Triniti has successfully persuaded the Estonian Supreme Court to dismiss the Estonian Author’s Union (EAU) appeal for cassation in a dispute with Viasat.
In 2011 the EAU presented claims against Viasat, requesting that Viasat be ordered to refrain from providing the signal of 42 different television channels to end consumers without obtaining prior permission (in the form of a license) from the EAU, and requesting damages.
According to Triniti, “from a legal perspective, the law states that if a television program is transmitted via satellite by a television service provider (i.e. under its control and responsibility), the (unified) transmitter of the television program is the television service provider who must achieve an agreement of transmission of works with the authors in the country of entering the signals into the uninterrupted chain of communication. In that case, the undertaking enabling the service of transmission via satellite (such as Viasat) is only a provider of a technical service and does not itself transmit the programs within the meaning of the Copyright Act. Therefore, [Viasat] does not need to obtain the authors’ consent nor to pay remuneration to them for its activity.”
The firm also elaborated that, “although the presumption is that primarily the transmitter of the television programs is the television service provider, the authors’ consent is also required for the satellite service provider if that satellite service provider, by its service, makes the television programs available to a wider public than that which was intended by the authors and the television service provider when signing the agreement of communicating the works.”
The court found that no new public was created by the activities of Viasat and thus that the company was required neither to obtain the consent of the authors nor to pay remuneration to them. In Triniti's summary, the court ruled that "Viasat is an undertaking enabling the service of transmission via satellite and is not itself transmitting the programs within the meaning of the Copyright Act. In simple words – there are no activities of Viasat that would require consent from authors.”
Viasat was represented by Triniti Partner Erki Vabamets and attorney Karmen Turk.