As our partner, the law firm Vy, reports, the Central Office for Private Recording Rights (ZPÜ) is now also taking action against providers of cloud storage and other cloud services. Evidently, ZPÜ demands compensation from these providers according to Sections 54 ff. of the [German] Copyright Act (UrhG) for so-called private copies allegedly made “via clouds” within the meaning of Section 53, Sections 60a-60f UrhG. The ZPÜ bases this on the ruling handed down by the European Court of Justice of 24 March 2022 in case C 433/20 Austro-Mechana ./. Strato AG.
However, according to Vy, in the ruling the ECJ only held that cloud computing storage service providers do not owe (further) fair compensation if there is already provision for the payment of fair compensation to rightholders. According to the ECJ’s decision, the EU Member States are thus not obliged to require cloud service providers to pay fair compensation under Art. 5(2)(b) of the InfoSoc Directive 2011/29/EC (in Germany: Sections 54 ff. UrhG) if the fair compensation is regulated otherwise. In this context, the ECJ emphasises that a device and storage media levy (in Germany according to Sections 54 ff. UrhG) may not exceed the loss or damage caused to authors by private copying. Overcompensation for this disadvantage is therefore inadmissible.
According to the law firm Vy, manufacturers, sellers and importers of IT equipment can also be affected by these new requirements of the ZPÜ, even if they only offer cloud services as an additional service, for example. Lawyer Dr. Urs Verweyen of Vy has requested VERE e.V. for support in this matter. If you are or may be affected by the issue or have already been contacted by ZPÜ, please contact the VERE Association at email@example.com.
Members of VERE e.V., as manufacturers, importers and sellers of products subject to levies under the German Copyright Act (UrhG), have the opportunity to accede to an overall agreement and save 20 per cent of the copyright fees demanded by ZPÜ. Currently, you can join overall contracts for mobile phones, tablets, PCs, USB sticks and memory cards, smartwatches, hard drives and external burners through VERE e.V. Further information can be found at https://www.vereev.com/services/savings-on-copyright-fees-zpue/