Austro-Mechana Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung mechanisch-musikalischer Urheberrechte Gesellschaft mbH v Strato AG.

JurisdictionEuropean Union
ECLIECLI:EU:C:2022:217
Date24 March 2022
Docket NumberC-433/20
Celex Number62020CJ0433
CourtCourt of Justice (European Union)

Provisional text

JUDGMENT OF THE COURT (Second Chamber)

24 March 2022 (*)

(Reference for a preliminary ruling – Harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society – Directive 2001/29/EC – Article 2 – Reproduction – Article 5(2)(b) – Private copying exception – Concept of ‘any medium’ – Servers owned by third parties made available to natural persons for private use – Fair compensation – National legislation that does not make the providers of cloud computing services subject to the private copying levy)

In Case C‑433/20,

REQUEST for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU from the Oberlandesgericht Wien (Higher Regional Court, Vienna, Austria), made by decision of 7 September 2020, received at the Court on 15 September 2020, in the proceedings

Austro-Mechana Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung mechanisch-musikalischer Urheberrechte Gesellschaft mbH

v

Strato AG,

THE COURT (Second Chamber),

composed of A. Arabadjiev, President of the First Chamber, acting as President of the Second Chamber, I. Ziemele (Rapporteur), T. von Danwitz, P.G. Xuereb and A. Kumin, Judges,

Advocate General: G. Hogan,

Registrar: V. Giacobbo, Administrator,

having regard to the written procedure and further to the hearing on 7 July 2021,

after considering the observations submitted on behalf of:

– Austro-Mechana Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung mechanisch-musikalischer Urheberrechte Gesellschaft mbH, by M. Walter, Rechtsanwalt,

– Strato AG, by A. Anderl and B. Heinzl, Rechtsanwälte,

– the Austrian Government, by J. Schmoll, G. Kunnert and M. Reiter, acting as Agents,

– the Danish Government, by M. Wolff, V. Jørgensen and J. Nymann-Lindegren, acting as Agents,

– the French Government, by E. de Moustier, A. Daniel and A.‑L. Desjonquères, acting as Agents,

– the Netherlands Government, by M.K. Bulterman and J. Langer, acting as Agents,

– the European Commission, by T. Scharf, G. von Rintelen and J. Samnadda, acting as Agents,

after hearing the Opinion of the Advocate General at the sitting on 23 September 2021,

gives the following

Judgment

1 This request for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Article 5(2)(b) of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (OJ 2001 L 167, p. 10).

2 The request has been made in proceedings between Austro-Mechana Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung mechanisch-musikalischer Urheberrechte Gesellschaft mbH (‘Austro-Mechana’), a copyright collecting society, and Strato AG, a provider of cloud storage services, concerning the remuneration for copyright payable by Strato in respect of the provision of that service.

Legal context

European Union law

3 Recitals 2, 5, 21, 31, 35 and 38 of Directive 2001/29 state:

‘(2) The European Council, meeting at Corfu on 24 and 25 June 1994, stressed the need to create a general and flexible legal framework at Community level in order to foster the development of the information society in Europe. This requires, inter alia, the existence of an internal market for new products and services. Important Community legislation to ensure such a regulatory framework is already in place or its adoption is well under way. Copyright and related rights play an important role in this context as they protect and stimulate the development and marketing of new products and services and the creation and exploitation of their creative content.

(5) Technological development has multiplied and diversified the vectors for creation, production and exploitation. While no new concepts for the protection of intellectual property are needed, the current law on copyright and related rights should be adapted and supplemented to respond adequately to economic realities such as new forms of exploitation.

(21) This Directive should define the scope of the acts covered by the reproduction right with regard to the different beneficiaries. This should be done in conformity with the acquis communautaire. A broad definition of these acts is needed to ensure legal certainty within the internal market.

