The United Kingdom will soon be required to implement an EC Directive which will result in new legislation affecting UK copyright law.
This new Directive will impact on owners of copyright including broadcasters, proprietors of web-sites, artists and musicians, who need to be aware of the ways in which they can protect their works. There are potential new rights and remedies available to them, as set out below. Copyright protects the expression of an idea and can only exist in certain categories of work, such as original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, sound recordings, films, broadcast or cable programmes and typographical arrangements. There is no need to register for copyright, as it is an automatic right. Right holders may control use by others of their work in various ways.
The Directive on copyright and related rights in the information society (the Copyright Directive) was adopted on 9th April, 2001 by the EU Council and has been published in the Official Journal of the European Communities. The aim of the legislation is to harmonise the legal framework on copyright through increased certainty, while providing for a high level of protection of intellectual property.
The Directive seeks to promote growth and increased competitiveness in European industry, both in the area of content provision and information technology.
The Directive requires member states to implement legislation adapting their current laws on copyright and related rights to respond adequately to economic realities such as new forms of exploitation of intellectual property rights, for example, new technology including digital video disks (DVD) and online distribution of music over the internet. Implementing the Directive is likely to involve an updating of certain copyright offences to deal with the issue of online piracy.
In many ways, the Directive mirrors the current UK legal position under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA), as amended by the Broadcasting Acts and further secondary legislation. There are, however, a number of provisions which will necessitate a change in the UK legal position.
The Directive contains a mandatory provision giving right holders exclusive rights to authorise or prohibit direct or indirect, temporary or permanent reproduction of their works by any means and in any form. This provision applies to authors, performers, phonogram producers, film producers and broadcasting...