Caterina Sganga: Propertizing European Copyright History, Challenges and Opportunities

March 6, 2018

Caterina Sganga, associate professor in the Department of Legal Studies at CEU, has recently intervened in the debate on the construction and development of EU copyright law with her new book “Propertizing European Copyright. History, Challenges and Opportunities,” published by Edward Elgar.

With an acceleration in the last decades, the language of property, piracy and theft has become mainstream in copyright matters. Scholars have argued that this latent propertization has progressively led to the undue expansion of copyright and an enclosure of knowledge, causing clashes with users’ fundamental rights and EU social and cultural policies. Challenging the validity of such critiques, Propertizing European Copyright demonstrates that these distortive effects are only the result of mishandled property rhetoric and that a commitment to copyright propertization could enable a more internally consistent and balanced development of EU copyright law.

 To prove the point, the book provides a comprehensive analysis of causes and effects of propertization in copyright history, comparing the impact of private and constitutional property doctrines in selected national experiences with the unsystematic propertization of EU copyright. The author argues for a systemization of EU copyright law, and provides practical examples of how propertization could help tackling the pitfalls of the harmonization process, achieving a greater interpretative coherence and a more stable copyright balance.

 Academics and policy makers engaged in the debate on EU copyright harmonization will find the multidisciplinary approach employed in this work compelling. Judges, practitioners and graduate students interested in deepening their knowledge of the construction of EU copyright will also find in this book an all-encompassing resource, rich in practical and theoretical insight.

A 35% discount code to purchase the book is available until March 31 upon request to the author.

 Critical Acclaim: 

‘A lot has been written about the harmonisation of EU copyright law, but this study offers a fundamental analysis by going back to the concept of the propertization of copyright. The current EU framework turns out to be inconsistent and based on hybrid narratives. Through a comparative analysis of national copyright regimes a proper constitutional propertization is proposed, with a key role for the social function doctrine. This study is a vital contribution to the understanding of copyright law.’

– Paul Torremans, The University of Nottingham, UK


‘This book offers a fresh perspective into copyright law and questions the approach to copyright as a property right alone. It explores how the propertization of copyright has affected the law using civil and comparative law tools. The author forces us to take one step back and reconsider what the origins of copyright are, where we currently stand and what our future aims should be. A thought-provoking yet highly practical piece of work which takes a holistic approach to EU copyright.’

– Irini Stamatoudi, Director, Hellenic Copyright Organization, Greece