| 21.01.2020

Doctoral thesis: EU Court needs a coherent approach to fundamental rights on copyright

As a result of extensive harmonization efforts in the area of copyright law in the EU, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) plays an important role in defining the boundaries of the scope of protection offered to authors and holders of related rights.

Fundamental rights are important in this process. However, the Court’s decision-making in this regard is opaque, not always coherent and often unpredictable.

In his thesis, Daniël Jongsma makes several recommendations for a new approach to the use of fundamental rights arguments in EU copyright adjudication.

"I have analysed both the CJEU’s interpretation of copyright norms generally and its use of fundamental rights arguments specifically. I found that the CJEU frequently implicitly strives to find a “balance” between the interest of right holders in an “appropriate reward” and other rights and interests, such as the right to freedom of expression, but this approach is often clouded by confusing rhetoric that obscures the true reasons for the CJEU’s decision-making", says Jongsma.

Even where it is more explicitly emphasized the need for copyright law to preserve a “fair balance of rights and interest”, the meaning and content of this concept is left unclear.

In order to increase the coherency of its decision-making, Jongsma recommends that the CJEU should more explicitly and more consistently focus on copyright’s purpose to provide right holders with an appropriate reward.

"To give full effect to fundamental rights, limitations and exceptions to the rights of right holders must as a rule be construed broadly, says Jongsma. Moreover, remedies should be applied flexibly in a way that recognizes their potential limiting effect on fundamental rights but that respects the legislative prerogative to determine the boundaries between exclusivity, remuneration, and free use", he adds.

You can read the whole thesis here.

Doctoral defence:
Time: 24 January 2020 at 12 p.m.
Venue: Futurum, Hanken, Arkadiagatan 22, Helsinki
Opponent: Jonathan Griffiths - Queen Mary, University of London
Chair: Professor Niklas Bruun

More information:

Daniël Jongsma