Editorial of January 2019

Property Intellectual Copyright Symbol Protection

 by Alexandre Veronese, Professor at University of Brasília


Article 13 and the vigilance dilemma

The first US battles about filtering

In light of the worldwide ongoing debate surrounding legal regimes over internet, in special the recent controversies on amendments proposals to applicable EU rules, such as Directive 96/9, Directive 2001/29 or Directive 2012/28, but most notably Article 13 of the (soon-to-be) Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, it is of utmost importance to seek some perspective. The topic is relevant as much as complex with a range of aspects to consider. For instance, one of the approaches the EU is giving to the matter involves the use of internet (or digital tools in general) for new cultural purposes following the celebration in 2018 of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. In that regard, I had the opportunity to reflect upon this debate alongside Professor Alessandra Silveira, editor of the Blog of UNIO, and other colleagues in an excellent Portuguese podcast. In this post, I intend to shed some light in the global depth of the matter by analysing the American inaugural experience.

At the beginning of the widespread usage of the Internet, the United States society was immersed in a debate about how to deal with offensive content. In the 1990s, Internet had no boundaries and no firewalls to prevent the incoming waves of pornographic and unusual materials. Quickly, a political movement made a strong statement in order to protect American families from that threat. In 1996, the US Congress passed a bill named Communications Decency Act, also known as the CDA. The Bill was signed into Law by the former President Bill Clinton. The CDA was intended to provide an effective system to take down offensive content. Some of the founders of the Internet launched a campaign against the CDA. The now widely famous Electronic Frontier Foundation was the spearhead of the resistance. Until today, we remember the Declaration of Freedom in the Internet, which was written by John Perry Barlow. The major weapon of the resistance was the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Some lawsuits were filled and in a brief timespan the US Supreme Court took down the CDA for it was ruled as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court maintained the long-aged interpretation that the State must be out of any action to perform any possible kind of censorship (Reno v. ACLU, 1997).
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Intellectual Property in the European Union

by Professor Luís Couto Gonçalves, Integrated Member of CEDU

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  1. Copyright

In what concerns the copyright, the (now) European Union made a first harmonization effort following a position taken by the European Commission, on its 1998 Green Paper[1] which intended to reinforce the protection of the copyright and  related rights.

Based on this orientation, several directives were adopted: on the legal protection of computer programs[2], on rental right and lending right and on certain rights related to copyright in the field of intellectual property[3]; on the coordination of certain rules concerning copyright and rights related to copyright applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission[4]; on the harmonization of the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights[5]; on the legal protection of databases[6]/[7].

The circumspect nature of these legal instruments was intended in order to avoid the establishment of fundamental principles of copyright. It is true, however, that if we read them combined it is possible to extract some general principles or, at least, the genesis of some of the principles that would appear expressly recognized in the following directives.

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