By Berndt Hugenholtz (also Published in the European Intellectual Property Review)
‘This is a breakthrough in what is a vitally important dossier’, said Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein directly after the Council of Ministers finally reached political agreement on the Copyright Directive. A breakthrough, indeed. The initial proposal of a directive was tabled in December 1997 – light years ago on the Internet time scale. Since then we’ve seen a package of 58 amendments proposed by the European Parliament in first reading, an amended Commission proposal, and huge stacks of ‘non-papers’ and other ‘restricted’ fare discussed in endless secret rounds by the Council Working Group in Brussels.