Copyright and the Challenge of the New (Information Law)

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9789041136695: Copyright and the Challenge of the New (Information Law)
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Copyright is not, as is often thought, something that is periodically extended to cover a new field or medium; rather, copyright redefines itself whenever its efficacy is challenged. While many factors have contributed to this process, the most consistent has been the challenges created by new technologies. The contributing authors build upon this insight to show that copyright law is, and has always been, a creature of technology. Each chapter focuses on a specific technology or group of technologies photography, telegraphy, the phonogram, radio, film, the photocopier, the tape player, television, and computer programs emphasizing the changes that each technology instigated and the challenges and opportunities it created.

Perhaps the most profound insight of this extraordinary book is the authors claim ably supported in a series of intriguing chapters that the way the law responds and reacts to new technologies is always mediated by the political, social, economic, and cultural environment in which the interaction occurs. For example, these chapters describe and explain how:

  • statutory schemes of remuneration arose from failures to effectively police new forms of piracy;
  • persistent litigation and lobbying by copyright owners forces legislatures and courts to devise new laws;
  • content (e.g., sporting events) generates new rules of access to broadcasts; and
  • fair copying (e.g., by libraries) is the necessary exception that proves the rule.

As well as providing insight into the ways that copyright law interacted with old technologies when they were new, the book also offers important insights into problems and issues currently confronting copyright law and policy such as the appropriate scope of copyright and the relation between copyright and the public interest. With the broad perspectives opened by these essays, academics, practitioners and policymakers in the field will find themselves well equipped to deal with the problems that will inevitably be created by technologies in the future.

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