IST Programme RESPECT: an IST Programme Project
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RESPECT for intellectual property


Research by Natascha Gnädig, Katrin Knorpp, Henning Grosse Ruse and Miléa Giannakoulis, under supervision of Prof. Dr Thomas Hoeren and Dr Michael Bohne of ITM, Germany.

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 has been led by ITM and involved several stages:

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

At present, 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 project has therefore reviewed 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 have been examined.

Furthermore, the EU-harmonised areas of copyright law contain provisions that regulate certain exceptions and limitations relating to the use of protected material for the purpose of scientific research. These statutes have also been 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 that would otherwise be subject to the authorisation of the rightsholder. Since the implementation of these limitations is optional for the member states, this task focused 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 has been 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

This part of the project has produced guidelines on how and to what extent copyright- and related rights-protected material may be utilised for the purpose of scientific research. These guidelines 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 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 worked closely with the ECLIP (E-Commerce Law and Practice in Europe) project to ensure state-of-the-art Europe-wide coverage of this rapidly changing field of law. They also liaised 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 consulted widely with interested parties, and the draft guidelines were circulated for further comment to these experts before being revised for integration into a final code of practice.

interim report Final report on intellectual property and socio-economic research

print version of full report The complete report with internal cross references (Word doc, 2.2Mb)

buy the report Buy the full report online


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 was subject to examination insofar it is already enacted by the member states. Member states were obliged to implement the Directive by the 22nd December 2002. [back]