Balancing the Protection of Authorship and Individual Freedom - Establishing Copyright Infringement under European Law

Image may contain: Typewriter, Office equipment, Office supplies, Space bar.

By Markus Winkler on Unsplash.

About the Project

The topic of the project is the test for determining copyright infringement - one of the core issues in copyright law. The infringement test is essential for the enforcement of copyright, and hence for preservation of its value. However, the legal test for copyright infringement is an area that has received insufficient attention in legal research – although the topic is covered in general presentations on copyright, there is a lack of in-depth research devoted to this particular and fundamental topic.

The project, as any analysis of copyright law, must be approached from a pan-European perspective, since copyright law is harmonised through a variety of legislation. The infringement test itself is harmonised indirectly, through general principles and guidelines.

In addition to its economic and broader societal importance, copyright law also has human rights aspects that warrant consideration. Firstly, copyright is protected as a fundamental right to property through international conventions and treaties, such as the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFR) and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Secondly, as copyright may restrict the fundamental freedoms and rights of others, a tension between opposing fundamental rights may arise. Such rights and freedoms include the freedom of expression, artistic freedom and the freedom to conduct a business. The balancing of copyright against other fundamental rights and freedoms, and the effect this has on the infringement assessment, will be explored.

The primary objective of this project is to develop the current understanding of the law on copyright infringement, and to map out the boundaries of the court’s discretion (de lege lata and de sententia ferenda) in this regard. This approach will entail an analysis of the topic from a holistic perspective, including consideration of the protection of human rights. Further, a comparative perspective will be employed, to shed light on potential inconsistencies and tensions between different parts of the legal system, and also between various European jurisdictions. The results may contribute to the development of case law and legislation on a Norwegian and European level, in an area of copyright law that has not yet been the primary subject of harmonisation or legislative initiatives. The analysis may also contribute to the balancing of fundamental rights in other areas of law.


The PhD will be delivered autumn 2024. 


University of Oslo.

Published Aug. 21, 2020 2:14 PM - Last modified Aug. 24, 2020 8:17 AM