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Brussels, 13 July 2005

Copyright: infringement proceedings against France, Finland, Spain and the Czech Republic for non-implementation of 2001 Copyright Directive

The European Commission has taken action against three Member States and initiated informal contact with another to ensure that they implement the 2001 Copyright Directive, which all Member States had agreed to do before 22 December 2002. The Commission has decided, under Article 228 of the EC Treaty, to send France and Finland further “reasoned opinions” requesting them to comply immediately with the previous judgments of the European Court of Justice on their non-implementation of the 2001 Copyright Directive. If the Member States concerned do not comply, the Commission can ultimately ask the Court to impose fines. In addition, the Commission has sent the Czech Republic a letter of formal notice - the first stage of infringement proceedings under Article 226 of the EC Treaty - asking it to provide full information on its implementation of the 2001 Copyright Directive. Finally, the Commission has also sent an informal letter to Spain asking it about how it intends to comply with a previous judgment of the European Court on its non-implementation of the 2001 Copyright Directive.

The 2001 Copyright Directive is an essential plank in updating EU copyright law and providing an adequate level of copyright protection for authors and other right-holders in the digital environment. In this respect, the Copyright Directive requires Member States to provide adequate legal protection against “hacking” or other disabling of that “anti-copying” devices and other equipment used to protect copyright when works are published digitally. It is therefore regrettable that the above Member States have still not implemented its provisions into their domestic laws.

Moreover, the Directive is the instrument by which the European Union and its Member States implement the two 1996 World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) "Internet Treaties" which have adapted copyright protection to digital technology. This makes implementation into national laws all the more urgent.

The latest information on infringement proceedings concerning all Member States is available at:

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