The 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, commonly known as the EU Copyright Directive, is the European Union's implementation of the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty.

This highly controversial Directive is, to date, the most heavily lobbied measure to pass the European Parliament. In its final form, it includes only very narrow exceptions to anti-circumvention measures and exclusive rights (?). As a result, it is generally regarded as a victory for copyright-owning interests (publishing, film, music and major software companies) over copyright users' interests (who, during the lobbying process, were primarily represented by librarians).

Many important details are not specified in the Directive, and as a result, EU member states have significant freedom in certain aspects of directive implementation.

Due to escalating public awareness of the importance of copyright legislation, the process of implementation has not been entirely predictable. For example, the UK Patent Office withdrew its initial proposal for a fast-track implementation (using the European Communities Act), and British parliament may now have to pass customised implementation legislation.

Countries which have implemented the Directive to date:

  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Norway (although Norway is only an observer at the EU)

[It would be good to have analyses of each particular implementation, with notes on any peculiar features which they possess.]


See also: Digital Millennium Copyright Act