EU Copyright Law
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EU Copyright Law

A Commentary

Edited by Irini A. Stamatoudi and Paul Torremans

Presenting a comprehensive and up to date article-by-article analysis of all EU law in the area of copyright, as well as of the underlying basic concepts and principles, this unique book takes into account all recent legislative amendments and pending initiatives in the context of the EU Digital Agenda, as well as the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Published as part of the Elgar Commentaries series, it discusses challenges for the future that will underpin copyright in the years to come. It also presents ongoing discussions in WIPO and assesses the role of copyright in society and economy both from an EU and an international perspective. It is a thorough and in-depth analysis from a team of leading experts in the field, which combines aspects of theory and practice and places copyright in perspective.
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Gemma Minero


Before its harmonisation, the term of copyright and related rights in the EU Member States' laws varied significantly. For example, in the UK and in the majority of Member States the duration of copyright was life of the author and 50 years post mortem auctoris (pma). This option was followed by most Member States, adopting the Berne Convention's minimum requirement for copyright protection (Article 7.(1)). At European level, this solution was adopted in the Computer Programs Directive of 1991 (Art. 1(1)). But there were also some variations among EU Member States. In Austria, Belgium, France (for musical works only), Germany and Greece it was life and 70 years pma. In Spain, from 1879-1987, the duration was the longest one among EU countries: author's life plus 80 years pma. The same happened with related rights. Indeed for neighbouring rights, such as rights in phonograms, performers' rights and rights in broadcasts, the variation was even wider, since not all EU Member States were party to the Rome Convention and not all EU countries offered specific protection for such rights (e.g. Belgium and the Netherlands). These differences concerned both the duration of the protection itself and the time when the protection period began to run. Therefore, the Directive seeks to harmonise these two issues, as the differing terms of protection in the Member States may be an obstacle to the functioning of the internal market.

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