In recent months, several new apps and services have appeared, all providing the ability to stream movies and TV shows on a mobile device, including the latest movies that are only available in movie theaters. One such service is called MovieBox app; it is free to use and does not require any subscription and now the question is being asked, “ is MovieBox legal to use? ”
It has long been understood that using torrents to stream or download movies is illegal but some confusion has arisen over whether the use of apps like MovieBox on a mobile device is legal or not. The good news is, according to the CJEU ( Court of Justice of the European Union ), no copyright laws are being broken by watching pirate streams online.
The ruling came about after copyright holders and Meltwater, a European media service company, entered into a legal battle. Associated Press and other rights holders brought a charge against Meltwater for infringement of copyright after Meltwater took headlines from a number of different sources and forwarded them to users through the email system.
The case took a twist when some of the companies, led by the NLA (Newspaper Licensing Agency) who were attempting to sue Meltwater for breach of copyright, added to the charge that any user who received one of these emails should then also be liable to pay licensing fees. It was this twist that led to the ruling.
The early rulings from the court originally found in the NLA’s favor but this was ( overturned by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ) when they ruled that there is no copyright infringement when copyright content is watched online. In reaching their ruling, the Supreme Court cited EU copyright law already in existence that states temporary copies of media are specifically exempt from the copyright laws. They then referred the case to the CJEU for further comments.
The CJEU has now ( confirmed ) that ruling and that the EU exemptions for temporary copies are still in place. According to the court, streaming or viewing online is not the same as making copies and is exempt from the laws of copyright. However, the ‘copies’ must be transient, temporary and must be a vital part of a “technological process”.
While clarification has now been given on the matter of whether apps like MovieBox are legal, the ruling is likely to upset the copyright holders who have spent an increasing amount of time and money on fighting the rise of piracy brought about by online streaming services. What this ruling does not do is exempt any streaming service operator from their legal responsibilities, it only exempts those who use the services and the viewers.
In answer to the question, is MovieBox legal to use, the answer would appear to be YES it is.