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The UK implementation of the EU Copyright Directive

> Introduction
> Draft UK Government proposals
> Analysis
> Consultation Responses
> EUCD text
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The UK Government is in the process of implementing the Directive, which came into force in June 2001 and was supposed to be introduced into national law in EU member states by 22 December 2002. The UK Government will do this by means of a statutory instrument making changes to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, which, with subsequent amendments, is the main UK primary legislation for intellectual property.

The directive follows heavy lobbying by the film, television and record industries and similar bodies, who are concerned about the effect of digital technologies on their ability to profit from intellectual property rights. Critics argue that we are in danger of going too far and that there is a threat to traditional rights and exemptions.

Will the draft UK legislation properly balance the incentives given to content creators through copyright, with the benefits to society of the free exchange of information? What effect will criminalising "circumvention technologies" have on computer and Internet security? Is there proper provision for those with legitimate reason to make copies of digital works or will they be unfairly criminalised?

The USA has already implemented similar legislation in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In practice the DMCA has been abused for anticompetitive purposes, and there is a serious concern that giving too-solid legal protection to Digital Rights Management mechanisms will simply lead to similar abuse here, in conflict with other legitimate public policy objectives.

It is important to note that the debate is not about the merits or otherwise of the EU Directive, which has already passed into law. The questions are about the way in which the UK Government is proposing to interpret the Directive and whether it should implement certain "opt outs" that were provided for in the Directive but which do not appear in the draft text for the statutory instrument.

You can read FIPR's consultation response or browse other responses of which we are aware here.

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