Elgar Commentaries series
Edited by Irini A. Stamatoudi and Paul Torremans
The Information Society Directive is the only EU Directive, so far, which harmonises copyright and related rights issues to a larger extent and in a horizontal manner compared to any other Directive, with the exception of the Enforcement Directive, which is however targeted on enforcement. Although its title relates to the Information Society, its provisions are also valid in the analogue world. The Information Society Directive implements into EU law the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), which were concluded in 1996. Yet, some of its provisions go well beyond these two Treaties and have been rather controversial during the legislative process. This is also the reason why the Commission tabled its initial proposal on 21 May 1999 while the Directive was finally adopted on 22 May 2001. The Information Society Directive was part of a set of Directives envisaged already in 1988 in the European Commission's Green Paper on 'Copyright and the Challenge ofTechnology', which sought to strike a balance between the rights of authors and right holders and the challenges of the emerging technologies and the Internet. Two sets of Directives had been initiated in this context. The first set contained six Directives focusing on particular sectors of copyright ('first generation of Directives'). These were the Computer Programs Directive, the Rental and Lending Rights Directive, the Satellite and Cable Directive, the Term Directive, the Database Directive and the Resale Right Directive.
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