Key facts of the case:
The applicant in the main proceedings, an association representing owners of intellectual property like authors, composers and publishers, sought before the referring court an injunction against the defendant, an online social networking platform, securing that the “unlawfully making available” of works from the applicant’s repertoire ceases. The fulfilment of this claim would, apparently, require that the defendant were obliged to “ introduce, for all its customers, in abstracto and as a preventative measure, at its own cost and for an unlimited period, a system for filtering most of the information which is stored on its servers in order to identify on its servers electronic files containing musical, cinematographic or audio-visual work in respect of which” the applicant “claims to hold rights, and subsequently that it block the exchange of such files” (cit Judgment, para 23).
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
- 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (Directive on electronic commerce);
- 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; and
- 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, read together and construed in the light of the requirements stemming from the protection of the applicable fundamental rights, must be interpreted as precluding a national court from issuing an injunction against a hosting service provider which requires it to install a system for filtering:
- information which is stored on its servers by its service users;
- which applies indiscriminately to all of those users;
- as a preventative measure;
- exclusively at its expense; and
- for an unlimited period,
- which is capable of identifying electronic files containing musical, cinematographic or audio-visual work in respect of which the applicant for the injunction claims to hold intellectual property rights, with a view to preventing those works from being made available to the public in breach of copyright.