Friday, 15 November 2013

Silence is golden - AG Sharpston in OSA (C-351/12)

14 November 2013: AG Sharpston in case OSA (C-351/12)

This case may concern copyrights but its effects will impact consumers in some Member States that is why we will briefly mention here recent opinion of AG Sharpston in it. 

Imagine you are in a health spa, trying to relax while bathing in medicinal springs and enjoying spending days in the provided by the spa accommodation, which includes TV and radio sets in your room. Obviously, in order to relax you may want to listen to your favourite bands on the radio or watch a nice movie, TV show, etc. What may stand in the way of that luxury are, however, high fees that the organisations who protect copyright in the given Member State claim from the health spa for transmitting their works. In Czech Republic OSA has a right to collect such fees and the health spa was obliged to obtain a licence from them. Czech law excludes from the need to pay such fees transmission that take place in patients' rooms when providing health care in health establishments, which could encompass a health spa. OSA claims that this exception is contrary to the Copyright Directive 2001/29 and AG Sharpston agrees therewith (classifying it as communication to the public - par.28). 

What may follow the judgement of the CJEU in this matter is either an increase in prices of health spa establishments or an increase of health spa meditation establishments, where silence is golden.

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