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This series examines how the law of copyright developed as an instrument of political control and individual expression. The first volume discusses how proprietary notions increasingly dominated copyright legal principles, with consequences for information dissemination in modern times.
It covers the period to 1850, and begins with extracts from Roman law and early Christian and medieval teaching on ownership. The second volume reproduces writings of figures as diverse as Karl Marx, Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain, and bodies such as the US Congress. Extracted material charts the development of an international system of copyright regulation, and the growth, in the 20th century, of copyright industries benefitting from new copyright laws.
The third and final volume shows how, since 1950, the growth of copyright regulation has followed, and enabled, the extraordinary economic growth of the entertainment, broadcasting, software and communications industries. The articles focus principally on the digital age, examining how copyright regulation is likely to affect goals of dissemination and access.