PRESS RELEASE – FEP welcomes the judgement of the CJEU in the case C-263/18 (Tom Kabinet)

The Judgement that FEP still has to carefully review, appears to remain in line with the very clear formulations of the EU copyright acquis and the Court of Justice jurisprudence, notably in rulings in case C-419/13 Art Allposters and C-174/15 Vereneging Openbare Bibliotheken & Stichting Leenrecht as well as the Opinion of Advocate-General Maciej Szpunar. Indeed, the Advocate General had concluded that the EU legislature’s clear intention that downloading should be covered by the right of communication to the public, the limitation of the distribution right to acts of transfer of ownership of a copy, and the right of reproduction. Those legal arguments are supported by the arguments of a teleological nature set out in points 89 to 96 of this Opinion.

FEP welcomes the judgement as the law is very clear in Europe and also as in relation to digital services, a second-hand market would be indistinguishable from the first-hand market. There is actually no second-hand market in the digital world but a single market of identical files, whose consumption modes would therefore be fundamentally questioned, for it challenges the sustainability of the sector and in particular, the remuneration of authors.

Rudy Vanschoonbeek, the President of the Federation of European Publishers, said, "as a publisher, I was anxiously awaiting the judgement as a second hand digital market would seriously endanger the whole book economy since digital copies can be numerous and potentially be sold to an indefinite number of users. When the audio files know impressive increases in access in many European countries alongside eBooks, it is important for publishers and other players of the book sector to develop new means of accessing content. Today’s decision will encourage all of us to continue finding innovative ways to reach readers."

Similarly, in the US, the Supreme Court has denied the petition of ReDIGI (an online marketplace for digital services i.e.: digital music, eBooks, games, apps, software) to review the Second Circuit’s refusal to apply the First Sale Doctrine to the transfer of digital music files. In European legal terms, this means that the US Courts have confirmed that there can be no exhaustion for digital services. In a globalised market, the rules should be identical.

FEP represents 29 national associations of publishers of books and learned journals in the European Union and the Economic Area. It is therefore the voice of European publishers, a leading cultural industry with a global turnover of some 38 billion euros and a production of half a million new books per year.

For more information please contact Anne Bergman-Tahon – FEP Director – or 0032477-33-65-76