Copyright law of the European Union  

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The copyright law of the European Union has arisen in an attempt to harmonise the differing copyright laws of European Union member states. It consists of a number of Directives, which the member states are obliged to enact into their national laws, and by the judgments of the European Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance.

Attempts to harmonise copyright law in Europe (and beyond) can be dated to the signature of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works on 9 September 1886: all European Union Member States are signatories of the Berne Convention, and compliance with its dispositions is now obligatory before accession. The first major step taken by the European Economic Community to harmonise copyright laws came with the decision to apply common standard for the copyright protection of computer programs, enacted in the directive on the legal protection of computer programs (91/250/EEC) in 1991. A common term of copyright protection, 70 years post mortem auctoris (from the death of the author) was agreed in 1993 as the directive harmonizing the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights (93/98/EEC).

The implementation of directives on copyright has been rather more controversial than for many other subjects, as can be seen by the six judgments for non-transposition of the EU Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC). Traditionally, copyright laws vary considerably between Member States, particularly between common law jurisdictions (Cyprus, Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom) and civil law countries. Changes in copyright law have also become linked to protests against the World Trade Organization and globalization in general.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Copyright law of the European Union" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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