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RESPECT for intellectual property


interim report Interim report

Intellectual property rights are one of the most burning international issues. At a time when more and more people are reliant on selling their ‘knowledge’ to earn a living, it is becoming harder and harder to protect their intellectual property in a digital knowledge-based economy.

RESPECT’s work on intellectual property will be led by ITM and will involve several stages:

1. Review of the existing EU copyright legislation relevant for conducting research

At current, copyright laws in force in the EU member states vary, even though certain fields have been harmonised.[1] This situation creates a legal uncertainty for persons or entities utilising copyright protected works within different EU member states. This applies especially to research consortiums, which consist of entities from different member states. In order to ensure compliance with the potentially applicable copyright statutes, such entities have to conduct their research according to all these different statutes.

This task therefore includes the review of the existing copyright legislation in the member states as far as these laws may be relevant for research activities. The protected subject matter, the rights granted to the author and especially the exceptions and limitations of these rights relating to scientific research will be examined.

Furthermore, the EU-harmonised areas of copyright law contain provisions which regulate certain exceptions and limitations relating to the use of protected material for the purpose of scientific research. These statutes will therefore also be examined in order to provide researchers with an overall clear picture of what they are legally entitled to when utilising protected material for their research.

2. Analysis of the recently enacted EU Copyright Directive (and, as far as enacted, its national implementation legislation) relating to conducting research

The recently enacted Directive on the Harmonisation of Copyright and Related Rights in the Information Society has attempted to harmonise (amongst other issues) the limitations and exceptions to the exclusive rights of copyright and related rights holders. In Art. 5 sec. 3 a), d) o) of the Directive certain acts relating to scientific research are allowed which would otherwise be subject to the authorisation of the rightsholder. Since the implementation of these limitations is optional for the member states, this task focuses on examining which member state implements all or some of these provisions.[2] Further, the scope and especially differences in scope or applicability of these provisions in the implementing member states[3] will be analysed. This analysis will allow entities conducting research to determine whether or not they need to adapt their research practices due to the new EU Directive and its implementation legislation.

3. Preparation of guidelines on the basis of the task 1 and 2 results

The third task comprises the production of guidelines on how and to what extent copyright- and related rights-protected material may be utilised for the purpose of scientific research. These guidelines will show what research related conduct is allowed in all member states and further list limitations and exceptions existing only in a specific member state. They will further indicate any changes of the relevant limitation- or exception-provisions due to the implementation of the new EU Copyright Directive.

The partners working on this workpackage will work closely with the ECLIP project to ensure state-of-the-art Europe-wide coverage of this rapidly changing field of law. They will also liaise with user groups (for instance the Authors’ Lending and Copyright Society, the Social Research Association, and the European Federation of Journalists) to ensure that the advice offered is relevant and easily understood.

In carrying out this work, the RESPECT team will consult widely with interested parties. If you feel you have something to contribute to this debate, please register your details here.

In a second stage, the draft guidelines will be circulated for further comment to these experts.

After taking full account of feedback from all relevant parties, the guidelines will be revised for integration into a final code of practice.


1. Such as the Directive on the legal protection of computer programs (91/250/EEC), the Directive on the legal protection of databases (96/6/EC) and the Directive on the term of copyright protection (93/98/EEC). [back]

2. The implementation legislation will be subject to examination insofar it is already enacted by the member states. Member states are obliged to implement the Directive by the 22nd December 2002. [back]

3. The implementation legislation will be subject to examination insofar it is already enacted by the member states. Member states are obliged to implement the Directive by the 22nd December 2002. [back]