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Portugal: broadcast works in bars and restaurants: ‘resistant’ case-law to the CJUE's rulings

Alexandre L Dias Pereira

Keywords: copyright; communication to the public; broadcast works; bars and restaurants; case-law; European Union

The use of radio or TV sets in bars and restaurants to broadcast works for the enjoyment of customers is a disputed issue in copyright law. The Supreme Court of Justice of Portugal has been called to render a judgment of uniformity of case-law, in which it has ruled that said actions do not infringe copyright, even when extra loudspeakers are used, provided that it does not amount to a public show. The Court decided that such acts do not fall under the right of communication to the public and therefore there is also no obligation to pay remuneration to authors. This contrasts with the relevant case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), in particular the preliminary ruling in Premier League Football Association and later the Order in Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores. This paper provides an overview of the issue and submits that Portuguese law provides a statutory licence to use radio or TV sets in bars and restaurants, but requires payment of equitable compensation to copyright holders.

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