Copyright History in the Advocate’s Arsenal

Barbara Lauriat*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Historical arguments about copyright law have been employed in copyright debates for hundreds of years, often to support normative positions with regard to the nature and purpose of copyright. This piece explores some of the ways in which copyright history has been used in arguments about copyright law throughout its history. It identifies three areas of debate where aspects of copyright history are repeatedly cited to support fundamental claims about the nature and purpose of copyright: first, the relative newness of copyright protection as a legal and cultural concept; second, the issue of whether there was ever copyright at common law; and third, the original purpose(s) and beneficiaries of copyright legislation. Examining the ways in which arguments from copyright history have been made in the past can help us to critically analyse the persuasiveness and relevance of historical arguments about copyright that are made today.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on the History of Copyright Law
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781783472406
ISBN (Print)978 1 78347 239 0
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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