Copyright protection in television broadcasting

Supreme Court judgment 28 November 2018, HR-2018-2268-A (case no. 2018/233), civil case, appeal against judgment, Riks-TV AS (Counsel Andreas Bernt, assisting counsel Rasmus Asbjørnsen) v. TONO SA (Counsel Camilla Vislie).

Justices: Webster, Normann, Bergh, Bergsjø, Indreberg

RiksTV AS is a commercial undertaking distributing TV channels through the terrestrial network. The Supreme Court found, like the lower instances, that this distribution involved making a work available to the public, see section 2 subsection 3 of the 1961 Copyright Act and section 3 subsection 1 (b) of the 2018 Copyright Act. RiksTV AS was thus liable towards TONO AS, which manages the copyright to musical works on behalf of the right holders, for loss caused by the distribution of the relevant TV channels. It was emphasised that "available to the public" must be interpreted widely and flexibly, and that the sources of law suggest that it covers any form of spreading of intellectual work regardless of technical solution. The Broadcasting Act and Regulations on broadcasting activities, as well as the agreement with the broadcasters, under which the use of copyrighted material must be cleared with the right holders, could not give any other result. The same applied to EU case law. Nor was the undertaking covered by the exception for technical services and equipment.

Read the whole judgment