IP case law Court of Justice

Referral C-597/19 (M.I.C.M. Mircom International Content Management & Consulting, 6 Aug 2019)

[Unofficial translation from Dutch]

1. (a) Can the downloading of a file via a peer-to-peer network and at the same time making available ('pieces') of the file (sometimes very fragmentary in relation to the whole) for uploading ('seeding') be regarded as a communication to the public within the meaning of Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29, even though those individual 'pieces' are unusable as such?

If so,

(b) is there a de minimis threshold so that the seeding of these pieces would constitute a communication to the public?

(c) is it relevant that the seeding can occur automatically (as a result of the settings of the torrent client) and therefore unconsciously for the user ?

2. (a) Can a person who is the contractual holder of copyright (or related rights) but who does not exploit those rights himself but only claims compensation from alleged infringers - and whose economic earning model therefore depends on the existence of piracy rather than combating it - enjoy the same rights which Chapter II of Directive 2004/48 confers on authors or licensees who do exploit copyright in a normal manner?

(b) In this case, how can the licensee have 'suffered actual prejudice' (within the meaning of Article 13 of Directive 2004/48) as a result of the infringement?

3. Are the specific circumstances set out in questions 1 and 2 relevant in assessing the balance between, on the one hand, the enforcement of intellectual property rights and, on the other hand, the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter, such as respect for private life and the protection of personal data, in particular in the context of the proportionality assessment?

4. In all these circumstances, is the systematic recording and further general processing of the IP addresses of a swarm of seeders (by the licensee himself, and by a third party on its instructions) justified under the General Data Protection Regulation, in particular under Article 6(1)(f) thereof?

Case details on the CJEU website (external link)