You are here:

CJEU Case C-469/17/ Judgment

Funke Medien NRW GmbH v Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
Grand Chamber
Decision date:
29/07/2019

Key facts

  1. This request for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Article 2(a), Article 3(1) and Article 5(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 (OJ 2001 L 167, p. 10).
  2. The request has been made in proceedings between Funke Medien NRW GmbH (‘Funke Medien’), which operates the website of the German daily newspaper Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, and the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany) concerning the publication by Funke Medien of certain documents ‘classified for restricted access’ drawn up by the German Government.

Judgement

On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:

  1. Article 2(a) and Article 3(1) 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 must be interpreted as constituting measures of full harmonisation of the scope of the exceptions or limitations which they contain. Article 5(3)(c), second case, and (d) of Directive 2001/29 must be interpreted as not constituting measures of full harmonisation of the scope of the relevant exceptions or limitations.
  2. Freedom of information and freedom of the press, enshrined in Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, are not capable of justifying, beyond the exceptions or limitations provided for in Article 5(2) and (3) of Directive 2001/29, a derogation from the author’s exclusive rights of reproduction and of communication to the public, referred to in Article 2(a) and Article 3(1) of that directive respectively.
  3. In striking the balance which is incumbent on a national court between the exclusive rights of the author referred to in Article 2(a) and in Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29 on the one hand, and, on the other, the rights of the users of protected subject matter referred to in Article 5(3)(c), second case, and (d) of that directive, the latter of which derogate from the former, a national court must, having regard to all the circumstances of the case before it, rely on an interpretation of those provisions which, whilst consistent with their wording and safeguarding their effectiveness, fully adheres to the fundamental rights enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.