Elgar Commentaries series
Edited by Irini A. Stamatoudi and Paul Torremans
Chapter 20: THE ROLE OF THE COURT OF JUSTICE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF EUROPEAN UNION COPYRIGHT LAW
This chapter considers the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union ('the Court') in developing the law of copyright and related rights. In particular, it outlines the significant steps the Court has taken in shaping substantive EU copyright law since its landmark judgment in Infopaq International A/S v Danske Dagblades Forening in 2009. While the Court had considered various aspects of copyright law before Infopaq, it had done so in a relatively piecemeal fashion. Its judgments from 2009 onwards demonstrate an increased determination to interpret the copyright acquis in a manner that promotes the construction of as complete a body of EU copyright law as possible. In its early jurisprudence, the Court had been concerned to establish the appropriate relationship between national copyright rules and certain important Treaty freedoms, notably those relating to freedom of movement of goods, competition and non-discrimination. However, as the European legislator became more active in the sphere of copyright law from the mid-1990s onwards, the Court was also increasingly called upon to rule on the interpretation of secondary legislation. In a number of judgments during this period, it confirmed the continued application of the principles previously established on the relationship between national copyright law and the primary Treaties in the new legislative environment. In others, it provided specific guidance on the terms of the secondary legislation. Thus, for example, it clarified the provisions of the Term Directive under which copyright was revived in works which had previously been in the public domain.
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