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Edges and Limits: Users and Copyright Law in the EU

The Open Society institute has just published a report on User rights in European copyright law which skteches the differences in rights across the union and makes recommendations for best practices. project leads were Ian Brown (Foundation for Internet policy Research) and Urs Gasser (Harvard).

Intellectual property law has always varied widely across jursidictions, at least in the detail, for some of idea of the scope check out Bernt Hugenholz’s Fierce Creatures. Copyright Exemptions: Towards Extinction?’, from 1997 (you should also check out the Institute for Information Law’s intellectual property page). Even though copyright IP has been the subject of at least eleven directives since 1990, these have generally installed a ‘floor’ of rights which must be granted to the owner, but have not harmonised user rights, so national variations are still important.

The report compares implentation of the EUCD in the various member states, extracting best practices under four rubrics, each one with several sub-sections:

anti-circumvention provisions – (a) scope (b) limitations (c) sanctions and remedies;

peer collaboration- (a) private copying exception (b) file-sharing;

universal access – (a) teaching exceptions (b) archives and libraries (c) disabled users;

political & cultural participation- (a) reporting on events (b) quotation/incidental inclusion (c) political speeches (4) parody/pastiche/’mash-up’

The various country reports and other documents are available on the wiki for the project which they characterise as a work in progress.

December 15, 2006 - Posted by | copyright, european directives, law

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