Help Print this page 

Summaries of EU Legislation

Title and reference
Copyright and related rights in the information society

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.
Languages and formats available
Multilingual display
Text

Copyright and related rights in the information society

SUMMARY OF:

Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THE DIRECTIVE DO?

The directive aims to adapt legislation on copyright and related rights to technological developments and particularly to the information society, while providing for a high level of protection of intellectual property. In addition, it implements 2 international treaties that were concluded in December 1996: the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

It is 1 of the 10 directives, including those on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, orphan works, and the collective management of copyright and related rights, which together comprise the EU’s copyright legislation.

KEY POINTS

The directive harmonises key rights granted to authors and neighbouring rightsholders (the reproduction right, the right of communication to the public and the distribution right) and — to a lesser degree — exceptions and limitations to these rights. It also harmonises the protection of technological measures and of rights management information, sanctions and remedies.

Reproduction right

EU countries must provide for the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit direct or indirect, temporary or permanent reproduction by any means and in any form, in whole or in part:

  • for authors, of the original and copies of their works;
  • for performers, of fixations* of their performances;
  • for phonogram producers, of their phonograms;
  • for the producers of the first fixation of films, in respect of the original and copies of their films;
  • for broadcasting organisations, of fixations of their broadcasts, whether those broadcasts are transmitted by wire or over the air (wireless), including by cable or satellite.

Right of communication to the public

EU countries must provide authors with the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit any communication to the public of their works. This includes making their works available to the public in such a way that members of the public may access them when and where they choose.

EU countries must also have rules on the exclusive right of making available:

  • for performers, of fixations of their performances;
  • for phonogram producers, of their phonograms;
  • for the producers of the first fixation of films, in respect of the original and copies of their films;
  • for broadcasting organisations, of fixations of their broadcasts — regardless of the method of transmission.

Distribution right

  • The directive establishes a single EU-wide rule to provide authors with the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit any distribution to the public of their works or copies thereof.
  • This distribution right is exhausted within the EU where the first sale or first other transfer of ownership in the EU of a work is made by the rightholder or with his consent.

Exceptions and limitations

The directive sets out an exhaustive list of exceptions and limitations to rights, in order to facilitate the use of protected content in specific circumstances.

There is a mandatory exception to the right of reproduction for certain temporary acts of reproduction which are integral and essential part of a technological process (temporary copies), and which aim to enable a lawful use or a transmission in a network between third parties by an intermediary, of a work or other subject-matter.

  • All the other exceptions and limitations relating to the rights of reproduction and communication are optional (EU countries may decide to implement them or not) and particularly concern the ‘public’ domain. For 3 of these exceptions — reprography*, private use and broadcasts made by social institutions — the rightsholders must receive fair compensation.
  • The exceptions and limitations to the distribution right are granted depending on the exceptions relating to reproduction or communication to the public.

Legal protection

  • EU countries must provide legal protection against the circumvention of any effective technological measures covering works or any other subject matter.
  • This legal protection also relates to ‘preparatory acts’ such as the manufacture, import, distribution, sale or provision of services for works with limited uses.

Protection of rights-management information

EU countries must provide legal protection against any person knowingly performing without authority any of the following acts:

  • the removal or alteration of any electronic rights-management information;
  • the distribution, broadcasting, communication or making available to the public of works or other protected subject matter from which electronic rights-management information has been removed.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

It applies from 22 June 2001. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 22 December 2002.

KEY TERMS

* Fixation: a work has to be embodied in a copy that allows it to be seen or copied by others (i.e. in a tangible medium such as a recording).

* Reprography: the science and practice of copying and reproducing documents and graphic material.

ACT

Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (OJ L 167, 22.6.2001, pp. 10-19)

Successive amendments to Directive 2001/29/EC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

RELATED ACTS

Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (OJ L 195, 2.6.2004, pp. 16-25) (‘IPRED’). See consolidated version.

Directive 2014/26/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on collective management of copyright and related rights and multi-territorial licensing of rights in musical works for online use in the internal market (OJ L 84, 20.3.2014, pp. 72-98) (‘CRM Directive’)

Directive 2006/115/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on rental right and lending right and on certain rights related to copyright in the field of intellectual property (codified version) (OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, pp.28-35) (‘Rental and Lending Directive’)

Directive 2001/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2001 on the resale right for the benefit of the author of an original work of art (OJ L 272, 13.10.2001, pp. 32-36) (‘Resale Right Directive’)

Council Directive 93/83/EEC of 27 September 1993 on the coordination of certain rules concerning copyright and rights related to copyright applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission (OJ L 248, 6.10.1993, pp. 15-21) (‘Satellite and Cable Directive’)

Directive 2009/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the legal protection of computer programs (Codified version) (OJ L 111, 5.5.2009, pp. 16-22) (‘Software Directive’)

Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases (OJ L 77, 27.3.1996, pp. 20-28) (‘Database Directive’)

Directive 2006/116/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights (codified version) (OJ L 372, 27.12.2006, p. 12–18) (‘Term Directive’). See consolidated version.

Directive 2012/28/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on certain permitted uses of orphan works (OJ L 299, 27.10.2012, pp. 5-12) (‘Orphan Works Directive’)

last update 04.04.2016

Top