The agenda of the EU includes the harmonisation or unification of laws of its Member States for promoting the common market, improving free movement of goods, free movement of capital, free movement of services, and free movement of people. This also applies to copyright law. However, harmonisation or unification of laws through legislation or CJEU decisions does not necessarily further European integration. In the light of recent political and social events, a movement towards further harmonisation, also in copyright law, could even be detrimental to the European cause. This article argues that the more one pursues integration, harmonisation and unification of national laws across Europe, the more one may endanger the fabric and framework of a union of European states. Further legal unification prompts a tendency of the EU Member States to move away from one another. Increased unity causes further diversity, and a certain level of diversity effects unity. This dialectical process can be called the “Herderian paradox”, inspired by the philosophical history of Johann Gottfried Herder (1744–1803) which is outlined in this article. Some of the problematic areas of copyright harmonisation that illustrate the dangers of the “Herderian paradox” are discussed: the concept of copyright work, the interpretation of originality, the role of moral rights, exceptions and limitations, and, as a possible but dangerous remedy to overcome difficulties of harmonisation, EU law pre-emption and intergovernmental treaties outside EU law.
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See e.g. the website of the EU Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/single-market/index_en.htm (accessed 8 April 2016).
See e.g. the recent Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, etc., Upgrading The Single Market: More Opportunities for People and Business, COM(2015) 550 final, 28 Oct. 2015; Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market, 2016/0280 (COD), Recitals (1) and (3).
See e.g. Recitals (6) and (7) of the Information Society Directive 2001/29/EC.
The treatment of Greece was highly controversial in Germany itself, even among politicians, e.g. J. Fischer, former German minster of foreign affairs, J. Fischer (2015).
The ulterior motive for this seemingly generous invitation to Germany was mostly to obtain the cheap labour force of educated young people – which Germany needs because of its demographic situation.
The Council of Europe has voiced serious human rights concerns in relation to this “refugee deal”, see Rankin (2016).
E.g. Juncker (2016).
For intellectual property, see e.g. the statement in Recital (8) of the IP Enforcement Directive 2004/48/EC: “The disparities between the [enforcement] systems of the Member States […] [do] not promote free movement within the Internal Market or create an environment conducive to healthy competition.”
Luxembourg has become notorious for that, see e.g. “LuxLeaks: Jean-Claude Juncker se défend d’être ‘l’ami du grand capital’”, Le Monde (online), 12 November 2014, Bower and Watt (2014). But other EU States, such as Ireland, Britain, or the Netherlands are similar examples.
Notably the only ones in Europe who welcomed the British EU referendum result were far right-wing political parties.
It has been amusing to witness that the principal and popular – and populist – campaigner for “Brexit”, and winner of the referendum, who used the question of EU membership only for trying to propel himself to the office of prime minister has been brutally eliminated in the last minute by this closest political allies. He used the people for his career but forgot that others would use his for theirs. See e.g. Rayner (2016).
A good illustration was the warning in a publication of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) of 25 May 2016 (http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/8296) (accessed 25 May 2016) that the effect of leaving the EU on public finances would require at least an additional one or two years of austerity, which prompted the reaction by the “Vote Leave” campaign that the IFS is a “paid-up propaganda arm of the European Commission,” see e.g. Weaver and Asthana (2016).
Herder (1989), II, 7, i, at 253; II, 8, ii, at 298.
Herder, Ideen, II, 9, iv, at pp. 369–370.
E.g. Ch. de Montesquieu, De l’esprit des lois, book 19, chap. 10.
Rahmatian (2015), pp. 115, 151, with further references to Kames’s works.
Herder, Ideen, II, 7, iii, at pp. 268–270; II, 7, v, at pp. 280–281; II, 8, at pp. 298–299.
Herder, Ideen, II, 9, iv, at pp. 369–370 (my translation).
Compare the passages of similar content in Herder, Ideen, III, 12, vi, at pp. 507–513.
But not without logical reasoning, see the example of logical conclusions in the explanation of the grounds (according to Herder, of course) of polygamy in the orient, see Herder, Ideen, II, 8, iv, at pp. 317–318.
Bollacher (1989); I. Berlin, “Herder and the Enlightenment”, p. 187.
I. Berlin, “Herder and the Enlightenment”, pp. 195–199.
Herder, Ideen, IV, 16, at p. 677.
Herder, Ideen, IV, 16, iii, at pp. 690–691, in this context in relation to the German peoples.
Herder, Ideen, II, 7, i, at pp. 255–256.
