Harmonizing European Copyright Law: The Challenges of Better Lawmaking
Information Law Series 19, Alphen aan den Rijn: Kluwer Law International 2009. (Chapters 1 and 9)
Institute for Information Law Research Paper No. 2012-07
385 Pages Posted: 2 May 2012 Last revised: 22 Jul 2016
Date Written: May 2, 2012
Nobody likes today’s copyright law. Widespread unauthorized use of copyright material proliferates with impunity, while citizens and users protest that intrusive copyright and related rights law stifle cultural expression. Equipment manufacturers and intermediaries complain about yet more ’security’ features that complicate their products and services and encumber marketing, while content owners desperately want enforcement to work. And of course it is crucial that whatever regulatory instruments come into play must not age prematurely in Internet time.The European Union faces the daunting challenge of articulating coherent copyright policies that satisfy these contradictory multiple demands. Yet the legal framework must conform to the European Union’s remit of fostering economic growth in a common market, while respecting the national traditions of its still growing family of Member States. Clearly, an extraordinary balancing act is called for if justice is to be done to all of the private and public interests affected. So how has the European acquis communautaire scored on these issues so far? In this groundbreaking study the Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam brings its extensive academic expertise to bear on this question. The authors scrutinize the present law as laid down in the seven copyright and related rights directives, against the background of the relevant international standards of the Berne Convention, the TRIPs agreement, and the WIPO Internet Treaties. They map out in detail the degree to which certain areas of copyright have been harmonized as they expose the gaps and inconsistencies in the acquis and the urgent unresolved issues that persist. They identify the EU’s ambitions in relation to its present and future competences (following the Lisbon Reform) to regulate copyright, and to its Better Regulation agenda. Following a comprehensive analysis of almost two decades of regulatory intervention, they move on to the salient current trends that point toward a more coherent and balanced European copyright law.
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