The reason for raising the issue with regard to the unlawful distribution of content on the online platform YouTube was a new decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘’CJEU’’) as of 09.07.2020. The proceedings are initiated between Constatin Film Verleih GmbH, a film distributor, YouTube LLC and Google Inc.
The facts on the case:
- In 2013 and 2014, the films Parker and Scary Movie 5 were uploaded onto the video platform YouTube without the consent of Constantin Film Verleih, the holder of the exclusive rights to these works for Germany.
- Therefore, Constantin Film Verleih demands from YouTube and Google, in which users must first register their account – to provide him with a set of data for each of the users, who uploaded these films.
- Also, in order to be able to post onto YouTube platform videos lasting more than 15 minutes, the user must provide a mobile telephone number to receive an activation code, which is necessary in order to post.
- This additional information concerns the email addresses and mobile telephone numbers as well as the IP addresses used by users in question to upload the files, together with the precise date and time in order to have access to the YouTube platform.
- Both companies refused to provide Constantion Film Verleih with data of these users.
- The specified information provides that judicial authorities may request information on origin and distribution networks of goods or services that infringe intellectual property rights.
- This information includes in particular ‘addresses’ within the meaning of the Directive 2004/48/EC of the producers, distributors and suppliers of the infringing goods or services.
What does the CJEU resolve on the matter?
- The CJEU assumes that, within its actual meaning, the word ‘addresses’ refers only to the place of residence or domicile of the person.
- Therefore, when it is used without specification, as in the Directive 2004/48/EC, this word does not refer to an electronic address, telephone number or IP address, used when the user who uploaded the content last accessed his profile on the online platform.
- Concludes that Member States may grant to users the intellectual property rights to receive full information, but only if appropriate, balance between the various fundamental rights in question and compliance with other general principles of the EU law, such as the principle of proportionality.