Victory for Copyswede and the creative society
Södertörns District Court has in a judgment of 18 December 2018 held that Telia Sverige AB shall pay MSEK 107 in private copying levies to Copyswede.
The case concerns a dispute between the right holders’ organization Copyswede ek. för., representing virtually all right holders, and Telia Sverige AB, in its capacity of a leading importer of iPhones to Sweden. In an intermediate judgment of 10 June 2016, the Swedish Supreme Court established that iPhones were subject to private copying levies in accordance with the requirements set out in the Swedish Copyrights Act. The remaining question in the case was therefore the size of the levy that Telia should pay, i.e. which amount per gigabyte (GB) storage capacity that should be applied. The claim concerned iPhones imported during the period 2009 until July 2016.
The relevant provision in the Copyright Act is section 26 l, which stipulates that the private copying levy is 4 SEK per GB storage capacity for devices where digital reproduction can be made repeatedly. According to the same provision, the levy may be reduced if it is unreasonably high, taking into account the circumstances relating to the device or other conditions on the market.
Copyswede claimed a levy of 3 SEK per GB storage capacity. Telia’s position was that the compensation should be further reduced to 1.5 SEK per GB, and, from a certain point in time, to
0.5 SEK per GB.
One question addressed in the proceedings concerned whether so called “offline copies” is a form of private copying under the Copyright Act. Offline copying occurs when a private person downloads a copy of a work protected by copyright from a streaming service, such as Spotify, in order to be able to listen to the work without internet access. The District Court concluded that offline copies shall be regarded as private copying and therefore be included in the private copying compensation scheme set out in the Copyright Act.
The District Court held that the circumstances and the evidence submitted by Telia did not give cause for further reduction of the compensation than the 3 SEK per GB claimed by Copyswede.
Telia has appealed the judgment.