IP case law Court of Justice

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



1(a) Can the downloading of a file via a peer-to-peer network and the simultaneous provision for uploading of parts (‘pieces’) thereof (which may be very fragmentary as compared to the whole) (‘seeding’) be regarded as a communication to the public within the meaning of Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29, even if the individual pieces as such are unusable? If so,

(b) is there a de minimis threshold above which the seeding of those pieces would constitute a communication to the public?

(c) is the fact that seeding can take place automatically (as a result of the torrent client’s settings), and thus without the user’s knowledge, relevant?

2(a) Can a person who is the contractual holder of the copyright (or related rights), but does not himself exploit those rights and merely claims damages from alleged infringers - and whose economic business model thus depends on the existence of piracy, not on combating it - enjoy the same rights as those conferred by Chapter II of Directive 2004/48 on authors or licence holders who do exploit copyright in the normal way?

(b) How can the licence holder in that case have suffered ‘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 when assessing the correct balance to be struck between, on the one hand, the enforcement of intellectual property rights and, on the other, the rights and freedoms safeguarded by the Charter, such as respect for private life and protection of personal data, in particular in the context of the assessment of proportionality?

4. Is, in all those circumstances, the systematic registration and general further processing of the IP-addresses of a ‘swarm’ of ‘seeders’ (by the licence holder himself, and by a third party on his behalf) legitimate under the General Data Protection Regulation, and specifically under Article 6(1)(f) thereof?


Case details on the CJEU website (external link)


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