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Research Handbook on the Future of EU Copyright

Edited by Estelle Derclaye

It has been over fifteen years since the EU started harmonising copyright law. This original Handbook takes stock and questions what the future of EU copyright should be. What went wrong with the harmonisation acquis? What did the directives do well? Should copyright be further harmonised? Each of the 25 recognised copyright experts from different European countries gives a critical account of the EU harmonisation carried out on several aspects of copyright law (subject-matter, originality, duration, rights, defences etc.), and asks whether further harmonisation is desirable or not. This way, the Handbook not only gives guidance to European institutions as to what remains to be done or needs to be remedied but is also the first overall picture of current and future EU copyright law.
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Chapter 9: Economic Rights

Ansgar Ohly


shall be owned by the person holding the copyright. 3. In respect of a database created by a group of natural persons jointly, the exclusive rights shall be owned jointly. From Article 3 we immediately see that the European Parliament and the Council have sided with both the civilians and the commoners. The database is a work of ‘the author’s own individual creation’, a term which strikingly emphasises the primacy of the human creative imperative as the justification for conferring legal protection. Yet simultaneously those august bodies, in directing the legislative drift of their neophyte subject matter, steer their attention away from a work of creative authorship and focus instead upon what is effectively the work of tidy office management: the arrangement of something even as trivially uncreated as raw data, in a systematic or methodical manner by means of which each piece of data is individually accessible. This is to bestow the title ‘author’ on the street-sweeper who brushes facts into tidy piles of data all along the information highway. 200 Research handbook on the future of EU copyright More to the point, on the assumption that the normative publicly accessible and communally amendable wiki is generally a ‘database’ under Article 1, we can substitute ‘wiki’ for ‘database’ and re-read Article 3 as stating that ‘wikis which, by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents, constitute the author’s own intellectual creation shall be protected as such by copyright’. Now we have a problem. Many people may contribute...

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