This webinar brings together legal scholars from National Chengchi University (Taiwan), King’s College London and Bournemouth University (UK) and will focus on flexible copyright exceptions from the perspective of civil law jurisdictions, with a particular focus on Japan, Taiwan and Europe. Join us on 13 February 2023, 11:00-12:30 CET.
Copyright limitations and exceptions play a defining role in supporting innovation and scientific progress. Broadly speaking, there are two approaches: One is to set broad principles which can be applied by users (and courts if necessary) in existing as well as new situations. The other is to define exceptions narrowly, only allowing users to undertake specific pre-defined tasks.
Nowadays, we tend to associate the civil law systems that dominate in Europe with this latter category. But in fact, traditionally, they have been characterised as codifying broad and flexible principles into law, giving courts much leeway in their interpretation. It is only over the 20th century, as copyright law has been frequently updated, and the European Union has sought to bring some unity to diverse legal traditions, that much of this openness and flexibility has been lost. Ironically, now it is sometimes even said that open norms are alien to civil law traditions.
Such an inflexible approach to law making in Europe where narrowly defined exceptions are the norm, however brings with it important and substantive issues. It is a matter of fact that copyright lawmaking cannot keep up with the pace of technological change, and therefore a lack of flexibility acts to chill innovation and scientific progress.
Governments around the world are increasingly realising that open flexible exceptions are a better means for achieving economic growth and meeting their numerous public policy goals.
Given Europe’s heritage, what scope is there to return to a more flexible, pro-innovation model today, and what lessons can we learn from elsewhere?