Full Harmonization through Case Law
Chapter 6: The future of copyright at the EU level: The shape of harmonization
As far as the US debate is concerned, it is sufficient to recall the proposal launched by Pamela Samuelson, directed at a radical revision of the 1976 Copyright Act, which she has defined as ‘akin to an obese Frankensteinian monster’. Samuelson has argued that current US copyright law is too lengthy, complex and unbalanced in many respects, and that it lacks normative heft, since it is difficult to extract rationales of protection – and corresponding limitations – from the overly detailed provisions contained in the Act. Thus, she has suggested the idea of drafting a model law or principles project, as a platform from which to launch specific copyright reforms aimed at restoring a positive and more normatively appealing vision of copyright than exists today. In the view of Samuelson, a model copyright law must include the following core elements: subject-matter, eligibility criteria for specific people and works, exclusive rights, duration, limitations and/or exceptions to those exclusive rights, infringement standards and remedies. Criticisms of the current US copyright statute have also been raised more recently by Jessica Litman, who has highlighted its flaws with respect to the core objectives of any copyright system, these being production, dissemination, and enjoyment of works of authorship. In particular, she has objected to the 1976 Act, as it is said to create high entry barriers for creators, impose problematic impediments on intermediaries, and inflict burdensome conditions and hurdles on users of copyright-protected materials.
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