On September 11, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on the case C-117/13, concerning certain issues in relation to article 5(3) (n) of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society.


Regarding the preliminary rulings made by the German Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice), the ECJ considers that the article 5(3) (n) of Directive 2001/29 aims to promote the research and private study, which constitutes, moreover, the core mission of publicly accessible libraries. For these reasons, the ECJ refers that it cannot be prevented that those establishments exercise an ancillary right to digitize the works that are part of their collections. In this manner, the works can be made available to the public through the terminals created for that purpose.


Notwithstanding, the ECJ refers that the scope of that ancillary right of digitization must be interpreted according to article 5(5) of the same Directive.


Furthermore, the ECJ noted that the users of those establishments shall not to print out on paper, or to store on a USB stick the works which they have access through the dedicated terminals, since such acts are not necessary for the purpose of making the work available to the users. However, this does not prevent that these acts of reproduction could be authorized under the national legislation transposing the exceptions or limitations provided for in Article 5(2) (a) or (b) of Directive 2001/29, provided that the rightholder of the work receives the fair compensation.