Language of document :

Judgment of the Court (Fourth Chamber) of 27 February 2014 (request for a preliminary ruling from the Krajský soud v Plzni - Czech Republic) – Ochranný svaz autorský pro práva k dílům hudebním o.s. (OSA) v Léčebné lázně Mariánské Lázně a.s.

(Case C-351/12) 1

(Directive 2001/29/EC – Copyright and related rights in the information society – Definition of ‘communication to the public’ – Transmission of works in a spa establishment – Direct effect of the provisions of the directive – Articles 56 TFEU and 102 TFEU – Directive 2006/123/EC – Freedom to provide services – Competition – Exclusive right of collective management of copyright)

Language of the case: Czech

Referring court

Krajský soud v Plzni

Parties to the main proceedings

Applicant: Ochranný svaz autorský pro práva k dílům hudebním o.s. (OSA)

Defendant: Léčebné lázně Mariánské Lázně a.s.

Re:

Request for a preliminary ruling – Krajský soud v Plzni – Interpretation of Articles 3 and 5 of Directive 2001/29/EC of the of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (OJ 2001 L 167, p. 10), Articles 56, 101 and 102 TFEU, and Articles 14 and 16 of Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market (OJ 2006 L 376, p. 36) – Exceptions to and limitations of the rights of reproduction and communication – Works transmitted by means of television and radio equipment in rooms of patients of a spa establishment – Direct effect of the provisions of the directive – National legislation conferring on the applicant the exclusive right of collective management of copyright on national territory.

Operative part of the judgment

Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society must be interpreted as precluding national legislation which excludes the right of authors to authorise or prohibit the communication of their works, by a spa establishment which is a business, through the intentional distribution of a signal by means of television or radio sets in the bedrooms of the establishment’s patients. Article 5(2)(e), (3)(b) and (5) of that directive is not such as to affect that interpretation.

Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29 must be interpreted as meaning that it cannot be relied on by a copyright collecting society in a dispute between individuals for the purpose of setting aside national legislation contrary to that provision. However, the national court hearing such a case is required to interpret that legislation, so far as possible, in the light of the wording and purpose of the directive in order to achieve an outcome consistent with the objective pursued by the directive.

Article 16 of Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market, and Articles 56 TFEU and 102 TFEU must be interpreted as not precluding national legislation, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, which reserves the exercise of collective management of copyright in respect of certain protected works in the territory of the Member State concerned to a single copyright collecting society and thereby prevents users of such works, such as the spa establishment in the main proceedings, from benefiting from the services provided by another collecting society established in another Member State.

However, Article 102 TFEU must be interpreted as meaning that the imposition by that copyright collecting society of fees for its services which are appreciably higher than those charged in other Member States (a comparison of the fee levels having been made on a consistent basis) or the imposition of a price which is excessive in relation to the economic value of the service provided are indicative of an abuse of a dominant position.

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1 OJ C 295, 29.9.2012