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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Goode on Commercial Law

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The Copyright Wars: Three Centuries of Trans-Atlantic Battle

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ISBN13: 9780691161822
Published: September 2014
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Hardback
Price: £24.95

Today's copyright wars can seem unprecedented. Sparked by the digital revolution that has made copyright--and its violation--a part of everyday life, fights over intellectual property have pitted creators, Hollywood, and governments against consumers, pirates, Silicon Valley, and open-access advocates. But while the digital generation can be forgiven for thinking the dispute between, for example, the publishing industry and Google is completely new, the copyright wars in fact stretch back three centuries--and their history is essential to understanding today's battles.

The Copyright Wars--the first major trans-Atlantic history of copyright from its origins to today--tells this important story. Peter Baldwin explains why the copyright wars have always been driven by a fundamental tension. Should copyright assure authors and rights holders lasting claims, much like conventional property rights, as in Continental Europe? Or should copyright be primarily concerned with giving consumers cheap and easy access to a shared culture, as in Britain and America? The Copyright Wars describes how the Continental approach triumphed, dramatically increasing the claims of rights holders. The book also tells the widely forgotten story of how America went from being a leading copyright opponent and pirate in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to become the world's intellectual property policeman in the late twentieth. As it became a net cultural exporter and its content industries saw their advantage in the Continental ideology of strong authors' rights, the United States reversed position on copyright, weakening its commitment to the ideal of universal enlightenment--a history that reveals that today's open-access advocates are heirs of a venerable American tradition.

Compelling and wide-ranging, The Copyright Wars is indispensable for understanding a crucial economic, cultural, and political conflict that has reignited in our own time.

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Intellectual Property Law
Introduction: The Agon of Author and Audience 1
1. The Battle between Anglo-American Copyright and European Authors' Rights 14
2. From Royal Privilege to Literary Property: A Common Start to Copyright in the Eighteenth Century 53
3. The Ways Part: Copyright and Authors' Rights in the Nineteenth Century 82
4. Continental Drift: Europe Moves from Property to Personality at the Turn of the Century 126
5. The Strange Birth of Moral Rights in Fascist Europe 163
6. The Postwar Apotheosis of Authors' Rights 199
7. America Turns European: The Battle of the Booksellers Redux in the 1990s 262
8. The Rise of the Digital Public: The Copyright Wars Continue in the New Millennium 318
Conclusion: Reclaiming the Spirit of Copyright 383
Acknowledgments 411
Notes 413
Index 513