ECJ Advocate General opinion on German law that introduced right related to copyright publishers
In light of the controversies surrounding the EU copyright reform, it was highlighted that in 2013 Germany had adopted a new provision that introduced the right related to copyright publishers. The provision requires Internet search engines (unlike other commercial users) to get authorisation to provide excerpts of certain text, images, and video content produced by press publishers. Based on this provision Google was sued by VG media (a collective management organisation) on behalf of its members, asking for damages for using text excerpts, images, and videos from press and media content produced by VG Media’s members without paying a fee by Google from 1 August 2013 onwards. However, the first question before the court was if Court can at all decide based on this provision, since this kind of legislation requires prior notification to the EU Commission (EC) before it was vested. In fact, the German court asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) if this German regulation can be seen as technical regulation specifically aimed at a particular information society service, and therefore one that require notification to the EC according to Directive 98/342 in order to be applicable. The court decision on this matter is still not vested, but the advocate general stated in an opinion that this is a technical regulation and as such the EC must be notified before its adoption, otherwise it cannot be applicable.