Copyright, Technology, and the Exploitation of Audiovisual Works in the EU

Document Type


Publication Date



Copyright, Digital Technology, Audiovisual Works, European Directive, Licensing, Case Law, Right of Communication to Public, Cable Retransmission Right


This article explores, in two different but related ways, how digital networked technology has an impact on the exploitation of audiovisual works under the applicable EU copyright regulation. Firstly, it analyses whether the exploitation of works via the internet falls within the scope of the right of communication to the public; secondly it considers how digital technology affects the exercise of specific forms of communication to the public, particularly the right of cable retransmission. This article is further structured as follows: section 2 gives a general overview of the legal framework that constitutes the European acquis on the subject of the right of communication to the public. Section 3 analyses the impact of internet use as a mode of exploitation of audiovisual works, with particular reference to the CJEU interpretation of ‘communication to the public’ in the InfoSoc Directive in relation to communication on the Internet. On the basis of the relevant case law of the CJEU and of national jurisdictions, section 4 discusses the impact of digital technology on the regulatory regime applicable to cable retransmission and its impact on the actions of cable distributors. Section 5 draws conclusions on the scope of the right of communication to the public, the future of the cable retransmission right and the exercise of exclusive rights in the digital environment.