“The “genius” of a people manifests itself nowhere better than in the appearance of its speech”, Herder, Ideen, II, 9, ii, at p. 353.
E.g. Herder, Ideen, II, 6, iv, at p. 233; II, 7, i, at p. 253; II, 8, iii, at p. 312; II, 8, v, at p. 333; II, 9, iii, pp. 358–359.
Consequently, Herder presents the Jews as a people who have preserved their cultural identity and national character over hundreds of years of prosecution; and Herder rejects strongly the persecution of Jews and what would later be called anti-Semitism, see Herder, Ideen, III, 12, iii, at pp. 483, 490–492; IV, 16, v, at p. 702.
Herder, Ideen, IV, 16, vi, at p. 706.
Herder, Ideen, II, 8, v, at pp. 333–335.
Herder, Ideen, II, 8, iv, at p. 316.
Herder, Ideen, II, 9, iv, at pp. 362, 367. Herder’s indebtedness to Rousseau is obvious here.
Herder, Ideen, IV, 16, vi, at pp. 705–706.
Herder, Ideen, IV, 16, at p. 678.
It is a form of nationalism, see I. Berlin, supra note 29, pp. 179, 205–206, but it is anachronistic to equate this “nationalism” with the nineteenth century nationalism and present nationalist movements.
See, for example, for the first case, Herder’s characterisation of the Saxons, Normans and Danes, Herder, Ideen, IV, 18, iv, at p. 789, for the second case, Herder’s remarks about the Slavonic peoples, Herder, Ideen, IV, 16, iv, at p. 696–699.
Ibid., at 123.
Ibid., at 115–117, 127, 133.
J. G. Herder, Auch eine Philosophie, pp. 66–67.
Rahmatian (2007), pp. 1–29, at 5–7 with references to Savigny’s German text.
For extensive criticism of Savigny’s Volksgeistlehre, see Rahmatian (2007), pp. 1–29, at 9–13, 17–18.
Legrand (2003), pp. 260–261 (n. 66), 266, 268.
The (rather academic) project of a European Civil Code never obtained a clear endorsement from the EU, see Whittaker (2009), pp. 616–647, at 623.
“Unity in difference”, see I. Berlin, supra note 29, p. 177.
This idea of an underlying unity in the appearing (not only apparent) diversity or variety can also be found in Goethe’s idea of the archetypal plant (“Urpflanze”), and this approach would also influence Alexander von Humboldt. See Goethe (1982), pp. 64, 579. Goethe was of course profoundly influenced by Herder.
First Minister Alex Salmond, The Scotsman, 11 June 2008: “This is great news. It’s a victory for Scotland and its financial sector. I’m delighted the Treasury have dropped their ludicrous proposals that threatened the very existence of Scottish banknotes. Let’s hope they’ve finally learnt their lesson and never jeopardise our banknotes again.”
Montesquieu (1977), p. 378, (with slight changes of the translation by the author).
European Parliament resolution of 9 July 2015 on the implementation of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (2014/2256 (INI)).
Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society, see also Recitals (3) and (4).
Directive 2014/26/EU of 26 February 2014 on collective management of copyright and related rights and multi–territorial licensing of rights in musical works for online use in the internal market, OJ L. 84/72.
EU Parliament Resolution of 9 July 2015, paras. 3, 9, 12, 13.
Paras. 7 and 50.
Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (COM (2016) 593 final), Explanatory Memorandum, pp. 2, 9, Recital (5), Arts. 1 and 2.
Seville (2011), pp. 1039–1055, at 1042.
Directive 2004/48/EC on the enforcement of intellectual property, and Recitals (7)–(9).
Directive 2014/26/EU of 26 February 2014 on collective management of copyright and related rights and multi-territorial licensing of rights in musical works for online use in the internal market, OJ L 84/72. A predecessor of this Directive was the (non-binding) Commission Recommendation 2005/737/EC of 18 May 2005 on Collective Cross-border Management of Copyright and Related Rights for Legitimate Online Music Services  OJ L 276/54.
Rahmatian (2011), pp. 361–383, at 366–367, 373–375.
This is in reality so everywhere despite formal conceptual differences (e.g. the German Immaterialgüterrecht) or academic discourse about whether copyright is really a property right; see discussion in A. Rahmatian, Copyright and Creativity (2011), pp. 25–35, 60–67.
For the international situation, see Dinwoodie (2009).
Derclaye (2014), pp. 716–732, at 719.
CDPA 1988, Secs. 3–8; Bently and Sherman (2014).
