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Appeared on: Thursday, April 12, 2001
EU adopts anti-copyright directive

"...The European Commission has welcomed the adoption by the EU’s Council of Ministers on 9 April of the Directive establishing pan-EU rules on copyright and related rights in the Information Society. The final balanced outcome is a result of over three years of thorough discussion and a fine example of co-decision making where the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have all had a decisive input. The adoption by consensus demonstrates the extent to which the Directive achieves common ground in an area of diverse interests. It is an essential building block for the Information Society and until now, one which was missing. The Directive is due to be implemented by Member States in national law within 18 months of its publication in the EU’s Official Journal (likely within a few weeks).

The Directive will stimulate creativity and innovation by ensuring that all material protected by copyright including books, films, music are adequately protected by copyright. It provides a secure environment for cross-border trade in copyright protected goods and services, and will facilitate the development of electronic commerce in the field of new and multimedia products and services (both on-line and off-line via e.g. CDs). The Directive harmonises the rights of reproduction, distribution, communication to the public, the legal protection of anti-copying devices and rights management systems. Particular novel features of the Directive include a mandatory exception for technical copies on the net for network operators in certain circumstances, an exhaustive, optional list of exceptions to copyright which includes private copying, the introduction of the concept of fair compensation for rightholders and finally a mechanism to secure the benefit for users for certain exceptions where anti-copying devices are in place. Further details on these and other aspects of the Directive are given below.

However, as far as private copying is concerned, the quality and quantity of private copying and the growth of electronic commerce all mean that there should be greater protection for rightholders in digital recording media (whereby unlimited numbers of perfect copies may be made rapidly). In certain limited cases, where rightholders have made the means available, private copying may be carried out..."



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