The Europeanization of copyright law – Event Review

by cpocock

On Tuesday 26th, November 2013 Taylor Wessing LLP (London) held its fourth breakfast seminar on the theme of modernizing copyright law. Its early birds and copyright enthusiasts were able to enjoy a finger-licking-good breakfast buffet and hear an insightful discussion about ‘The Europeanization of copyright law’.

Chaired by Mark Owen, the panel called in experts from Germany (Dirk Wieddekind), France (Claire Saint-Laurent-Mantoux and Benjamin Giniez) and the UK (Lorna Caddy and Adam Rendle) to address the changes that recent CJEU decisions will bring in in the different jurisdictions.

A very practical approach was adopted in analyzing the different elements that might and should change due to case law such as pan-European licensing for instance whereby, as Wieddeking phrased it: ‘following Murphy, the law as we know it is dead’.

In talking about creeping harmonization the discussion also touched on topics such as the criteria for determining the subject matter for IP protection, exhaustion rights in digital content and its consequences on free movement of goods, market demarcation and partitioning.

Further, with a quick look to the 4th Global Intellectual Property Index (which can be found here) it was pointed out that the gap in protection of IP between the best and worst ranking jurisdictions is narrowing. This suggests that harmonization has de facto occurred and been accepted, despite the lack of any legislative change.

Finally the seminar came to a close with the general view that these changes might (to the benefit of businesses and for purposes of judicial certainty) be better dealt with by the Commission rather than being driven by CJEU case-law.

Catherine Pocock is Assistant Editor QMJIP and LLM Candidate at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London