Limitations and Exceptions as Key Elements of the Legal Framework for Copyright in the European Union – Opinion on the Judgment of the CJEU in Case C-201/13 Deckmyn
12 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2015 Last revised: 10 May 2016
Date Written: February 13, 2015
In (C-201/13) Deckmyn v Vandersteen, the Court of Justice of the European Union has provided important guidance on the interpretation of the parody exception under the Information Society Directive and on the approach to be adopted to limitations and exceptions in European Union copyright law more generally. The judgment is the latest in a series of cases that, while harmonising the law, demonstrate that an exclusively restrictive reading of exceptions cannot be justified in the European legal order and that respect for fundamental rights, particularly the right to free expression, requires a fair balance to be struck between all interests and rights involved. The judgment in Deckmyn sparked a lively discussion among the members of the European Copyright Society. That discussion concerned not only the ruling on the parody exception itself, but also the case’s contribution to the Court’s developing jurisprudence on copyright exceptions and limitations more generally. This discussion led to the drafting of the Society’s “Limitations and Exceptions as Key Elements of the Legal Framework for Copyright in the European Union – Opinion on the Judgment of the CJEU in Case C-201/13 Deckmyn”. Taking the Judgment as a starting point, the Society considered that there are several things to be welcomed in Deckmyn. These include the Judgment’s further harmonisation and rationalisation of the structure of the law relating to exceptions and limitations, the adoption of a purposive, rather than a systematically restrictive, approach to exceptions (in this instance, to the exception for parody) and the acknowledgment of the need to accommodate the right to freedom of expression where appropriate. However, at the same time, members of the Society were also concerned about the potential uncertainty created by the accommodation of the principle of non-discrimination within the assessment of the “fair balance” between the interests of right-holders and users.
Keywords: copyright, European Union, exceptions, limitations, Court of Justice, parody, freedom of expression, harmonisation, discrimination
JEL Classification: K11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation