,MrWullemsconductissimilarbutnotidenticaltothatatissueinthe
judgmentof7December2006,SGAE(C306/05,EU:C:2006:764).Thesignaldistributedbythehotel
bymeansofthetelevisionsetsavailableintheroomsconstitutedcommunicationtothepublicunder
Directive2001/29.
41JudgmentinGSMedia,paragraph35andthecaselawcited.
42Seepoint19ofthisOpinion.
43JudgmentinGSMedia,paragraph51.
44Orderof21October2014,BestWaterInternational(C348/13,EU:C:2014:2315,paragraph14
andthecaselawcited).
45However,itmustbemadeclearthatonlythedistributionofprotectedworkstoenduserswhich
thefilmspelerenablesthroughthehyperlinksgroupedonthe14addons,whichconnectspecifically
towebsitesonwhichprotectedworksmaybestreamedwithouttheconsentoftherightholders,
satisfiesthedefinitionofcommunicationtothepublicasinterpretedbytheCourt.Asregardsthe
linkstofilms,seriesandsportscompetitionsauthorisedbythoserightholders,whicharenotsubject
toanyrestriction,accessisunrestrictedandthejudgmentof13February2014,SvenssonandOthers
(C466/12,EU:C:2014:76,paragraphs25and26),isapplicable.
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46Thatcanbededucedimplicitlyfromthejudgmentof5June2014,PublicRelationsConsultants
Association(C360/13,EU:C:2014:1195).
47ItissignificantinthisrespectthattheEnglishandGermanversionsusethewordstransientand
flchtig,whichsuggestafleetingorbriefperiod.TheDutchversionusesthetermvoorbijgaande
andtheSpanishversionusestransitorio,whicharemoreconsistentwiththeideaofanactbeing
temporary.
48CachedcopiesandonscreencopiessatisfytheconditionslaiddowninArticle5(1)and(5)of
Directive2001/29,accordingtothejudgmentof5June2014,PublicRelationsConsultants
Association(C360/13,EU:C:2014:1195,paragraphs26and27).
49Withthistypeofreproduction,inwhichfilecopyingisreplacedbystorageofthestreamed
contentintheusersbuffer,theuserconsumestheproductinparallelwithviewingit,thereby
avoidingtheproblemsarisingfromthefactthatitisslowertodownloadfiles.Itcouldbearguedthat
althoughsuchareproductionisnotfixedonaspecificdatacarrierandappearsonlyonscreen,itis(in
thecaseoffilmsandtelevisionseries,forexample)toolongindurationtobeclassifiedastransient.
Inthesamevein,ifitisacceptedhypotheticallythatreproductionbystreamingistransient,itwillbe
debatablewhetheritformsanintegralandessentialpartofatechnologicalprocess,whichisanother
oftheessentialconditionsfortheexemptionlaiddowninArticle5(1)ofDirective2001/29.
50Thetermspiracyandpirateinthiscontextarenotmerelyevocativebuthavebecomewidely
acceptedinthelegalterminologyofcopyright.TheCourtreferredtopiratedworkswhichadversely
affectthenormalexploitationofcopyrightprotectedworks,inaccordancewithDirective2001/29,in
thejudgmentof10April2014,ACIAdamandOthers(C435/12,EU:C:2014:254,paragraph39).
51Thejustificationforthatpositionisthatitisdifficulttoascertainwhetherthewebsitetowhich
thehyperlinksleadprovidesaccesstoworkswhichareprotectedandwhetherthecopyrightholdersof
thoseworkshaveconsentedtotheirpostingontheinternet.Thatmaybededucedfromparagraphs46,
47and48ofthejudgmentinGSMedia.
52Asinternetusersbecomemoreawareoftheneedtorespecttherightsofcontentcreatorsandthe
provisionofcontentbyplatformswhichlawfullymakesuchworksavailabletouserssimultaneously
increases,itwillbemoredifficulttorelyonignoranceofthelackofauthorisationbycopyright
holderstojustifythereproductionofpiratedworksusinghyperlinks.
53ThestatementofreasonsinCommonPosition(EC)No48/2000of28September2000
adoptedbytheCouncil,withaviewtoadoptingaDirectiveoftheEuropeanParliamentandof
theCouncilontheharmonisationofcertainaspectsofcopyrightandrelatedrightsinthe
informationsociety(OJ2000C344,p.1)states:Inrecital33,theCouncilhasaddedadefinition
ofthetermlawfuluse...Emphasisadded.
54Thesewouldrefertoactscarriedoutbyendconsumersactingingoodfaithwithinthemeaning
ofrecital14inthepreambletoDirective2004/48/ECoftheEuropeanParliamentandofthe
Councilof29April2004ontheenforcementofintellectualpropertyrights.
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55Accordingtothejudgmentof5June2014,PublicRelationsConsultantsAssociation(C360/13,
EU:C:2014:1195,paragraph53),inorderforittobepossibletorelyontheexceptionlaiddownin
thatprovision[Article5(1)ofDirective2001/29],asinterpretedinparagraph52above,thosecopies
mustalsosatisfytheconditionslaiddowninArticle5(5)of[that]Directive.
56Ibid.,paragraph61.
57Judgmentof10April2014,ACIAdamandOthers(C435/12,EU:C:2014:254,paragraphs35
and36).
58Ibid.,paragraph39.
59Ibid.
60Judgmentof5June2014,PublicRelationsConsultantsAssociation(C360/13,
EU:C:2014:1195,paragraph53andthecaselawcited).

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