Piracy is legal in the EU sometimes

A court in the European Union has decided that Europeans are allowed to pirate content if they do so in a particular way.

Apparently if an internet user is streaming copyrighted content online, it’s legal for the user, who isn’t willfully making a copy of said content to view it. The pirate can only watch it directly through a web browser, streaming it from a website that hosts it, but it will be perfectly legal.

The ruling comes as part of a legal battle between a European media service Meltwater that used to include headlines from various news stories in daily digests sent to readers via email. Copyright holders including the Associated Press sued the company.

But in Europe the case crossed into strange territory. The group suing Meltwater argued that recipients of Meltwater’s emails had to pay license fees for the content they received, and the court basically ruled that Internet users who see content online, without actually willingly making a copy of it, should not be held accountable for any resulting copyright infringement.

Meltwater is not off the hook, but its clients certainly are. It also means that if someone streams content from their website they can’t be done for piracy. It does mean that viewers cannot be prosecuted.

This should be good news for all those German unternet users who received fines at home for streaming certain porn videos from a site last year.