EU Court of Justice Resolves Copyright Case That Threatened Internet Browsing

BY Heather Greenfield
June 5, 2014

Brussels – European Internet users can continue to visit websites thanks to a lengthy copyright case that the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) resolved today. The ruling found that copies that are inherently made when people browse the Internet do not violate copyright law and those browsing the Internet do not need permission from the copyright holder.

The court ruled in Case C-360/13 PRCA v Newspaper Licensing Agency that EU law “must be interpreted as meaning that on-screen copies and the cached copies made by an end-user in the course of viewing a website satisfy the conditions” of the mandatory exception for temporary acts of reproduction of the EU Copyright Directive.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association represents a range of technology companies from telecommunications to Internet services and has advocated for balanced copyright law for more than 40 years.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“With free speech and the ability to freely access information without censorship facing attack on so many fronts, it is good to see a sensible answer to an incredulous question. It is worth noting that copyright laws have vastly more economic impact and consequences than ever intended.”

The following statement can be attributed to CCIA Brussels Director Jakob Kucharczyk:

“This is a crucial judgment. Europe’s judges have clearly established that Internet users do not breach copyright when browsing the Internet — probably the single most important activity of millions of Internet users. Any other ruling would essentially mess up the Internet for European citizens and undermine the efforts to enable European technology companies to expand in the Internet economy.”

“Despite the ruling, one cannot overstate how irrational this case was to begin with. It’s hard to believe the question at stake was whether browsing the Internet is legal or not. Even though the Court has provided a clear answer to that question, one must wonder whether our copyright regime is apt for the digital era. This was not the first copyright case challenging the foundations of Internet use, and policymakers will have to ensure that copyright rules will not continue to threaten the growth in the Internet economy.”

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