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


Socio-economic research creates intellectual property and is itself based on intellectual property. The rules concerning intellectual property rights should always be kept in mind when conducting any kind of socio-economic research.

These guidelines should enable those concerned with socio-economic research to take an overview of the rights at stake, and how to take them into account. By identifying possibly protected material as the source or result of any particular research activity, a researcher should be able to determine whether or not questions of intellectual property are involved.

These principles are governed by EU and Member States legislation. A researcher who works within the limits of legislation will therefore show full respect for intellectual property. These guidelines are meant to enable researchers to respect intellectual property, and are therefore based on these regulations. It is by no means an exhaustive list of all legal aspects to be considered in a particular case.

The guidelines are particularly subject to the following limitations:

  • Where possible, the guidelines are based, above all, on the EU Directive harmonising copyright, but due to the incomplete implementation in the Member States and limited scope of harmonising EU-legislation, it mostly had to be based on the variety of national provisions, especially regarding copyright before implementation.

  • Because of this legislative delay and limited scope, disparities between Member States still govern intellectual property, especially copyright, therefore the guidelines focus on basic principles and describe key concepts and common standards; where possible, short outlines of the variety of national provisions are given. More details have been added in a Survey of National Provisions in the Appendix.

  • The practices of courts in all Member States have not been the subject of these guidelines. A respective survey might be a useful result of a future project, once implementation of the Copyright Directive is finished.

  • Only the present EU Member States are covered by the guidelines and the task of this project; nevertheless footnotes allow a side-glance regarding US legislation and a Survey of national provisions regarding the ten Accession States are included in the guideline and Appendix as well as the respective links.

  • National legislation has been considered insofar as the English versions were published and available to the project by October 2003. More recent alterations will be taken into consideration as far as possible for the online version of these guidelines.

  • The guidelines are focussed on the question of how socio-economic research should be carried out with regard to copyright and other intellectual property questions. Information has therefore been standardised and simplified for the benefit of practical use.

  • The guidelines are meant to give an outline of the rights at stake and the principles governing the variety of intellectual property relations within socio-economic research. They cannot replace the advice of legal experts in a particular case and in each Member State.