Digital Media Project
A research initiative of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School
White Paper International Supplement (2005)


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This Supplement to the foundational White Paper, Copyright and Digital Media in a Post-Napster World, which examines the transition from analog/offline to digital/online media from a U.S. legal and market perspective, focuses on international legal issues. The Supplement, authored by Berkman Fellow Urs Gasser, considers developments regarding copyright and related rights in Europe and Asia/Pacific (including Australia) against the backdrop of earlier studies by the Berkman Centerís Digital Media Project that reviewed the interplay of law, technology, and the business ecosystem.


Summary of Contents

Part One briefly discusses the basic international copyright framework and provides an overview of three sets of important copyright agreements: The Berne Convention, Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties.

Part Two discusses the copyright framework in Europe as established by the European Copyright Directive and other European Union (EU) legislation. In this context, the Supplement explores legislative and regulatory developments at the level of both the EU itself and its member states. A selection of cases from European countries illustrates the current state of "digital media law in action."

Part Three reviews legislative and regulatory developments in the Asia/Pacific region and provides brief descriptions of the copyright laws in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Japan, and South Korea. It examines the impact of the international copyright treaties discussed in Part One. This section also provides an overview of actions taken against file-sharing Web sites and peer-to-peer (P2P) services in selected countries in the Asia/Pacific region.

Part Four summarizes the legal campaign against online piracy, provides information about legal actions taken against individual file-sharers, and briefly outlines current attempts to fight online piracy in coordinated operations across the world.

Part Five offers some conclusions about how the legal landscape is evolving in response to the challenges and opportunities posed by digital media.

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