Abstraction and Registration: Conceptual Innovations and Supply Effects in Prussian and British Copyright (1820-50)

Kawohl, Friedemann and Kretschmer, Martin, “Abstraction and registration: conceptual innovations and supply effects in Prussian and British copyright (1820-50)”, Intellectual Property Quarterly (2003) vol. 2, pp. 209-228

17 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2015

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

It is one of the orthodoxies of modern copyright law that the enjoyment and the exercise of the rights granted "shall not be subject to any formality" (Berne Convention 1886, Berlin revision 1908, Art.4), such as a registration requirement. In this article, we trace the origins of this provision to a conceptual shift that took place during the early 1800s. Specific regulations of the book trade were superseded by the protection of all instantiations (such as performances, translations and adaptations) of abstract authored work. For two seminal copyright acts of the period, the Prussian Act of 1837 and the UK Act of 1842, we show there was considerable concern about the economic implications of this new justificatory paradigm, reflected in a period of experimentation with sophisticated registration requirements. We indicate market responses to these requirements and plea for a reconsideration of "formalities" as redressing justificatory problems of copyright in the digital environment.

Keywords: Copyright; Germany; Legal history; Musical works; Registration

JEL Classification: K00, O30, O34, N83, L82

Suggested Citation

Kawohl, Friedemann and Kretschmer, Martin, Abstraction and Registration: Conceptual Innovations and Supply Effects in Prussian and British Copyright (1820-50) (2003). Kawohl, Friedemann and Kretschmer, Martin, “Abstraction and registration: conceptual innovations and supply effects in Prussian and British copyright (1820-50)”, Intellectual Property Quarterly (2003) vol. 2, pp. 209-228 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2619272

Friedemann Kawohl

Independent ( email )

Martin Kretschmer (Contact Author)

University of Glasgow ( email )

10 The Square
Glasgow, G12 8QQ
United Kingdom

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