Addressing Evolving Digital Piracy Through Contributory Liability for Copyright Infringement: The Mobdro Case Study



Digital piracy, i.e., large-scale commercial copyright infringement online, is a constantly evolving phenomenon. Following the enactment and expansion of online intermediary liability rules, professional pirates have shifted away from easily blockable websites and services. Streaming piracy on dedicated platforms, monetised through embedded services, has become the prevalent model in Europe, as is well illustrated by the Mobdro case study analysed in this article. These dedicated platforms are supported by embedded service providers who, as they are not online intermediaries, can avoid the online intermediary liability regime. One potential solution to this issue could be the application of contributory copyright infringement rules, which are well-established in US copyright law but absent in EU law, to all parties that contribute to digital piracy. The CJEU has opened expressly this path in the recent C-682/18 YouTube and C-683/18 Cyando cases. Based on the CJEU's initiative and the existing precedent of harmonising intellectual property tort rules within EU law, further contributory liability rules could be modelled after US rules by updating the Enforcement Directive 2004/48/EC. Addressing this gap in EU copyright law is crucial for enhancing the effectiveness of digital copyright enforcement against evolving digital piracy.

Copyright; Contributory liability; Piracy; Streaming; Embedded SDK

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