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Propertizing European Copyright

History, Challenges and Opportunities

Caterina Sganga

With an acceleration in the last decades, the language of property, piracy and theft has become mainstream in copyright matters. Scholars have argued that this latent propertization has progressively led to the undue expansion of copyright and an enclosure of knowledge, causing clashes with users’ fundamental rights and EU social and cultural policies. Challenging the validity of such critiques, Propertizing European Copyright demonstrates that these distortive effects are only the result of mishandled property rhetoric and that a commitment to copyright propertization could enable a more internally consistent and balanced development of EU copyright law.
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Chapter 6: Building and harmonizing EU copyright law within the property framework: a four-dimensional experiment of systematization

History, Challenges and Opportunities

Caterina Sganga

Extract

The propertization of EU copyright has been accused of being one of the causes– to mention a few – of the broad interpretation of exclusive rights, the strict approach to exceptions, the restrictive regulation of new uses of protected works to the detriment of the public domain, and the predominance of the consideration of industrial right-holders over authors. Chapter 6 challenges this assumption, attributing these distortive effects to the superficially handled property rhetoric, and providing contrary examples of how the use of property as a systematic framework may have positive effects on the internal consistency and balance of EU copyright law. To this end, it focuses on four ‘victims’ of the pitfalls of the EU harmonization, linked to four corresponding elements of property law: (i) ownership (subject); (ii) works (object); (iii) economic rights (content); (iv) exceptions, fair balance, three-step test and abuse of right (structure).

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