IRIS Plus 2002-2: Movies Online: Balancing Copyrights and Fair Use

Author: Susanne Nikoltchev & Francisco Javier Cabrera Blázquez, European Audiovisual Observatory

Published: 01/04/2002

Less than two years ago, our IRIS Focus featured an article that reported on a first wave of lawsuits related to online offers of audio files (see IRIS 2000-8: 14, "MP3: Fair or Unfair Use?"). By then it had already become a question of time when digital technology would have sufficiently progressed to make the supply of audiovisual files over the Internet equally attractive.

Meanwhile movies have gone online and, as was to be expected, they are mainly offered without the consent of the copyright holders. In addition, they are offered in circumvention of technological measures for copyright protection. Accordingly, providing movies online evokes familiar and new legal issues. As in MP3 cases, the United States' industry is at the forefront of litigating these issues in court. The legal problems related online movie services, however, are of a truly global nature.

This IRIS plus supplements our earlier article by focusing on the new legal questions as well raised as their factual background. Thereby, we hope to cater to your needs for legal information and for knowledge of the underlying technological developments.