France: CPT 1992, Art. 112-2; Germany: Sec. 2(1) Author’s Rights Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz) 1965.
Especially Football Association Premier League and others v. QC Leisure and others, and Murphy v. Media Protection Services (C-429/08)  Bus LR 1321, paras. 96–97. Perhaps also Bezpečnostní softwarová asociace v. Svaz softwarové ochrany v. Ministerstvo kultury  FSR 18 (Case C-393/09), para. 46.
Football Association Premier League and others v. QC Leisure and others, and Murphy v. Media Protection Services (C-429/08)  Bus LR 1321, paras. 96 and 97.
See discussion in Rosati (2013), pp. 47–68, at 60.
TRIPS Agreement 1994, Art. 9(2), Directive 2009/24/EC (Software Directive), Art. 1(2), US Copyright Act 1976, § 102(b).
Vivant and Bruguière (2013).
Bezpečnostní softwarová asociace v. Svaz softwarové ochrany v Ministerstvo kultury  FSR 18 (Case C-393/09)  ECDR 3, para. 49; (indirectly) Football Association Premier League and others v. QC Leisure and others, and Murphy v. Media Protection Services (C-429/08)  Bus LR 1321, especially para. 98; Football Dataco Ltd and others v. Yahoo! UK Ltd and others (Case C-604/10)  ECDR 10, para. 39.
A. Rahmatian, Copyright and Creativity (2011), pp. 17–18.
CDPA 1988, Sec. 3(2).
There are exceptions: In the UK broadcasts need no fixation, in France choreographic works need fixation.
Berne Convention, Art. 2(2).
Berne Convention, Art. 2(1), (2) and (5).
That may also apply to the UK: Bently and Sherman (2014).
Wittem Project, European Copyright Code, Art. 1.1(2): “The following [works] in particular …” (emphasis added).
CDPA 1988, Secs. 3(1)(a)–(d) and 4.
For example in Hi-Tech Autoparts v. Towergate Two Ltd. (Nos. 1 and 2)  FSR 254 and 270 (moulds for car rubber floor mats as engravings), Norowzian v. Arks (No. 2)  EMLR pp. 67, at 73 (dramatic work capable of being performed also as a film). However, this was not always so: Creation Records v. News Group  EMLR p. 444 (independent photographing of an arranged scene); Lucasfilm v. Ainsworth  UKSC 39,  1 AC 208 (Star Wars storm trooper helmet is not a sculpture).
Compare the umbrella term of the Berne Convention, Art. 2(1): “literary and artistic works” include every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain.
On the way fashion could be covered within the closed list of work categories in the UK, see Silverman (2013), pp. 637–645, at 639–640, 645.
Cramp v. Smythson  AC 329, effectively also Exxon Corp. v. Exxon Insurance  RPC 69 (one single word: no literary work, whether that is a decision on qualitative or quantitative grounds is debatable).
Strowel (2014), pp. 1127–1154, at 1130.
Directive 2006/115/EC, Art. 8(2).
Padawan SL v. Sociedad General de Autores y Editores de España (SGAE) (C-467/08)  ECR I-271, para. 33; Discretion of the EU Member State within the limits of EU law to determine the obligation under the Directive (fair compensation under Art. 5(2)(b) of the Information Society Directive 2001/29) in the absence of sufficiently precise community criteria, Amazon and others v. Austro-Mechana GmbH (C-521/11)  1 CMLR 11, para. 21.
EGEDA (C-470/14), 9 June 2016, paras. 38, 42.
Johan Deckmyn and Vrijheidsfonds VZW v. Helena Vandersteen and Others (C-201/13)  ECDR 21, paras. 14–17.
In these specific instances this is in effect still so, although the interpretation by the ECJ does not necessarily confine itself to one single Directive but combines several for its findings, for example in Vereniging van Educatieve en Wetenschappelijke Auteurs (VEWA) v. Belgische Staat (C-271/10)  ECDR 19, para. 27: “… regard being had for the requirements deriving from the unity and coherence of the legal order of the European Union, that concept of remuneration must be interpreted in the light of the rules and principles established by all of the directives on intellectual property, as interpreted by the Court.”.
Infopaq (Case C-5/08), paras. 27–28.
Geiger and Schönherr (2014a), pp. 434–484, at 456.
Directive 96/9/EC (Database Directive) Art. 3(1); Directive 2009/24/EC (Software Directive), Art. 1(3), Directive 2006/116/EC (Term Directive), Art. 6.
Rahmatian (2013), pp. 4–34, at 11–12, 18.
