Copyright Directive

(Redirected from Information Society Directive)

The EU Copyright Directive (aka Information Society Directive) - Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (Copyright Directive)[1]


This directive represented the legislative answer to “COM (95) 382 Final”, a Green Paper of the EC requesting a coherent legal framework on copyright in order to adapt the European and national legislation to the developments of the information society. Moreover, the Copyright Directive implemented the WIPO Copyright Treaty to which EU is a party. However, it is necessary to underline that only some IP areas are covered by the directive whilst other aspects (for example, legal protection of computer programs and databases, rental and lending rights) are left to future specific legislation.

The provisions deal mainly with three sectors: reproduction rights, right of communication and distribution rights. Indeed, the subjects concerned (e.g. authors, performers, phonogram producers) are entitled to an 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” (art. 2 – Reproduction right)
  • “to authorise or prohibit any communication to the public of their works, by wire or wireless means, including the making available to the public of their works in such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them” (art. 3 – Right of communication)
  • “to authorise or prohibit any form of distribution to the public by sale or otherwise” (art. 4 – Distribution right)

The directive states that these rights must be provided by the Member States that also offer adequate legal protection against the circumvention of any effective technological measure covering works or any subject matter. Moreover, a list of exemptions and limitations (not mandatory for Member States) of these exclusive rights is provided by the directive.

This directive has been widely criticized for its rigidity in terms of anti-circumvention measures and exclusive rights because these provisions have been considered the product of the pressures exerted by the copyright-owning lobbies. Moreover, the directive has encountered many obstacles in its way to national implementations leading the EC to take different proceeding before the ECJ against the national failures to transpose.

Term of copyright


Technical Protection Measures

See also



  1. 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