Key facts of the case:
Reference for a preliminary ruling – Copyright and related rights – Directive 2001/29/EC – Information society – Harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights – Article 3(1) – Communication to the public – Notion of ‘public’ – Transmission by electronic means to a court of a protected work as evidence in court proceedings.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Fifth Chamber) hereby rules:
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 meaning that the concept of ‘communication to the public’, referred to in that provision, does not cover the transmission by electronic means of a protected work to a court, as evidence in judicial proceedings between individuals.
31) It must be borne in mind, as follows from recitals 3 and 31 of Directive 2001/29, that the interpretation set out in paragraph 29 of this judgment enables, in particular in the electronic environment, the maintenance of a fair balance between the interest of the holders of copyright and related rights in the protection of their intellectual property rights now guaranteed by Article 17(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’) and the protection of the interests and fundamental rights of users of protected subject matter as well as of the public interest (see, to that effect, judgment of 29 July 2019, Pelham and Others, C‑476/17, EU:C:2019:624, paragraph 32 and the case-law cited).
32) In particular, the Court has already had occasion to point out that it is in no way apparent from Article 17(2) of the Charter or from the Court’s case-law that the right to intellectual property enshrined in that provision is inviolable and that protection of that right must therefore be guaranteed absolutely, since that right must be weighed against the other fundamental rights (see, to that effect, judgment of 29 July 2019, Pelham and Others, C‑476/17, EU:C:2019:624, paragraphs 33 and 34 and the case-law cited), which include the right to an effective remedy guaranteed in Article 47 of the Charter.