Key facts of the case:
This case involved a reference to the ECJ made in the course of proceedings between two companies incorporated under German law, Dynamic Medien Vertriebs GmbH (‘Dynamic Medien’) and Avides Media AG (‘Avides Media’), with respect to mail order sales by Avides Media in Germany, via the internet, of image storage media from the United Kingdom. Dynamic Medien submitted that the Law on the protection of young persons prohibits the sale by mail order of image storage media which have not been examined in Germany in accordance with that Law, and which do not bear an age-limit label corresponding to a classification decision from a higher regional authority or a national self-regulation body (‘competent authority’) even though it had received a classification by a UK authority.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
The ECJ held that “although the protection of the child is a legitimate interest which, in principle, justifies a restriction on a fundamental freedom guaranteed by the EC Treaty, such as the free movement of goods … such restrictions may be justified only if they are suitable for securing the attainment of the objective pursued and do not go beyond what is necessary in order to attain it.”
Interpretation of article(s) and implications for the resolution of the case:
FRC - Article 24: The ECJ supported the rights of the child to protection as a “legitimate interest which, in principle, justifies a restriction on a fundamental freedom guaranteed by the EC Treaty, such as the free movement of goods” (para 42) Specifically it held that “prohibiting the sale and transfer by mail order of image storage media which have not been examined and classified by the competent authority for the purpose of protecting young persons and which do not bear a label from that authority indicating the age from which they may be viewed constitutes a measure suitable for protecting children against information and materials injurious to their well-being” (para 47).