|A little bored by all these holidays,|
at last Douglas McCarthy's Pushkina
had some fun reading the ECS letter
The subject-line? "Unification of copyright law".
Fans of the recent Public Consultation on the Review of EU Copyright Rules [here, here, here] will surely remember that the ECS took part in this stakeholder exercise, holding the view that the EU should go for full harmonisation of Member States' copyright laws [incidentally and albeit much more modestly, this is also the position that this Kat advanced, first, in her PhD dissertation and, then, in the book that she derived from her doctoral work].
In its letter to Mr Oettinger, the ECS re-affirmed this view, underscoring "the need for a more forward looking and further reaching reform of copyright in the EU – in the form of actual Union-wide unification (not further harmonization) of copyright. The Members of the European Copyright Society are convinced that the time is now ripe to start work on a European Copyright Law that would apply directly and uniformly across the Union."
|And a Happy New Copyright Year as well?|
Why is this the case?
Because "[d]espite almost 25 years of harmonization of copyright in the EU, copyright law in Europe has essentially remained national law. Each Member State still has its own law on copyright and neighbouring (related) rights that applies strictly within its own territory. This territoriality has led to fragmentation of markets along national borderlines, critically impeding the establishment of a Digital Single Market for creative content, and undermining the Union’s international competitiveness."
Initiatives like Licences for Europe [here] and the recent Collective Rights Management Directive [here] (yet the latter only with regard to online uses of music) have focused on multi-territorial or pan-European licensing. Although initiatives of this kind are not a bad idea per se, they are are said to only provide a limited solution to the issues raised by territoriality/fragmentation of copyright laws.
The legal basis for full harmonisation of copyright at the EU level may be Article 118(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which has been there since the 2009 Lisbon Reform Treaty.
In the view of ECS, a European Copyright Law would:
- establish a truly unified legal framework, replacing the multitude of – often opaque and sometimes conflicting – national rules that presently exists;
- have instant Union-wide effect, thereby creating a single market for copyrights and related rights, both online and offline;
- enhance legal security and transparency, for right owners and users alike, and greatly reduce transaction and enforcement costs, including those resulting from the still pending issues of jurisdiction and applicable law to copyright infringements online [with regard to the latter, this Kat recently had a little contest with her Southampton students which consisted of analysing the decision of Birss J in Omnibill, here. The best entry was by Nedim Malovic and will be published soon in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice];
- enable the EU legislature to reestablish itself as a global leader in copyright norm setting.
Shortly before the December break, Mr Oettinger announced that his first initiative as a Commissioner will be copyright reform [here] ... We'll see if he agrees with the views expressed by the European Copyright Society.
European Copyright Society tells Oettinger that EU should go for full harmonisation of copyright Reviewed by Eleonora Rosati on Sunday, December 28, 2014 Rating: