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Konsumtionsprincipen i det digitala samhället – Något om rättsläget efter UsedSoft-målet

Dahlman, Alexander LU (2015) JURM02 20151
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Genom EU-domstolens banbrytande avgörande i UsedSoft 2012 bekräftades att konsumtion av spridningsrätten kan ske till digitala kopior av datorprogram, förutsatt att kraven för en ”första försäljning” enligt artikel 4.2 dator-programdirektivet uppfylls. Domen innebar slutpunkten för den vedertagna uppfattningen att spridning av digitala verk ska klassificeras som tjänster, för vilka konsumtionsprincipen aldrig gäller. Syftet med denna studie har varit att, mot bakgrund av UsedSoft, dels fastställa vilka upphovsrättsligt skyddade verk i digital form som kan bli föremål för konsumtion, dels vilka konsekvenser domen har för den inre marknaden och dess aktörer. En kritisk analys har också förts över hur EU-domstolen har tolkat gällande rätt i... (More)
Genom EU-domstolens banbrytande avgörande i UsedSoft 2012 bekräftades att konsumtion av spridningsrätten kan ske till digitala kopior av datorprogram, förutsatt att kraven för en ”första försäljning” enligt artikel 4.2 dator-programdirektivet uppfylls. Domen innebar slutpunkten för den vedertagna uppfattningen att spridning av digitala verk ska klassificeras som tjänster, för vilka konsumtionsprincipen aldrig gäller. Syftet med denna studie har varit att, mot bakgrund av UsedSoft, dels fastställa vilka upphovsrättsligt skyddade verk i digital form som kan bli föremål för konsumtion, dels vilka konsekvenser domen har för den inre marknaden och dess aktörer. En kritisk analys har också förts över hur EU-domstolen har tolkat gällande rätt i för arbetet relevanta rättsfall, för att fastställa rimligheten i det rådande rättsläget.

Då UsedSoft rörde en tolkning av datorprogramdirektivet, står det klart att domens principer är tillämpliga på skyddade verk enligt detta direktiv. Av fast rättspraxis framgår att detta skydd begränsas till käll- och objektkod, och sådant förberedande designmaterial som möjliggör ett programs senare skapande eller mångfaldigande. Andra digitala verk skyddas istället av InfoSoc-direktivet. I januari 2015 beslutade EU-domstolen i Allposters att InfoSoc-direktivets konsumtionsprincip inte omfattar digitala verk. Emellertid använder sig EU-domstolen i avgörandet av en ordalydelsetolkning av aktuella rättsregler. Av UsedSoft framgår att det inte är tillräckligt att i den digitala tidsåldern enbart förlita sig på en ordalydelsetolkning vad gäller upphovsrätten. Istället genomfördes i UsedSoft en ändamålstolkning, där den ekonomiska karaktären av transaktionen var avgörande: Försäljning av digitala kopior är funktionellt jämförbart med försäljning av fysiska dito, varför en särbehandling hade varit orimlig. Resonemanget är lika sant för situationer inom ramen för InfoSoc-direktivet. Dessutom är skälen för en digital konsumtionsprincip som framförs i UsedSoft hänförliga till FEUF:s regler om fri rörlighet och likabehandlingsprincipen. Dessa rättskällor utgör primärrätt. Sekundärrättsliga källor, som direktiv och internationella konventioner, måste alltid tolkas förenligt med primärrätten. Om EU-domstolen i Allposters tillämpat denna mer rimliga ändamålstolkning, är sannolikheten stor att utfallet blivit ett annat.

Vad gäller framtiden för den marknaden för digitala verk, finns det mycket som tyder på att rättsinnehavare kommer ändra sättet som digitala verk distribueras på, t.ex. genom tidsbegränsade avtal eller molnbaserade tjänster. Dessa alternativ medför nämligen ingen äganderättsövergång, varför konsumtion av spridningsrätten inte sker. Konsekvenserna av det här blir att rättsinnehavares kontroll över verken stärks, på bekostnad av konsumenters möjligheter att fritt förfoga över förvärvade verk. Med tanke på den vikt som lades vid fördragens regler om fri rörlighet i UsedSoft, gör emellertid rättsinnehavare klokt i att försäkra sig om att framtida avtal är utformade i enlighet med primärrätten. (Less)
Abstract
In 2012, the CJEU confirmed in the landmark UsedSoft case, that the right of distribution right in regards to digital copies of computer program can be exhausted, provided that the requirements for a “first sale” according to Article 4.2 of the Software Directive is met. The ruling put an end to a previous ion that the distribution of digital copies of copyrighted works is considered as a service to which the principle of exhaustion is never applicable. The purpose of this thesis has been to define, in light of UsedSoft, the extent of which the principle of exhaustion can be applied to digital copies of copyrighted material, and to ascertain the consequences of the ruling for the internal market and for its agents. A critical analysis has... (More)
In 2012, the CJEU confirmed in the landmark UsedSoft case, that the right of distribution right in regards to digital copies of computer program can be exhausted, provided that the requirements for a “first sale” according to Article 4.2 of the Software Directive is met. The ruling put an end to a previous ion that the distribution of digital copies of copyrighted works is considered as a service to which the principle of exhaustion is never applicable. The purpose of this thesis has been to define, in light of UsedSoft, the extent of which the principle of exhaustion can be applied to digital copies of copyrighted material, and to ascertain the consequences of the ruling for the internal market and for its agents. A critical analysis has also been conducted with regards to the interpretation of the law in judgements relevant to this study, to establish if the current legal position is reasonable.

