|Maria Martin-Prat delivered the 2014 Horace S. Manges Lecture.|
“My view is that careful review of copyright law is needed to maintain the legitimacy of the system, and it must be done on a European rather than national level,” Martin-Prat said. “For instance, protection of software is partially based in various directives across layers of statutory authority and different laws over 20 years, so there is much uncertainty and inconsistency.”
Martin-Prat, who previously served in various senior positions in the European Commission and European Parliament as well as working as deputy general counsel and director of legal policy and regulatory affairs for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, argued that member states’ diverse copyright statutes interfere with procuring compensation for content creators and that ongoing harmonization of laws provide an opportunity for reform.
“Member states are locked into the harmonization process of the last two decades, which aims to eliminate legislative differences that might interfere with optimal functioning of the common market,” Martin-Prat said. “We must strike a fair balance between producers of media and consumers of media.”
|Professor Jane C. Ginsburg, faculty director of the Kernochan Center, introduced Martin-Prat.|
“Social media sharing and peer-to-peer have strained fundamental notions of ownership and copies,” Martin-Prat said. “The more technology accelerates, the less copyright law should depend on technology-bound concepts.”
Martin-Prat concluded that, whatever the potential benefits, it may prove difficult to replace the laws of some 28 individual states with a single European code.
“It’s not going to be simple to do away with territoriality,” Martin-Prat said, “but we should try.”