OSA Judgment: CJEU reaffirms the indispensable role of authors’ societies

On 27th February the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) gave its judgment in Case C‑351/12OSA v Léčebné lázně, a reference for preliminary ruling asked by a  Czech court in 2012.  The case concerns a dispute between the Czech authors’ society OSA (so-called collecting societies or CMOs) and a residential spa establishment which gave access to broadcast works through TV and radio sets in the bedrooms of its residents.

In its judgment, the CJEU reaffirmed the crucial role played by the authors’ societies to protect the interests of the rightholders they represent. It confirmed that the obligations provided in article 16 of the 2006 services directive on the freedom to provide services are not applicable to CMOs. The Court also underlined the important role played by OSA as the only authors’ society to protect the rights of all rightholders within the Czech Republic and concluded that the monopoly granted by the Czech legislation to OSA for this kind of usages  is compatible with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, since there is no other method allowing the same level of copyright protection.