Since the UsedSoft case concerned the interpretation of the Software Directive, it is clear that the principles of the case are applicable to works protected by this directive. Case law has established that this protection is limited to source and object code, and preparatory design material leading to the subsequent creation or reproduction of software. Other categories of digital copyrighted works are instead protected by the InfoSoc Directive. The ruling of the CJEU in the Allposters case in January 2015 established that the principle of exhaustion does not extend to these digital works. However, the CJEU reaches its decision by a brief textual interpretation of applicable provisions. If anything, the UsedSoft case proves that a mere textual interpretation is not enough with regards to copyright law in the digital age. Instead, the CJEU makes a purposive interpretation in UsedSoft, with the outcome that the determinant factor is the economic reality of the transaction. A sale of a digital copy is functionally equivalent to the sale of a tangible copy, and therefore, a difference in treatment between the two is unreasonable. This is equally true within the context of the InfoSoc Directive. Furthermore, the arguments used in favour of a digital principle of exhaustion in UsedSoft is relatable to the provisions of the TFEU on the free movement of goods, and to the principle of equal treatment, i.e. primary law. The interpretation of secondary law, such as directives, must always be compatible with primary law. If the CJEU had conducted this more reasonable interpretation of EU law in Allposters, there is a good possibility that it would have reached a different conclusion.

Regarding the future of the market for digital works, it is very probable that rights holders will change the way works are being distributed to avoid having them be subject to the principle of exhaustion. By making the works available to the public, e.g. by means of subscription or cloud based services, no transfer of property occurs, and thus the principle of exhaustion is avoided. This will lead to a greater control over the distribution of the works for right holders, at the expense of the possibility for consumers to freely dispose of acquired works. Also, since the CJEU stressed the importance of the provisions on the free movement of goods in UsedSoft, rights holders are recommended to ensure that future contracts are in compliance with primary law. (Less)
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author
Dahlman, Alexander LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
The Principle of Exhaustion in the Digital Society – The legal position after the UsedSoft ruling
course
JURM02 20151
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
upphovsrätt, konsumtionsprincipen, konsumtion, konkurrensrätt, IT-rätt, immaterialrätt, EU-rätt, förmögenhetsrätt, UsedSoft, informationssamhället, datorprogram, datorspel, InfoSoc, datorprogramdirektivet
language
Swedish
id
5432451
date added to LUP
2015-06-08 13:04:38
date last changed
2015-06-08 13:04:38
@misc{5432451,
  abstract     = {In 2012, the CJEU confirmed in the landmark UsedSoft case, that the right of distribution right in regards to digital copies of computer program can be exhausted, provided that the requirements for a “first sale” according to Article 4.2 of the Software Directive is met. The ruling put an end to a previous ion that the distribution of digital copies of copyrighted works is considered as a service to which the principle of exhaustion is never applicable. The purpose of this thesis has been to define, in light of UsedSoft, the extent of which the principle of exhaustion can be applied to digital copies of copyrighted material, and to ascertain the consequences of the ruling for the internal market and for its agents. A critical analysis has also been conducted with regards to the interpretation of the law in judgements relevant to this study, to establish if the current legal position is reasonable.

Since the UsedSoft case concerned the interpretation of the Software Directive, it is clear that the principles of the case are applicable to works protected by this directive. Case law has established that this protection is limited to source and object code, and preparatory design material leading to the subsequent creation or reproduction of software. Other categories of digital copyrighted works are instead protected by the InfoSoc Directive. The ruling of the CJEU in the Allposters case in January 2015 established that the principle of exhaustion does not extend to these digital works. However, the CJEU reaches its decision by a brief textual interpretation of applicable provisions. If anything, the UsedSoft case proves that a mere textual interpretation is not enough with regards to copyright law in the digital age. Instead, the CJEU makes a purposive interpretation in UsedSoft, with the outcome that the determinant factor is the economic reality of the transaction. A sale of a digital copy is functionally equivalent to the sale of a tangible copy, and therefore, a difference in treatment between the two is unreasonable. This is equally true within the context of the InfoSoc Directive. Furthermore, the arguments used in favour of a digital principle of exhaustion in UsedSoft is relatable to the provisions of the TFEU on the free movement of goods, and to the principle of equal treatment, i.e. primary law. The interpretation of secondary law, such as directives, must always be compatible with primary law. If the CJEU had conducted this more reasonable interpretation of EU law in Allposters, there is a good possibility that it would have reached a different conclusion.

Regarding the future of the market for digital works, it is very probable that rights holders will change the way works are being distributed to avoid having them be subject to the principle of exhaustion. By making the works available to the public, e.g. by means of subscription or cloud based services, no transfer of property occurs, and thus the principle of exhaustion is avoided. This will lead to a greater control over the distribution of the works for right holders, at the expense of the possibility for consumers to freely dispose of acquired works. Also, since the CJEU stressed the importance of the provisions on the free movement of goods in UsedSoft, rights holders are recommended to ensure that future contracts are in compliance with primary law.},
  author       = {Dahlman, Alexander},
  keyword      = {upphovsrätt,konsumtionsprincipen,konsumtion,konkurrensrätt,IT-rätt,immaterialrätt,EU-rätt,förmögenhetsrätt,UsedSoft,informationssamhället,datorprogram,datorspel,InfoSoc,datorprogramdirektivet},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Konsumtionsprincipen i det digitala samhället – Något om rättsläget efter UsedSoft-målet},
  year         = {2015},
}