A Short History of Copyright: The Genie of Information
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This book tells the story of how, over centuries, people, society and culture created laws affecting supply of information. In the 21 century, uniform global copyright laws are claimed to be indispensable to the success of entertainment, internet and other information industries. Do copyright laws encourage information flow? Many say that copyright laws limit dissemination, harming society. In the last 300 years, industries armed with copyrights controlled output and distribution. Now the internet’s disruption of economic patterns may radically reshape information regulation. Information freedom, a source of emancipation, may change the world.
Wittenberg, dissenters such as the English Lollards and the Hussites in Bohemia, criticized, without much popular support, some ecclesiastical practices such as the issuing of indulgences. But Luther expressed his protest in print and his polemics were distributed in Europe, and especially Germany, in thousands, then hundreds of thousands, of pamphlets. When he drew to his cause disaffected German princes, he threw Europe into uproar. In the disputatious atmosphere of the north, the intellectual
holder’s work. Licensing usually operated by official grant to a printer, or printers, of the privilege of printing all literature permitted to be distributed in the domain. In 1486, republican Venice granted the first licence, or privilege, for publication of a history of Venice. Six years later, Venice issued new privileges for publication of books and continued to do so thereafter. By the end of the fifteenth century, European authors emerged in numbers. In 1506, the famous Dutch humanist
error, or press forward in rebellion. For Henry, there was no turning back and the Pope excommunicated him in 1533. Though Henry considered himself faithful to his baptism, and disliked the anti-sacramental reform programme of the Protestants, he also insisted on the supremacy of his will. So he set out to create a national church of catholic character but subordinate to the Crown’s authority, and inevitably ran into the problem of persuading much of the clergy, and the population outside London,
inception, of the category of copyright ‘works’. Of equal importance, it vested in authors control over the uses of works. In this way, the Convention text demanded for authors something not previously contemplated in common law countries: exclusive control over every mode of copying, adapting, translating or disseminating any original output in the ‘literary, scientific and artistic domain’. In its own language, the Convention conferred the exclusive right to control output ‘whatever may be the
safe harbor provisions to Napster to sustain the interim relief sought. 114 12 Dissent and P2P comprehension. Fear of reduction—of proprietary rights or of the returns guaranteed by those rights—dominated thinking. It is the reaction of the judiciary, however, that caused the most concern to those who saw P2P and social networks as the harbinger of a new age welcoming to information exchange and the liberal benefits of dissemination. If code is law, courts appeared willing to interpret law