Thursday, January 20, 2005

Berkman Papers on (European) Copyright

One of the great things about Harvard's Berkman Center, at least lately, is that it reaches over the Atlantic and Pacific when it comes to Intellectual Property law. In its papers not just US law and policies are analysed, but considerable attention is given to European and Asian issues. Something that is often hard to find in the US blawgosphere. But then both continents got enough (IP) troubles for their own.

Some time ago the Berkman Center released a good paper on the legal protection of technological measures in EU member states. Just now it published, as part of an update to Copyright and Digital Media in a Post-Napster World (2003), an international supplement that "considers developments regarding copyright and related rights in Europe and Asia/Pacific (including Australia) (...)."

The European part of the supplement is especially interesting because it gives a really nice oversight of the more important court cases that have played within the EU. The part on European copyright legislation feels a bit like a summary of earlier papers, but is still good. Importantly it stresses that whatever kind of copyright exemptions the European Copyright Directive (EUCD) may provide, in the larger part is up to the European member states to determine which rights their citizens may envoke. No private copying right in releation to DRMs (e.g. Germany)? That's just fine. The EUCD gives little guarantees that the interests of non-rightholders will be protected by nation states. And although there are some examples of national legislation that actually incorporates citizen concerns (e.g. in Denmark and Germany), for a great part the political and legislative agenda is influenced by the same (content industry) interests group that determine the European playing field. Take the High Level Group on DRMs...well, let's not go there, I'm getting carried away. For more analyses the Berkman papers provide a good and balanced source.
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Thru A Copyfighter's Musings


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