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Jewish copyright law is a rich body of copyright doctrine and jurisprudence that developed in parallel with Anglo-American and Continental European copyright laws and the printers' privileges that preceded them.
Jewish copyright law traces its origins to a dispute adjudicated in 1550, over 150 years before modern copyright law is typically said to have emerged with the Statute of Anne of 1709. It continues to be applied today, notably in a rabbinic ruling outlawing pirated software, issued at Microsoft's request.
In From Maimonides to Microsoft, Professors Netanel and Nimmer trace the development of Jewish copyright law by relaying the stories of five dramatic disputes, running from the sixteenth century to the present. They describe each dispute in its historical context and examine the rabbinic rulings that sought to resolve it.
Remarkably, these disputes address some of the same issues that animate copyright jurisprudence today: Is copyright a property right or a limited regulatory prerogative? What is copyright's rationale? What is its scope? How can copyright be enforced against an infringer who is beyond the applicable legal authority's reach? This book introduces copyright scholars, students, and practitioners to an entirely new narrative and body of copyright jurisprudence.
Presenting new material regarding the operation of the Jewish book trade and some of the leading disputes affecting it, Professors Netanel and Nimmer examine how copyright disputes arose from their respective historical contexts and, in turn, reverberated through Jewish life.
From Maimonides to Microsoft examines how one area of Jewish law has developed in historical context and how Jewish copyright law compares with its Anglo-American and Continental European counterparts.