EU Communication on Copyright

Subject: EU Communication on Copyright
From: Emanuella Giavarra (
Date: pe 22 marras 1996 - 02:03:11 EET

Dear list members,

Yesterday, the press release on the "Communication on Copyright and
Related Rights in the Information Society" was published by the European

This Communication is a follow-up to the Green Paper on Copyright which
was published in July 1995. Legislative proposals based on this
Communication can be expected from the European Commission in the first
half of 1997.

In its Communication, the European Commission addresses all issues raised
in the Commission's Green Paper of 1995, and outlines four priorities for
legislative action to eliminate distortions of competition between Member
States and/or significant barriers to trade in copyright goods and

The four areas are as follows:

1. Reproduction right
2. Communication to the public
3. Legal protection of anti-copying systems
4. Distribution right
Note 1: Reproduction right
According to the European Commission there is a need for a clear
definition of what is exactly protected as well as an equivalent level of
protection accross Europe. The European Commission will therefore pursue
further harmonisation of the reproduction right as a matter of priority.
In doing so, the harmonisation of the limitations/exceptions to the
reproduction right will be of utmost importance.

As further explained in the Communication, the present differentation in
Member States' legislation or case law, notably between unlimited
exclusive rights of reproduction, cutting down the exclusive right to a
right to remuneration (legal license), and permitting certain acts of
reproduction without remuneration ("fair use" exception) will have to be
reassessed and further harmonised in the new electronic environment.

Note 2: Communication to the public
To protect the market for "on-demand" services the European Commission
will introduce a right of communication to the public. This right will
include "the making available to members of the public individual access
to works and other protected matter". Harmonised measures will also set
out the limitations to this right, which will follow the line taken for
the harmnisation of the reproduction right.

Note 3: Legal protection of anti-copying systems
According to the European Commission, a successful large-scale
introduction of such systems or devices - which are under development or
have already been developed by the private sector - will depend upon the
implementation of measures that provide for the legal protection in
relation to such acts such as circumvention, violation or manipulation of
these systems. Community legislation is therefore required to harmonise
the legal protection of the integrity of technical identification and
protection schemes.

Note 4: Distribution right
The distribution right entitles the author of a work to require his
consent for any distribution of tangible copies of his work. Important
differences exist between Member States as to the exact form as well as
the exceptions to the right, in particular with respect to its
"exhaustion". The European Commission therefore intends to harmonise the
distribution right for authors as regards all categories of works. Any
initiative in this field should also affirm that the principle of
exhaustion applies to the distribution of goods only and not to the
provision of services, including on-line services.

Other issues
According to the Commission, other equally fundamental issues for the
exploitation of copyright in the Information Society (relating to
broadcasting right, the applicable law and law of enforcement, management
of rights, moral rights) will necessitate further consideration and/or
action before decisions can be taken. This implies, inter alia, the need
to evaluate further relevant market developments, through studies and/or
contact with interested parties and member States. Some of these
initiatives have already started, others will be launched later this

Kind regards,
Emanuella Giavarra

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