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Copyright in the Information society

Directives and Communications

Directive 2001/29/EC

The objectives of the Directive on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (2001/29/EC) are to adapt legislation on copyright and related rights to reflect technological developments and to transpose into Community law the main international obligations arising from the two treaties on copyright and related rights adopted within the framework of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in December 1996. It is an essential building block for the Information Society. The final text is a result of over three years of thorough discussion and an example of co-decision making where the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have all had a decisive input.

Communication on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy (19.10.2009)

The European Commission adopted a Communication on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy aiming to tackle the important cultural and legal challenges of mass-scale digitisation and dissemination of books, in particular of European library collections. Digital libraries such as Europeana will provide researchers and consumers across Europe with new ways to gain access to knowledge. For this, however, the EU will need to find a solution for orphan works, whose uncertain copyright status means they often cannot be digitised. Improving the distribution and availability of works for persons with disabilities, particularly the visually impaired, is another cornerstone of the Communication.

Public consultations

Green Paper on copyright in the knowledge economy (16.07.2008)

The Green Paper focuses on the role of copyright in fostering dissemination of knowledge for research, science and education. The Green Paper is intended as the starting point for a structured debate on the long-term future of copyright policy in these fields. Copyright policy has increasingly emerged as a transversal issue, involving not only the internal market and cultural policies but also information society, competition and consumer interests. The Green Paper is an attempt to organise this debate and point to future challenges in fields that have not been a focal point up to now, e.g. scientific and scholarly publishing, and the role of libraries, researchers and the persons with a disability.

Public consultation on “Content Online” (October 2009)

The digital "dematerialisation" of content presents great opportunities for Europe, but also a number of challenges. First of all, obstacles still stand in the way of digital distribution of cultural products and services. In addition, illegal downloads on a large scale can jeopardize the development of an economically viable single market for digital content. Finally, there needs to be much more encouragement for legal cross-border offers. The consultation paper outlines the existing challenges for three groups of stakeholders – rightholders, consumers and commercial users – in order to start a reflection on possible European responses.

With this public consultation the Commission’s services launched a wide-ranging debate on how to develop vibrant online markets for goods and services protected by intellectual property rights. The consultation addressed the role of legal online markets and explored a variety of copyright management models that may induce a more rapid development of such markets.

Application Reports

Application Report (30.11.2007)

Below is the first report on the application of the Directive on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (2001/29/EC). The report examines the application of Articles 5, 6 and 8 of the Directive in light of the development of the digital market. Article 5 is concerned with exceptions and limitations provided by the Directive, Article 6 is concerned with the obligation to protect against the circumvention of technological measures, while Article 8 is concerned with sanctions and remedies in respect of infringements of the rights and obligations set out in the Directive. The report assesses how Articles 5, 6 and 8 have been transposed by the Member States and applied by the national courts.

  • Report on the application of the Directive on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (2001/29/ECpdf Choose translations of the previous link )