(31) A fair balance of rights and interests between the different categories of rightholders, as well as between the different categories of rightholders and users of protected subject matter must be safeguarded. The existing exceptions and limitations to the rights as set out by the Member States have to be reassessed in the light of the new electronic environment. Existing differences in the exceptions and limitations to certain restricted acts have direct negative effects on the functioning of the internal market of copyright and related rights. Such differences could well become more pronounced in view of the further development of trans-border exploitation of works and cross-border activities. In order to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market, such exceptions and limitations should be defined more harmoniously. The degree of their harmonisation should be based on their impact on the smooth functioning of the internal market.

(35) In certain cases of exceptions or limitations, rightholders should receive fair compensation to compensate them adequately for the use made of their protected works or other subject matter. When determining the form, detailed arrangements and possible level of such fair compensation, account should be taken of the particular circumstances of each case. When evaluating these circumstances, a valuable criterion would be the possible harm to the rightholders resulting from the act in question. In cases where rightholders have already received payment in some other form, for instance as part of a licence fee, no specific or separate payment may be due. The level of fair compensation should take full account of the degree of use of technological protection measures referred to in this Directive. In certain situations where the prejudice to the rightholder would be minimal, no obligation for payment may arise.

(38) Member States should be allowed to provide for an exception or limitation to the reproduction right for certain types of reproduction of audio, visual and audio-visual material for private use, accompanied by fair compensation. This may include the introduction or continuation of remuneration schemes to compensate for the prejudice to rightholders. Although differences between those remuneration schemes affect the functioning of the internal market, those differences, with respect to analogue private reproduction, should not have a significant impact on the development of the information society. Digital private copying is likely to be more widespread and have a greater economic impact. Due account should therefore be taken of the differences between digital and analogue private copying and a distinction should be made in certain respects between them.’

4 Article 2 of Directive 2001/29, entitled ‘Reproduction right’, provides:

‘Member States shall provide for the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit direct or indirect, temporary or permanent reproduction by any means and in any form, in whole or in part:

(a) for authors, of their works;

(b) for performers, of fixations of their performances;

(c) for phonogram producers, of their phonograms;

(d) for the producers of the first fixations of films, in respect of the original and copies of their films;

(e) for broadcasting organisations, of fixations of their broadcasts, whether those broadcasts are transmitted by wire or over the air, including by cable or satellite.’

5 Article 3(1) of that directive provides:

‘Member States shall provide authors with the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit any communication to the public of their works, by wire or wireless means, including the making available to the public of their works in such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them.’

6 Article 5 of that directive, entitled ‘Exceptions and limitations’, states:

‘1. Temporary acts of reproduction referred to in Article 2, which are transient or incidental [and] an integral and essential part of a technological process and the sole purpose of which is to enable:

(a) a transmission in a network between third parties by an intermediary,

or

(b) a lawful use

of a work or other subject matter to be made, and which have no independent economic significance, shall be exempted from the reproduction right provided for in Article 2.

2. Member States may provide for exceptions or limitations to the reproduction right provided for in Article 2 in the following cases:

(a) in respect of reproductions on paper or any similar medium, effected by the use of any kind of photographic technique or by some other process having similar effects, with the exception of sheet music, provided that the rightholders receive fair compensation;

(b) 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 which takes account of the application or non-application of technological measures referred to in Article 6 to the work or subject matter concerned;

…’

Austrian law

7 Paragraph 42b of the Urheberrechtsgesetz (Law on Copyright) of 9 April 1936 (BGBl. 111/1936), in the version applicable to the main proceedings, provides:

‘(1) If a work which has been broadcast, made available to the public or recorded on a storage medium produced for commercial purposes is by its nature likely to be reproduced for personal or private use by being recorded on a storage medium …, the author shall be entitled to equitable remuneration (remuneration in respect of storage media) in the case where storage media of any kind which are suitable for making such reproductions are, in the course of a commercial activity, placed on the market in national territory.

...

