Internationalisation of Copyright Law

As both an IP historian and a self-confessed sceptic concerning the value of IP history in the context of the current range of IP debates, the IPKat was intrigued to see The Internationalisation of Copyright Law: Books, Buccaneers and the Black Flag in the Nineteenth Century, the new book by Cambridge University academic Catherine Seville. This book is number 8 in the Cambridge Intellectual Property and Information Law series, published by CUP.

What the publisher says:

"Technological developments have shaped copyright law's development, and now the prospect of endless, effortless digital copying poses a significant challenge to modern copyright law. Many complain that copyright protection has burgeoned wildly, far beyond its original boundaries. Some have questioned whether copyright can survive the digital age. From a historical perspective, however, many of these 'new' challenges are simply fresh presentations of familiar dilemmas. This book explores the history of international copyright law, and looks at how this history is relevant today. It focuses on international copyright during the nineteenth century, as it affected Europe, the British colonies (particularly Canada), America, and the UK. As we consider the reform of modern copyright law, nineteenth-century experiences offer highly relevant empirical evidence. Copyright law has proved itself robust and flexible over several centuries. If directed with vision, Seville argues, it can negotiate cyberspace.

• The first comprehensive account of nineteenth century literary copyright law with important new material accesible in a single volume

• Shows relevance of historical material for contemporary law makers which will enable readers to engage in the modern debate on copyright in the digital age

• Sets the legal debates in historical context using primary sources".

What the IPKat says:

"For the twenty-first century copyright lawyer, internationalisation of copyright is something we take for granted. Reciprocal protection without the need for formalities is the air we breathe; we write, publish, perform and sell our works in a landscape in which WIPO, WTO and UNESCO are an unchanging backdrop. We also take for granted the tensions between the pressure groups that represent the sometimes concurrent, sometimes conflicting interests of those who create, disseminate and consume copyright-protected works.

If today were Day One of a new order in which we had to start afresh with a new legal order to govern and regulate trade in literary and other copyright works, it is inconceivable that we would create the legal and political institutions on which we rely today. Perhaps it is for this reason that we should be forced to consider how the laws which we have inherited - and the institutions that operate within and outside them - have come into being and have adapted themselves from the saviours of investment in movable type to the regulars of traffic flow on the information highway. It's also salutary to remember how few countries were copyright-sensitive at all in our recent past and how much of copyright's history lies in the hands of the pragmatists and not the legal theorists.

This book is the perfect hors d'ouevres for anyone planning to make a main course of the Ginsburg/Ricketson magnum opus on the Berne Convention. It also confers a contextual crown upon those many agitators for authors' rights who, without the benefit of hindsight, must have felt the burning pain of frustration before the ignorance and indifference of a wider world".

Bibliographic details: xv and 354pages, hardback, ISBN 13 9780521868167 and 10 0521868165). Price £55.00. Rupture factor: insignificant. Online data here
Internationalisation of Copyright Law Internationalisation of Copyright Law Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 Rating: 5

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