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CJEU - C 277/10 / Judgment

Martin Luksan v Petrus van der Let

Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
European Court of Justice (Third Chamber)
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
09/02/2012
Key facts of the case:
 
The parties in the main proceedings had been the scriptwriter and principal director of a documentary film on the one hand and the producer on the other hand who had concluded an agreement by which the former conferred all copyright and related rights to the latter, with the exception of certain methods of exploitation. The producer having made publicly available the film on the internet, the director considered this as a breach of the agreement and brought proceedings against the producer who, in turn, contended that Austrian law assignes all rights of exploitation to him and that agreements diverging from that law are void. As to the remuneration, the defendant claimed that, in the agreement, the director had waived his share.
 
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
  1. Articles 1 and 2 of Council Directive 93/83/EEC of 27 September 1993 on the coordination of certain rules concerning copyright and rights related to copyright applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission, and Articles 2 and 3 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 in conjunction with Articles 2 and 3 of Directive 2006/115/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on rental right and lending right and on certain rights related to copyright in the field of intellectual property and with Article 2 of Directive 2006/116/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights, must be interpreted as meaning that rights to exploit a cinematographic work such as those at issue in the main proceedings (reproduction right, satellite broadcasting right and any other right of communication to the public through the making available to the public) vest by operation of law, directly and originally, in the principal director. Consequently, those provisions must be interpreted as precluding national legislation which allocates those exploitation rights by operation of law exclusively to the producer of the work in question. 
  2. European Union law must be interpreted as allowing the Member States the option of laying down a presumption of transfer, in favour of the producer of a cinematographic work, of rights to exploit the cinematographic work such as those at issue in the main proceedings (satellite broadcasting right, reproduction right and any other right of communication to the public through the making available to the public), provided that such a presumption is not an irrebuttable one precluding the principal director of that work from agreeing otherwise. 
  3. European Union law must be interpreted as meaning that, in his capacity as author of a cinematographic work, the principal director thereof must be entitled, by operation of law, directly and originally, to the right to the fair compensation provided for in Article 5(2)(b) of Directive 2001/29 under the ‘private copying’ exception.
  4. European Union law must be interpreted as not allowing the Member States the option of laying down a presumption of transfer, in favour of the producer of a cinematographic work, of the right to fair compensation vesting in the principal director of that work, whether that presumption is couched in irrebuttable terms or may be departed from.