Constructing European Intellectual Property
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Constructing European Intellectual Property

Achievements and New Perspectives

Edited by Christophe Geiger

This detailed study presents various perspectives on what further actions are necessary to provide the circumstances and tools for the construction of a truly balanced European intellectual property system. The book takes as its starting point that the ultimate aim of such a system should be to ensure sustainable and innovation-based economic growth while enhancing free circulation of ideas and cultural expressions. Being the first in the European Intellectual Property Institutes Network (EIPIN) series, this book lays down some concrete foundations for a deeper understanding of European intellectual property law and its complex interplay with other fields of jurisprudence as well as its impact on a broad array of spheres of social interaction. In so doing, it provides a well needed platform for further research.
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Chapter 12: The dynamics of harmonization of copyright at the European level1

P. Bernt Hugenholtz


Over the past twenty years, the European Union (formerly the European Community) has carried out an ambitious agenda of copyright harmonization, with the aim of promoting the Internal Market by removing disparities between the laws of the Member States. This has resulted in seven directives on copyright that were adopted between 1991 and 2001. While these directives have created a measure of uniformity between the laws of the Member States, harmonization has come at considerable cost to the Member States. Also, the directives have largely ignored the single most important obstacle to the creation of an Internal Market in content-based services: the territorial nature of copyright. Despite extensive harmonization, copyright law in the European Union is still largely linked to the geographic boundaries of sovereign Member States. Consequently, copyright markets in the European Union remain vulnerable to compartmentalization along national borderlines.

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