The EU has taken action in various fields to facilitate the take-up of e-commerce across the Member States:
• A basis legal framework for the provision of Information Society services in the EU (E-Commerce Directive, Electronic Signatures Directive.
• Several new legal instruments have been adopted or proposed to harmonise part of the IPR environment at European level, ranging from a legal framework for digital content IPRs in the EU (Copyright Directive), a Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights to a proposal for a Software Patent Directive.
• Furthermore, provisions are being put in place for contractual obligations and dispute settlement.
The Copyright directive adopted in 2001 (2001/29/EC) provides for harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the Information Society. It aims to adapt copyright legislation to technological developments.
The copyright Directive harmonises the rights of reproduction, distribution, communication to the public, the legal protection of anti-copying devices and rights management systems. Particular novel features of the directive include a mandatory exception for technical copies on the net for network operators in certain circumstances, an exhaustive, optional list of exceptions to copyright which includes private copying, the introduction of the concept of fair compensation for rightholders and finally a mechanism to secure the benefit for users for certain exceptions where anti-copying devices are in place.
This project has been submitted to the Golden Book database.