TV programs saved in the cloud must be authorized by rightsholders

Copies of television programmes saved in the cloud must be authorised by the rightsholder, as such a service constitutes a retransmission of the programmes concerned.

The making available of copies of television programmes saved in the cloud must be authorised by the holder of the copyright or related rights. Such a service constitutes a retransmission of the programmes concerned.

Background

VCAST, a company incorporated under UK law, makes available to its customers via the Internet a remote video recording system for terrestrial programmes of Italian television organisations, among which include those belonging to RTI (Reti Televisive Italiane).

The VCAST system picks up television signals using its own antennas and records time slots for selected programme in the cloud data storage space indicated by users, thereby making copies of the programmes broadcast available to the customer via the Internet.

VCAST sought a declaration from the Tribunale ordinario di Torino (District Court, Turin, Italy) regarding the lawfulness of its activities. The company invoked the private copying exception, according to which the authorisation of the copyright owner or holder of related rights isn’t necessary in respect of reproductions on any medium made by a natural person for private use and for ends that are neither directly nor indirectly commercial, on condition that the rightholders receive fair compensation.

The Turin District Court, following an application for interim measures submitted by RTI, provisionally prohibited VCAST from pursuing its activities. In that context, before delivering its ultimate decision, it decided to submit questions to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling asking, in essence, whether VCAST’s service, provided without the consent of the copyright owner or holder of related rights, is compatible with the Copyright Directive.

This month’s judgment saw the Court ultimately finding that the original transmission made by the broadcasting organisation, on the one hand, and that made by VCAST, on the other, are made under specific technical conditions, using different means of transmission for the protected works, each of which is intended for its public.

The Court concluded that the (re)transmission made by VCAST constitutes a communication to a different public from that of the original transmission and must therefore receive the consent of the copyright owner or holder of related rights.

Accordingly, such a remote recording service did not fall within the private copying exception.

The full text of the judgment was published on the CURIA website on the day of delivery.