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4 practice notes
  • Opinion of Advocate General Collins delivered on 13 July 2023.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 13 July 2023
    ...fornito. L’utente privato si fa quindi carico, in ultima analisi, dell’onere del prelievo. Sentenza del 24 marzo 2022, Austro Mechana (C‑433/20, EU:C:2022:217, punto 45) e dell’8 settembre 2022, Ametic (C‑263/21, EU:C:2022:644, punti 37 e 20 Sentenze del 16 giugno 2011, Stichting de Thuisko......
  • Conclusiones del Abogado General Sr. M. Szpunar, presentadas el 15 de diciembre de 2022.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 15 December 2022
    ...Aspekt ist jedoch für die Antwort auf die erste Vorlagefrage nicht entscheidend. 12 Vgl. zuletzt Urteil vom 24. März 2022, Austro-Mechana (C‑433/20, EU:C:2022:217, Tenor Nr. 1). 13 Vgl. u. a. Urteil vom 22. Juni 2021, YouTube und Cyando (C‑682/18 und C‑683/18, EU:C:2021:503, Rn. 64 und die ......
  • Seven.One Entertainment Group GmbH v Corint Media GmbH.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 23 November 2023
    ...de derechos, que genera, en principio, la obligación de «indemnizarles» o «compensarles» (sentencias de 24 de marzo de 2022, Austro-Mechana, C‑433/20, EU:C:2022:217, apartado 37, y de 8 de septiembre de 2022, Ametic, C‑263/21, EU:C:2022:644, apartado 35 y jurisprudencia 33 En efecto, la rea......
  • Ocilion IPTV Technologies GmbH v Seven.One Entertainment Group GmbH and Puls 4 TV GmbH & Co. KG.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 13 July 2023
    ...che è quello di instaurare un alto livello di protezione in favore, segnatamente, degli autori (sentenza del 24 marzo 2022, Austro-Mechana, C‑433/20, EU:C:2022:217, punto 29 Inoltre, per quanto riguarda più precisamente l’espressione «riproduzioni su qualsiasi supporto», di cui all’articolo......
4 cases
  • Opinion of Advocate General Collins delivered on 13 July 2023.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 13 July 2023
    ...fornito. L’utente privato si fa quindi carico, in ultima analisi, dell’onere del prelievo. Sentenza del 24 marzo 2022, Austro Mechana (C‑433/20, EU:C:2022:217, punto 45) e dell’8 settembre 2022, Ametic (C‑263/21, EU:C:2022:644, punti 37 e 20 Sentenze del 16 giugno 2011, Stichting de Thuisko......
  • Conclusiones del Abogado General Sr. M. Szpunar, presentadas el 15 de diciembre de 2022.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 15 December 2022
    ...non è decisivo ai fini della risposta alla prima questione pregiudiziale. 12 V., da ultimo, sentenza del 24 marzo 2022, Austro-Mechana (C‑433/20, EU:C:2022:217, punto 1 del dispositivo). 13 V., in particolare, sentenza del 22 giugno 2021, YouTube e Cyando (C‑682/18 e C‑683/18, EU:C:2021:503......
  • Seven.One Entertainment Group GmbH v Corint Media GmbH.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 23 November 2023
    ...di diritti, il quale fa sorgere, in linea di principio, l’obbligo di indennizzare questi ultimi (sentenze del 24 marzo 2022, Austro-Mechana, C‑433/20, EU:C:2022:217, punto 37, e dell’8 settembre 2022, Ametic, C‑263/21, EU:C:2022:644, punto 35 e giurisprudenza ivi citata). 33 Infatti, si dev......
  • Ocilion IPTV Technologies GmbH v Seven.One Entertainment Group GmbH and Puls 4 TV GmbH & Co. KG.
    • European Union
    • Court of Justice (European Union)
    • 13 July 2023
    ...que es lograr un nivel elevado de protección en interés, especialmente, de los autores (sentencia de 24 de marzo de 2022, Austro-Mechana, C‑433/20, EU:C:2022:217, apartado 29 A continuación, en lo que respecta más concretamente a la expresión «reproducciones en cualquier soporte», que figur......

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