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Implementation of the directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonization of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the Information Society


The European Parliament and the Council adopted the directive on copyright and related rights in the information society in May 2001.
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Member States agreed to implement the directive by December 22, 2002. Only Greece and Denmark met this deadline. In addition, Italy, Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom have, in the course of 2003, implemented the Directive.

The Commission decided to refer the other eight Member States (Belgium, Spain, France, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Finland and Sweden) to the European Court of Justice for non-implementation of the directive.

In November and December 2004, the European Court of Justice convicted Finland, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Sweden for failure to implement the Directive.

It should be noted that the ruling made against the United Kingdom is based on the non-implementation of the Directive in the territory of Gibraltar.

The adoption and implementation of the directive are prequisites for ratification of the 1996 WIPO Treaties.

Performers must be particularly attentive to the way Article 3, 2 (making available on demand of commercial phonograms) and Articles 5,2 and 6,4 (private copying and technical measures) of the directive are being, or will be implemented, by the Member States.

On the 11th October, 2004, The European Commission held a consultation under the aegis of the Contact Committee established pursuant to Article 12 of the Directive 2001/29.

The task of the Contact Committee, which is composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by the European Commission includes the organisation of consultations on all questions arising from the application of the directive.
The aim of the consultation was to examine the impact of the Directive on the functioning of the internal market including the impact of differences in national law in the area of private copying and the use of technological measures; and to highlight any difficulties in the digital market in works and other items. The consultation focused on fair compensation and technological protection measures within the meaning of Articles 5.2 (b), 5.5 and 6 of the Directive 2001/29.

Considering this consultation as a “fact finding exercise”, the Commission did not draw any conclusions at the end of the day. A meeting of the Contact Committee with the Member States alone was scheduled on the next day in order to discuss the outcome of the consultation.

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