COPYRIGHT – The ECJ on the legal standing of collecting societies

Newsletter n. 91 – December 2023

COPYRIGHT

The ECJ on the legal standing of collecting societies

On 23 November 2023, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued its judgement in Case C-201/22 (Kopiosto ry v. Telia Finland Oyi ) providing its preliminary ruling on Article 4 of Directive 2004/48/EC, which lists subjects entitled to seek enforcement of intellectual property rights. The national proceedings from which request to the ECJ originates concerned the retransmission by Telia of television broadcasts that allegedly infringe copyrights of the authors represented by Kopiosto. Referral to the ECJ by the Finnish Court was intended to clarify the scope of collective management organisations’(“CMOs”) capacity in enforcing intellectual property rights, particularly the entitlement to bring legal proceedings in their own name on behalf of the rightholders. The ECJ established that Directive 2004/48/EC does not itself govern whether CMOs have a direct interest in the defence of intellectual property rights. The issue is solely governed by applicable national law and it is the responsibility of the national court to ascertain whether CMOs have a direct interest in defending the rights of the authors they represent. Regrettably, the Court did not address the third question concerning the standing of CMOs to bring legal proceedings based on extended licenses.