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European Copyright Society calls for unified European Copyright Law

Am 8. Januar 2015 - 14:38 Uhr von Tom Hirche

In an open letter to Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, the European Copyright Society (ECS) calls for a sweeping reform of copyright law.

The ECS asks for a "true unification" of copyright law in the European Union, not just a further harmonization measure:

Despite almost 25 years of harmonization of copyright in the EU, copyright law in Europe has essentially remained national law. [...] This territoriality has led to the 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. 

The activities undertaken by the Commission to address the problems of fragmentation (e.g. collective licensing) have raised new legal issues whilst the initial problem persists. Thus, the ECS calls for a more "ambitious solution" that would "replace national legal titles". Article 118 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) could provide the specific competence to establish such a regulation.

Although the ECS acknowledges that some may consider such a step as "undesirable" or "too drastic", in their opinion it would be the logical next step and the only way to achieve a "fully functioning Digital Single Market for copyright-based goods and services". 

A European Copyright Law would 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. Moreover, codifying European Copyright Law would enable the EU legislature to re-establish itself as a global leader in copyright norm setting.

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