Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



This article offers an overview of copyright in general in common law and civil law countries, with an emphasis on the U.S. and the European Union. It addresses the history and philosophies of copyright (authors’ right), subject matter of copyright (including the requirement of fixation and the exclusion of “ideas”), formalities, initial ownership and transfers of title, duration, exclusive moral and economic rights (including reproduction, adaptation, public performance and communication and making available to the public, distribution and exhaustion of the distribution right), exceptions and limitations (including fair use), and remedies. The article also covers the liability of intermediaries, and new copyright obligations concerning technological protections and copyright management information. It concludes with some observations concerning the role of copyright in promoting creativity and free expression.


Intellectual Property Law | Law