Directive 2008/95/EC to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks.
Infopaq International v. Danske Dagblades Forening  ECDR p. 16 (Case C-5/08), paras. 27–29.
Directive 2001/29/EC, Art. 2(a).
In Art. 1(3) of Directive 2009/24/EC (originally Directive 91/250): Software Directive; Art. 3(1) of Directive 96/9: Database Directive; Art. 6 of Directive 2006/116/EC: Term Directive.
Infopaq (Case C-5/08), paras. 33, 35.
“Work” according to the meaning in Art 2(a) of the Information Society Directive.
Infopaq (Case C-5/08), para. 37.
Football Association Premier League and others v. QC Leisure and others, and Murphy v. Media Protection Services (C-429/08)  Bus LR 1321, especially paras. 96–97. Perhaps also Bezpečnostní, para. 46: “… the graphic user interface [the work at issue] can, as a work, be protected by copyright if it is its author’s own intellectual creation.” (emphasis added).
Bezpečnostní softwarová asociace v. Svaz softwarové ochrany v Ministerstvo kultury  FSR 18 (Case C-393/09)  ECDR 3, paras. 45–46, 51.
Painer v. Standard Verlags GmbH, Axel Springer AG, Süddeutsche Zeitung GmbH, Spiegel-Verlag Rudolf Augstein GmbH & Co. KG, Verlag M. DuMont Schauberg Expedition der Kölnischen Zeitung GmbH & Co KG (C-145/10).
Painer (C-145/10), paras. 87–92.
Directive 2006/116/EC, Art. 6.
Section 72 German Author’s Rights Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz) 1965; Rehbinder (2010), 87, 319.
Schulze (2013), p. 1157.
Football Dataco Ltd and others v. Yahoo! UK Ltd and others (Case C-604/10)  ECDR p. 10.
SAS Institute Inc. v. World Programming Ltd (C-406/10)  ECDR 22.
Bezpečnostní, paras. 45–46; Football Dataco, paras. 37–38; SAS, para. 67.
Football Dataco Ltd and others v. Yahoo! UK Ltd and others (Case C-604/10)  ECDR 10, paras. 42, 46.
“Continental copyright” tradition is a flawed term, but in the original Italian of the Advocate-General’s opinion it says correctly: “tradizione continentale del diritto d’autore”, at para. 37.
Opinion of the Advocate General Mengozzi (Case C-604/10), paras. 35, 37.
Art. 267 TFEU.
Infopaq (C-5/08), paras. 48, 51.
See, for France, Vivant and Bruguière (2013), p. 232.
Section 2(2) German Author’s Rights Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz) 1965.
Loewenheim (2010), "Einleitung" note 6.
Painer (C-145/10), para. 91.
Incidentally, here the ECJ is a child of its time, because the central principle of prevalent “neo-liberalism” is also that of (politically and socially) irrelevant choice in the marketplace.
University of London Press v. University Tutorial Press  2 Ch 601, at pp. 609–610, per Peterson J; Ladbroke (Football) v. William Hill (Football)  vol. 1 WLR p. 273.
I have suggested this interpretation in Rahmatian (2013), pp. 4–34, at 30.
Feist Publications Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co Inc. 499 US 340.
A. Rahmatian, Copyright and Creativity (2011) pp. 47–48.
Usually the CJEU has to deal with highly complex technical matters of IP law which makes judicial harmonisation more complicated. As to the problem of the judges’ expertise on the relationship between copyright and design law, Bently (2012), pp. 654–672, at 663–664 (on Flos (C-168/09).
Wittem Project, European Copyright Code, Art. 1.1(1) and footnotes 6 and 7: “(6) The Code does not use or define the term original, but in practice it might still be used to indicate that the production qualifies as a (protected) work. (7) The term ‘the author’s own intellectual creation’ is derived from the acquis (notably for computer programs, databases and photographs). It can be interpreted as the ‘average’ European threshold, presuming it is set somewhat higher than skill and labour. This is possible if emphasis is put on the element of creation. For factual and functional works, the focus will be more on a certain level of skill (judgement) and labour, whereas for productions in the artistic field the focus will be more on personal expression.”
A. Rahmatian, Copyright and Creativity (2011), pp. 40–42, 55 and note 379 (on the concept of ergänzender Leistungsschutz in German law).
UK CDPA 1988, Part I, chap. IV, Secs. 77 et seq.; US Copyright Act 1976, § 106A (incorporation of Visual Artists Rights Act 1990); Australian Copyright Amendment (Moral Rights) Act 2000, No. 159.
