European Union Copyright Directive

What Does European Union Copyright Directive Mean?

The European Union Copyright Directive (EUCD) is a controversial European directive that evolved out of the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT). Because the EUCD provides full copyright ownership rights, little exception is provided for anti-circumvention, unlike U.S. copyright legislation.


Officially known as the European Union’s Directive 2001/29/EC, EUCD is also known as the Information Society Directive or InfoSoc Directive.

Techopedia Explains European Union Copyright Directive

EUCD was established June 22, 2001 by the European Parliament and Council of the European Union (EU). The directive, geared toward harmonizing diverse European copyright approaches, was created to implement WCT and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT).

Because EUCD makes no exceptions for anti-circumvention applications, the use of potentially relevant digital media is prohibited in European colleges and universities. While member states may apply for copyright permission, they are limited by EUCD regulations.

Implementing EUCD has been universally challenging, due to technology’s varying interpretations, implementations and provisions, such as digital watermarking and encryption. However, businesses – such as movie studios, record labels and software manufacturers – are generally in favor of EUCD’s stringent copyright stipulations.

Today, EU members remain at odds over EUCD. Thus, the directive and related legislation are under constant review by the European courts.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…