Nintendo v. PC Box

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Court of Justice of European Union, Nintendo v. PC Box, C-355/12, 23.01.2014

Type Judgement
Legal context EU
Abstract [[Abstract::Questions referred for a preliminary ruling:
  1. Must Article 6 of [Directive 2001/29] be interpreted, including in the light of recital 48 [thereof], as meaning that the protection of technological protection measures attaching to copyright‑protected works or other subject matter may also extend to a system, produced and marketed by the same undertaking, in which a device is installed in the hardware which is capable of recognising on a separate housing mechanism containing the protected works (videogames produced by the same undertaking as well as by third parties, proprietors of the protected works) a recognition code, in the absence of which the works in question cannot be visualised or used in conjunction with that system, the equipment in question thus incorporating a system which is not interoperable with complementary equipment or products other than those of the undertaking which produces the system itself?
  2. Should it be necessary to consider whether or not the use of a product or component whose purpose is to circumvent a technological protection measure predominates over other commercially important purposes or uses, may Article 6 of [Directive 2001/29] be interpreted, including in the light of recital 48 [thereof], as meaning that the national court must adopt criteria in assessing that question which give prominence to the particular intended use attributed by the rightholder to the product in which the protected content is inserted or, in the alternative or in addition, criteria of a quantative nature relating to the extent of the uses under comparison, or criteria of a qualitative nature, that is, relating to the nature and importance of the uses themselves?’]]
Link http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=146686&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=331046
Topics Business Model, Intellectual Property, Technology, Interoperability

Notes

DIRECTIVE 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society

  • Art. 6:

Obligations as to technological measures. 1. Member States shall provide adequate legal protection against the circumvention of any effective technological meas- ures, which the person concerned carries out in the knowledge, or with reasonable grounds to know, that he or she is pursuing that objective. 2. Member States shall provide adequate legal protection against the manufacture, import, distribution, sale, rental, advertisement for sale or rental, or possession for commercial purposes of devices, products or components or the provision of services which: (a) are promoted, advertised or marketed for the purpose of circumvention of, or (b) have only a limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent, or (c) are primarily designed, produced, adapted or performed for the purpose of enabling or facilitating the circumvention of, any effective technological measures. 3. For the purposes of this Directive, the expression ‘techno- logical measures’ means any technology, device or component that, in the normal course of its operation, is designed to prevent or restrict acts, in respect of works or other subject- matter, which are not authorised by the rightholder of any copyright or any right related to copyright as provided for by law or the sui generis right provided for in Chapter III of Directive 96/9/EC. Technological measures shall be deemed ‘effective’ where the use of a protected work or other subject- matter is controlled by the rightholders through application of an access control or protection process, such as encryption, scrambling or other transformation of the work or other subject-matter or a copy control mechanism, which achieves the protection objective. 4. Notwithstanding the legal protection provided for in paragraph 1, in the absence of voluntary measures taken by rightholders, including agreements between rightholders and other parties concerned, Member States shall take appropriate measures to ensure that rightholders make available to the beneficiary of an exception or limitation provided for in national law in accordance with Article 5(2)(a), (2)(c), (2)(d), (2)(e), (3)(a), (3)(b) or (3)(e) the means of benefiting from that exception or limitation, to the extent necessary to benefit from that exception or limitation and where that beneficiary has legal access to the protected work or subject-matter concerned. A Member State may also take such measures in respect of a beneficiary of an exception or limitation provided for in accordance with Article 5(2)(b), unless reproduction for private use has already been made possible by rightholders to the extent necessary to benefit from the exception or limitation concerned and in accordance with the provisions of Article 5(2)(b) and (5), without preventing rightholders from adopting adequate measures regarding the number of reproductions in accordance with these provisions. The technological measures applied voluntarily by rightholders, including those applied in implementation of voluntary agree- ments, and technological measures applied in implementation of the measures taken by Member States, shall enjoy the legal protection provided for in paragraph 1. The provisions of the first and second subparagraphs shall not apply to works or other subject-matter made available to the public on agreed contractual terms in such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them. When this Article is applied in the context of Directives 92/ 100/EEC and 96/9/EC, this paragraph shall apply mutatis mutandis".

  • Recital 48:

"Such legal protection should be provided in respect of technological measures that effectively restrict acts not authorised by the rightholders of any copyright, rights related to copyright or the sui generis right in databases without, however, preventing the normal operation of electronic equipment and its technological development. Such legal protection implies no obligation to design devices, products, components or services to correspond to technological measures, so long as such device, product, component or service does not otherwise fall under the prohibition of Article 6. Such legal protection should respect proportionality and should not prohibit those devices or activities which have a commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent the technical protection. In particular, this protection should not hinder research into cryptography".


Nintendo v. PC Box judgement

  • § 25:

"Those acts constitute, as is apparent from Articles 2 to 4 of Directive 2001/29, the reproduction, the communication to the public of works and making them available to the public, and the distribution of the original or copies of works. The legal protection referred to in Article 6 of that directive applies only in the light of protecting that rightholder against acts which require his authorisation".

  • § 31:

"Accordingly, that legal protection is granted only with regard to technological measures which pursue the objective of preventing or eliminating, as regards works, acts not authorised by the rightholder of copyright referred to in paragraph 25 of the present judgment. Those measures must be suitable for achieving that objective and must not go beyond what is necessary for this purpose".

  • § 32:

"In those circumstances, it is necessary to examine whether other measures or measures which are not installed in consoles could have caused less interference with the activities of third parties not requiring authorisation by the rightholder of copyright or fewer limitations to those activities, while still providing comparable protection of that rightholder’s rights".

  • § 38:

"It is for the national court to determine whether other measures or measures which are not installed in consoles could cause less interference with the activities of third parties or limitations to those activities, while still providing comparable protection of the rightholder’s rights. Accordingly, it is relevant to take account, inter alia, of the relative costs of different types of technological measures, of technological and practical aspects of their implementation, and of a comparison of the effectiveness of those different types of technological measures as regards the protection of the rightholder’s rights, that effectiveness however not having to be absolute. That court must also examine the purpose of devices, products or components, which are capable of circumventing those technological measures. In that regard, the evidence of use which third parties actually make of them will, in the light of the circumstances at issue, be particularly relevant. The national court may, in particular, examine how often those devices, products or components are in fact used in disregard of copyright and how often they are used for purposes which do not infringe copyright".


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