Cornish (1989): “an extreme form of dualism”.
Vivant and Bruguière (2013), pp. 237, 240 with critical comments as to the practical application of this principle.
German Sec. 2(2) Act on Copyright and Related Rights (Urheberrechtsgesetz) 1965.
Austrian Copyright Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz) 1936, Sec. 1(1) (“eigentümliche geistige Schöpfungen”).
TRIPS Agreement, Art. 9(2).
Berne Convention, Art. 5(2), together with Art. 2(2).
Wittem Project, European Copyright Code, Arts. 3.1–3.6 and footnotes 31–36.
Wittem Project, European Copyright Code, Arts. 3.3(2) and 3.4(2).
Rosati (2010a), pp. 862–868, at 864.
Hugenholtz (2000), pp. 499–505, at 499–500.
Strowel (1993), pp. 494–495.
Discussion in A. Rahmatian, Copyright and Creativity (2011), pp. 206–208, with references to national laws.
But the monist theory is uncontroversial in Germany and Austria, see Ulmer (1960), pp. 97–104, and (less clearly) Secv. 11 German Copyright Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz) 1965.
Rehbinder (2010), p. 16.
See discussion in A. Rahmatian, Copyright and Creativity (2011), pp. 240–243.
Certain interpretations of the German author’s rights law in the national-socialist spirit after 1933 give an eerie indication as to how that could be done, for example by Elster (1933), pp. 189–207, at 191, 193, 198–199.
In the recent “Brexit” referendum in the UK a large number of people voted against EU membership of the UK without any knowledge about the EU at all. See e.g. Fung (2016).
Southern (1970), pp. 64–67.
Directive 2001/29/EC, Recital (32).
Directive 2001/29/EC, Art. 5(5).
Berne Convention, Art. 9(2).
TRIPS Agreement, Art. 13.
WIPO Copyright Treaty, Art. 10(1).
On the history of the three-step test, see Geiger, Gervais, Senftleben (2013), pp. 581–626, at 583.
Helpful overview of the EU legislative scheme of copyright exceptions and limitations in: J. Pila, P. Torremans, European Intellectual Property Law (2016), p. 332.
Directive 2001/29/EC, Art. 5(3)(o).
Geiger and Schönherr (2014b), pp. 395, at 439–440.
Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, 14 Sept. 2016, COM (2016) 593 final, 2016/0280 (COD).
See Art. 4(1): “Member States shall provide …”.
See also Proposal on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, Recital (14).
Proposal on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, Recitals (1) and (2).
For example, the Proposal on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, Explanatory Memorandum, pt. 1 (p. 2), states simply: “Exceptions and limitations to copyright and neighbouring rights are harmonised at EU level.”
Schütze (2012), p. 364.
Schütze, European Constitutional Law, p. 365–367 with examples from ECJ/CJEU case law.
Rosati (2014), pp. 585–598, at 587–594.
E.g. Martin Luksan v. Petrus van der Let (C-277/10), para. 64; see also the discussion by Rosati (2014), pp. 589–590.
See Dreier (2015), pp. 138–146, at 141.
De Witte (2015), pp. 434–457, at 438. De Witte stresses, probably somewhat controversially, that “there is no evidence of an overall intergovernmental plot against the integrity of the EU legal order”.
Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (2013) OJ 2013/C 175/01.
Regulation 1257/2012 (enhanced cooperation regarding unitary patent protection) and Regulation 1260/2012 (translation arrangements).
CJEU C-274/11 and C-295/11.
CJEU C-146/13 (subject-matter was the annulment of Regulation (EU) 1257/2012). See extensive discussion of the legislative history by Plomer (2015), pp. 508–533, at 524–525.
See discussion in De Witte (2015), pp. 434–457, at 440–444, 448–450.
E.g. Information Society Directive 2001/29/EC, Art. 5(2) and (3).
See e.g. discussion by Follesdal and Hix (2006), pp. 533–562, at 534–537.
Whether Chapter 22, Art. 5 on copyright of CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) between Canada and the EU (the equivalent to the currently negotiated TTIP with the USA), if adopted, could have a harmonising force, and what the legal status of CETA would be if the EU were to disappear, remains to be seen.
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Rahmatian, A. European Copyright Inside or Outside the European Union: Pluralism of Copyright Laws and the “Herderian Paradox”. IIC 47, 912–940 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40319-016-0531-4
- EU copyright
- Moral rights
- Exceptions and limitations
- EU law pre-emption