At the Intersection of Technology, Law, and Business
June 06, 2017 - Intellectual Property

ECJ Strengthens Position of Media Industry in Fight Against Piracy

ECJ Strengthens Position of Media Industry in Fight Against Piracy

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued the Filmspeler judgement on April 26, 2017, favorable to the media industry, on the liability of sellers of set-top boxes with pre-installed add-ons enabling illegal access to motion pictures, Pay-TV, and SvoD platforms (“loaded Kodi boxes”).  This decision creates a tool against emerging forms of piracy via injunctive relief and damages that are now available from individual end users as well as companies selling loaded Kodi boxes. 

Liability of Sellers (No Hiding Anymore)

Article 3 of the Copyright Directive provides that an act constituting a “communication to the public” of protected work requires authorization by the copyright owner. In consideration of ECJ’s broad definition of the term, the court found that the sale of the Filmspeler media player also represented an infringing act of “communication to the public”

Liability of End Users (A Grey Area Turning Black)

The Filmspeler judgment clarifies that even the mere act of temporary reproduction on a multimedia player violates copyright law. 


For the media industry, the decision strengthens the rights of holders in the fight against piracy who can now take action against sellers of fully loaded Kodi boxes, as well as against individual end users.