Top European Copyright Experts Urge Reform, Unification Of Copyright 05/01/2015 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The European Copyright Society, an august group of copyright experts from across Europe, has issued a letter to new European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Günther Oettinger supporting his mandate to pursue copyright reform and calling for a unification of European copyright laws. The letter, signed by many of the European Union’s most recognised copyright authorities, is available here [pdf]. The group of some 20 academics and institute experts last year submitted a position in the public consultation on the review of EU copyright rules. In it, they suggested improvements in existing EU rules on copyright law. In the new letter, dated 19 December, they said: “We would like to go a step further and underscore the need for a more forward looking and further reaching reform of copyright in the EU – in the form of actual Union-wide unification (not further harmonization) of copyright. The Members of the European Copyright Society are convinced that the time is now ripe to start work on a European Copyright Law that would apply directly and uniformly across the Union.” The letter states that almost 25 years of harmonisation efforts have not changed the status of copyright law in Europe as essentially national. “Each Member State still has its own law on copyright and neighbouring (related) rights that applies strictly within its own territory,” they said. “This territoriality has led to fragmentation of markets along national borderlines, critically impeding the establishment of a Digital Single Market for creative content, and undermining the Union’s international competitiveness.” They said the mission letter to Oettinger from European Commission President Juncker gives impetus for copyright reform and makes it a priority along with promotion of the digital economy. The group said previous Commission efforts to overcome fragmentation by promoting multi-territorial or pan-European collective licensing may help, but it has “raised new transactional and legal problems (e.g. by undermining existing models of blanket licensing at the national level), and the problems of market fragmentation persist.” “A more ambitious solution is now called for: true unification of copyright by way of a European Copyright Law (Regulation) that would replace national legal titles,” they argue, citing Article 118 of the TFEU, introduced by the Lisbon Reform Treaty, which they said creates competence for the European legislature “to establish intellectual property rights with direct Union-wide effect.” The academics noted that there may be resistance to the idea of unification, but said they see it as “the only way a fully functioning Digital Single Market for copyright-based goods and services can ultimately be achieved.” They proceed to list advantages of unification, such as replacing opaque and conflicting rules, enhancing legal security and transparency, reducing transaction and enforcement costs, and allowing the EU legislature to “re-establish itself as a global leader in copyright norm setting.” “Of course,” they note, “we realize that any unification of copyright law in the EU will be a project of the middle or long term.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related William New may be reached at email@example.com."Top European Copyright Experts Urge Reform, Unification Of Copyright" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.