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Copyright laws in the US as compared to the European Union

Compare and contrast the copyright laws of the United States to the copyright laws of the European Union. What are moral rights and how are such rights protected? What copyright laws apply in the US; in the EU? How does the Berne Convention protect intellectual property rights?

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QUESTION: Compare and contrast the copyright laws of the United States to the copyright laws of the European Union. What are moral rights and how are such rights protected? What copyright laws apply in the US; in the EU? How does the Berne Convention protect intellectual property rights?

RESPONSE: Thanks for the opportunity to assist - never stop learning! Below is the response to your question and I have included an attachment formatted with footnotes. Finally, a list of resources has been provided for ease of reference.

In the United States (US), copyright is a form of intellectual property (creation of the mind) protected per federal law, the 1976 Copyright Act (17 USC 101 et seq.). In Europe, "Directives" of the European Union (EU) seek to unify copyright law, to a certain extent, amongst the member nations of the EU; however, protection of "moral rights" remains with each individual EU member.

Two differences between US and EU copyright law are "moral rights" (personal and reputational rights) and "work-made-for-hire" - addressed in more detail below.

US Copyright Law: The 1909 Copyright Act did not allow for divisibility of copyright. Subsequently, "the 1976 Act rejected the doctrine of indivisibility, recasting the copyright as a bundle of discrete 'exclusive rights,' each of which 'may be transferred...and owned separately." Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act provides "...the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following...." (emphasis added): to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords; to prepare derivative works; to distribute copies or phonorecords of the work; to perform the work publicly; to display the copyrighted work publicly; and with sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission" - the "bundle of rights."

Copyright extends to authors of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, pantomimes and choreographic works, pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works, motion pictures and other audiovisual works. The original author can completely transfer copyright to another, extinguishing the author's rights in the work. A work is copyright protected when fixed in a tangible form of expression.

Subdividing the "bundle of rights" promotes the use of licensing agreements for creating profitable assets out of intellectual property. "The exclusive rights granted to a copyright owner can be subdivided and transferred to numerous individuals and organizations." Advances in technology have created new mediums and new markets in ...

Solution Summary

This solution compares and contrasts copyright laws of the United States (US) with copyright laws of the European Union (EU); and briefly discusses the applicability of the Berne Convention to the protection of intellectual property rights.

In the US, copyright is a form of intellectual property protected per the 1976 Copyright Act. In the EU, "Directives" seek to unify copyright law, to a certain extent, amongst the member nations.

Many European countries follow an "author's rights" system as opposed to the copyright system of the US, which focuses more on economic rights. Two differences between US and EU copyright law are "moral rights" and "work-made-for-hire". The (European) "author's rights" system separates the rights of the author into economic rights and "moral rights." And, some EU members recognize the ability for a legal person to own copyright, while others do not.

Member nations/signatories to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works must meet a minimum level of protection; however, each member nation may implement the Berne Convention in their own way(s).

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