Council Directive 93/98/EEC of 29 October 1993 harmonizing the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights is a European Union directive in the field of copyright law, made under the internal market provisions of the Treaty of Rome.
The duration of protection of related rights (those of performers, phonogram and film producers and broadcasting organisations) was set at fifty years with the following rules for calculating the starting date (Art. 3). This fifty year period was in reflexion of the negotiating position of the European Community at the negotiations which led to the Marrakech Agreements, including the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
|Performers||the date of the performance, unless a fixation of the performance is lawfully published or lawfully communicated to the public within this period, in which case the date of the first such publication or the first such communication to the public, whichever is the earlier.|
|Phonogram producers||the date the fixation is made, unless the phonogram is lawfully published or lawfully communicated to the public during this period, in which case the date of the first such publication or the first such communication to the public, whichever is the earlier.|
|Film producers||the date the fixation is made, unless the film is lawfully published or lawfully communicated to the public during this period, in which case the date of the first such publication or the first such communication to the public, whichever is the earlier.|
|Broadcasting organisations||the first transmission of a broadcast, whether this broadcast is transmitted by wire or over the air, including by cable or satellite.|
The effect of the approach was shown by the judgment of the European Court of Justice in the Puccini case, which covered facts arising before the directive entered force. The State of Hesse in Germany had staged the opera La Bohème by Puccini during the 1993/94 season without the permission of the copyright holder. The opera was first published in Italy and Puccini died on 1924-11-29. At the time, Italy applied a copyright period of 56 years pma, so Italian protection had expired at the end of 1980: Germany, however, applied a 70 years pma period to works of German authors and the "rule of the shorter term" (Art. 7.8 Berne Convention) to foreign works. The Court ruled that the application of the rule of the shorter term between Member States was a breach of the principle of non-discrimination enshrined in Article 12 of the Treaty instituting the European Community: hence the work should have been protected in Germany even if it was no longer protected in Italy. Such cases should no longer arise with the implementation of the directive.
Before the directive, different Member States had applied widely different criteria of originality and creativity to the copyright protection of photographs. These were harmonized by article 6, which states that the only permissible criterion for full protection (70 years pma) is that the photograph is "the author's own intellectual creation reflecting his personality". Member States may protect photographs which do not meet this criterion by sui generis related rights.
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