Lobbying and lawmaking in the European Union: the development of copyright law and the rejection of the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement

Benjamin Farrand

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The purpose of this article is to examine the issue of ‘lobbying’ in the EU legislative process, using an interdisciplinary analysis of the development of copyright laws as a way of explaining why some lobbyists are more successful than others in having their preferences taken into account in legislation, and how this success is achieved. As this article will demonstrate, the keys to successful lobbying in this field are information exchange, the ability to frame issues at an early stage in the legislative process (agenda setting), and the political salience of an issue. By assessing not only where legislative initiatives in copyright reform have been successful, such as the passing of the Information Society, Enforcement and Term Extension Directives, but also where legislative initiatives fail, as in the case of ACTA, it will be demonstrated that legislative success is not a simple case of ‘big business getting what it wants’, but of varying levels of political salience. Where the salience of an issue is low and voters consider that issue comparatively unimportant to other issues, industry representatives are able to effectively frame legislative outcomes. Where salience is high, and an issue important to voters, this ability is substantially reduced. By approaching copyright law development in this way, it is possible to reconceptualise the role of lobbying in the EU legislative process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalOxford Journal of Legal Studies
Early online date20 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • copyright
  • EU Law
  • legislative process
  • political theory
  • salience

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