The harmonisation of EU copyright law: The originality standard

Margoni, T. (2016) The harmonisation of EU copyright law: The originality standard. In: Perry, M. (ed.) Global Governance of Intellectual Property in the 21st Century. Springer International Publishin: Switzerland, pp. 85-105. ISBN 9783319311760 (doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-31177-7_6)

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The first European Union Directive in the field of copyright was enacted nearly 25 years ago. Similarly to many other directives that followed, that Directive was “vertical” in scope, meaning that its “harmonising” effects were limited to the specific subject matter therein regulated (in this case, software). Other examples of “vertical harmonisation” are found in the field of photographs and databases as well as in many other European Union directives in the field of copyright, making this fragmented approach a typical trait of European Union Copyright law harmonisation. The reason for what could be labelled ‘piecemeal legislation’ can be linked to the limited power that the European Union had, until recently, in regulating copyright. As it can be easily verified from their preambles, all European Union Copyright Directives are mainly grounded in the smooth functioning of the internal market. It is the internal market—rather than copyright—that has driven the harmonisation of European Union copyright law to date. Nevertheless, if we look at the entire body of European Union copyright law today (the so called acquis communautaire) it certainly appears much more harmonised than what may be suggested by the above. The reason for this “unexpected” situation can most likely be found in the fundamental role that the Court of Justice of the European Union has played in interpreting and—some would argue—in creating European Union copyright law. Using the example of the originality standard, this paper offers an overview of the past and current state of European Union copyright, of the case law that has allowed the Court of Justice of the European Union to develop and affirm its own concepts and indicates what could and should be expected for the future of European Union copyright law.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Margoni, Dr Thomas
Authors: Margoni, T.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Publisher:Springer International Publishin
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