In 2011 Estonian Authro’s Union (EAU) presented claims against Viasat: to order Viasat to refrain from providing the signal of 42 different television programmes (incl. ETV, ETV2, Kanal 2, TV3, TV6 and Kanal 11) to end consumers without obtaining a prior permission (license) from EAU; to order Viasat to pay to the EAU.
The main question of the dispute was whether Viasat was obliged to obtain EAU’s consent for providing the disputed television channels’ signal to end consumers in Estonia and to pay remuneration to the EAU for that.
The court found that no new public was created by the activities of Viasat and thus Viasat is not required to obtain the consent of the authors and is also not required to pay remuneration to them, because the (unified) transmitter of the television programmes is the television service providers who have signed contracts for transmission of the works with the authors in the country of entering the signals into an uninterrupted chain of communication. Viasat is an undertaking only enabling the service of transmission via satellite and is not itself transmitting the programmes within the meaning of the Copyright Act.
This case is a success for satellite operators’ activities and can create a precedent in Europe for future.