Les Formalités Sont Mortes, Vive Les Formalités! Copyright Formalities and the Reasons for Their Decline in Nineteenth Century Europe
PRIVILEGE AND PROPERTY: ESSAYS ON THE HISTORY OF COPYRIGHT, R. Deazley, M. Kretschmer & L. Bently, eds., p. 157, Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2010
52 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2010
Date Written: September 2, 2010
Modern copyright law is based on the premise that copyright originates from original authorship and exists independently from formalities. This was different in the past, when copyright law was fully occupied with formalities. While the history of copyright formalities in the US has been well documented, the history of copyright formalities in Europe has been largely underexposed.
This paper examines the development of copyright formalities against the background of the upcoming national rights thinking and some conceptual innovations in copyright law in nineteenth century Europe (France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK). Among other things, this paper concludes that, from a historical perspective, formalities are not as incompatible with the natural rights view as is commonly believed. This may cast new light on the possible reintroduction of copyright formalities, which is increasingly called for in the current digital era.
Keywords: copyright law, formalities, copyright history, Europe, natural rights
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