He gave his opinion today in a
case concerning the
EU Copyright Directive referred from Germany's
Bundesgerichtshof. The dispute is between the Technische
Universität Darmstadt and publisher Eugen Ulmer.
Eugen Ulmer sought to prevent the university from digitising
a book in its library collection and to prevent users from
being able to print the book or save it on a USB stick via
electronic reading points.
In the opinion, the Advocate General says that member states
may grant libraries the right to digitise books in their
collections, if their being made available to the public by
dedicated terminals requires it. This may be the case where
works are old, fragile or rare or where they could be damaged
But he adds that this only applies to the digitisation of
individual works, not a collection in its entirety.
Additionally, he says that the Copyright Directive does not
allow users of terminals to save the works on a USB stick (as
that would be the creation of a private digital copy). But the
printing of a work from a terminal is comparable to making a
photocopy, and may be covered by the private copying
The opinion is not yet published in English, but is
available in most other European languages. A press
statement from the Court