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The book discusses the proposition that copyright is a just and proper concept, established and developed in the public interest, and explores the extent to which the notion of the public interest has influenced the copyright laws of a few major jurisdictions, namely, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The proposition that copyright is in the public interest has been taken for granted in the past but, in recent years, it has been questioned in the context of the challenges to the copyright system posed by technical developments. In this debate, the underlying philosophy of copyright and its basic functions have been called into question and the public interest has been invoked, in favour of free and unfettered access by the public to copyright works. By examining the underlying principles which have governed the copyright system from its origins, this book makes a timely and useful contribution to the ongoing debate on the relationship between copyright law and the public interest.