The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has handed down judgment seeking to clarify the position regarding copyright in videos framed on third party websites.
The case of Best Water International v Mebes related to a Youtube video of Best Water's which was embedded into the website of two other individuals. Best Water alleged that the framing infringed their copyright in the video. This was on the basis that it had been communicated to the public - one of several ways a copyrighted work can (in principle) be infringed.
However, the ECJ decided that, as a general point, embedding or framing a video on your website will not infringe the copyright in it providing the video is not made available to a 'new public' or using different technical means. In essence, this means that if a user puts a video online for anyone to access, they cannot then complain in copyright if it is framed on another site.
The decision is broadly consistent with one (Svensson) handed down by the ECJ earlier this year relating to hyper-linking from one site to another.
Nevertheless, neither decision is entirely clear as to what the position will be where the material has not been provided on an open website, or is otherwise made available without the copyright owner's permission in the first place. It currently seems that the user of the video is not required to check the copyright owner actually agreed to have the video uploaded in the first place - leaving the rights owner to police the web for its own content.
It is hoped this will become clearer shortly, as the court is expected to hand down a further judgment in the coming months concerning a case in which a defendant deliberately circumvented restrictions to access and link to a restricted broadcast. Watch this space...
Taylors' Intellectual Property team, led by Tony Catterall, is recognised nationally and internationally for its expertise and experience in protecting and enforcing the rights of designers. It has won many notable and key cases in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court against major corporates. Taylors is the only North West-based firm to have been appointed as a Legal Affiliate to the national organisation, Anti-Copying in Design (ACID).
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Tony Catterall, Head of our Intellectual Property team, on 0844 8000 263 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org