CJEU safeguards users’ freedom of expression by upholding an adequate standard for platforms’ knowledge

Brussels, BELGIUM – Today, 22 June 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its highly anticipated ruling (CJEU press release) in the joint cases revolving around YouTube and Uploaded (Frank Peterson v Google / Elsevier v Cyando – C-682/18C-683/18).

The following statement can be attributed to Ms Caroline De Cock, C4C coordinator:

“At a time where many stakeholders are pushing for any type of enhancement to the user experience by online platforms to be deemed the mark of an active role, it is reassuring to see that the CJEU upholds an adequate standard for what constitutes knowledge. Such a standard is the only way to avoid over-blocking and ensure that freedom of expression of millions of users remains a reality.”

Upholding a knowledge standard based on realistic expectations of online platforms is the only way to avoid over-blocking and ensure that freedom of expression of millions of users remains a reality, an approach that the upcoming Digital Services Act should respect.

C4C applauds the fact that the Court followed Advocate General (AG) Øe’s opinion that neither YouTube or Cyando were directly performing acts of communication to the public. The judgement is obviously limited to the case at hand, and does not consider the role of the Article 17 regime of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Nevertheless, it pushes back against rightholders’ claims that user-generated content (UGC) platforms, such as video-sharing platforms and file-hosting and -sharing platforms, are always playing an active role and should hence be automatically held liable.

C4C is a broad-based coalition that seeks an informed debate on how copyright can more effectively promote innovation, access, and creativity. We bring together libraries, scientific and research institutions, digital rights groups, technology businesses, and educational and cultural heritage institutions that share a common view on copyright.

For press inquiries on this please contact Ms De Cock at or +32 474 84 05 15.

[Note: We are still analysing the judgment and reserve the right to update.]

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