The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that providing copies of TV programmes on a cloud computing service constitutes a communication to the public and should therefore be authorised by the copyright holder.
According to World IP Preview, the court was ruling on a dispute between the UK company VCAST and Italian Mediaset-owned broadcaster RTI.
The former operates a commercial service that allows users to choose a TV programme and time slot which it then stores in the cloud.
Although VCAST tried to obtain confirmation from the District Court of Turin that its activities are legal, the court found against it and also referred questions to the CJEU. These were whether article 5(2)(b) of the 2001 copyright directive covered such services as those offered by VCAST.
The CJEU ruled that these services are a communication to the public, rather than private copying, and therefore require the right holder’s consent.
VCAST, which calls itself a video cloud recorder, targets the Italian market, allowing viewers to access content in over 50 terrestrial TV channels.
The CJEU’s ruling has essentially confirmed the opinion of Advocate General Szpunar, who said in September that such activities undertaken without the permission of copyright holders are illegal.