Fundamental Rights in EU Copyright Law: An Overview
Eleonora Rosati (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of EU Copyright Law (Routledge, 2021), pp. 18-38
32 Pages Posted: 28 May 2021
Date Written: May 23, 2021
Fundamental rights have been serving different functions in the copyright case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Most notably, the Court has confirmed time and again that fundamental rights have indirect horizontal effects, asserting that the copyright acquis must be interpreted in light of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and in a way that expresses a “fair balance” between competing rights.
In assessing that balance, the Court recurrently weighs various Charter rights. On the one hand, copyright itself is protected under the fundamental right to property enshrined in Article 17. On the other hand, the CJEU has been increasingly relying on users’ fundamental rights – namely, freedom of expression and information, the right to the protection of personal data, the freedom of the arts, the right to education, and the freedom to conduct a business – as counterweights to the proprietary interests of rightholders.
These rights have been employed by the CJEU mainly in relation to three aspects of copyright law: (i) ownership and scope of protection, (ii) exceptions, and (iii) enforcement measures. This chapter provides a sketch of the influence exerted by fundamental rights in these areas, with particular emphasis on CJEU case law.
Keywords: Fundamental rights, Charter, copyright law, InfoSoc Directive
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