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The European Court of Justice Ruling on the Sale of Multimedia Players continues Copyright Debate
27 Apr 2017 : Katie McNeice
The ruling which was made on Wednesday, April 26th deals with the selling of multimedia devices to users, who then use it to deliberately access content online which is protected under copyright law.

It determines that though temporary, the reproduction of material under copyright is not except from laws regarding the right of reproduction.

At base the issue is who is liable for the infringement of copyright; is it the seller or buyer of the device?

In particular the pre-installation of software with add-ons, menus and controllers makes it far easier for users to access protected content. In this way the marketing and sale of the devices is seen as a deliberate communication to the public which is in violation of copyright law.

Furthermore the court considers this communication extends not only to the large numbers of people who have already purchased these devices, but to all people with an internet connection who could follow suit.  

The buyer is also seen to have some liability, as shown below, although there is no indication as to what measures can be put in place beyond sanctioning sellers.  

“In the present case and having regard, in particular, to the content of the advertising of the multimedia player and to the fact that the main attraction of that player for potential purchasers is the pre-installation of the add-ons concerned, the Court finds that the purchaser of such a player accesses a free and unauthorised offer of protected works deliberately and in full knowledge of the circumstances.”

Concurrent to this ruling is the active debate on the onus of internet service providers to stop viewers from accessing illegal streaming sites via their service. Just this month we reported High Court Injunction secured by Irish Studios to address Job & Revenue losses due to Streaming. In this case there is also an issue of liability being brought forward by Irish studios; the internet provider, streaming service or audience.

Read the Full Ruling Online




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