The evolution of copyright policies (1880-2010) : a comparison between Germany, the UK, the US and the international level

Schroff, Simone (2014) The evolution of copyright policies (1880-2010) : a comparison between Germany, the UK, the US and the international level. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The conventional wisdom on the evolution of copyright and what has shaped it has come under increasing strain in recent years. As technical innovation pushes for reforms, the results are increasingly subject to political debate and tension. Examining how copyright has evolved and what has driven the process is of key importance because of the economic importance of copyright to individual countries. In the light of this and to contribute to possible solutions, it is necessary to examine what or who has driven the process. To do this, the evolution of copyright polices has to be mapped in a comparative way.

This thesis examines the evolution of copyright in Germany, the US, the UK and at an international level between 1880 and 2010. The analysis itself is split between the culture and stringency of policies. Culture refers to the overall approach to copyright while stringency covers the scope of protection. This approach is original because it allows for a comparison of copyright systems as neutrally as possible. The results are clearly quantifiable and more importantly the extent of evolutions is directly comparable. Furthermore, the nature of the data ensures that causal forces behind the pattern can be examined.

This methodology will be applied to a number of propositions commonly found in the copyright literature. The focal point here will be on arguments of rising stringency levels over time and the cultural convergence between case studies. For these, the commonly argued causal forces, in particular technological innovation and the influence exercised by individual actors will be examined. The results show that neither the cultural or stringency evolutionary pattern nor the causal factors fully matches previous studies. First, the evolution of stringency levels has been more complex than previously argued. In addition, although there has been some degree of cultural convergence, this has not been caused by technology and even the influence of particular actors has been limited. In both cases, it is clear that the role of copyright exemptions has been under-theorised.

(Data relating to the appendices were submitted as separate files which could not be uploaded to the repository. Please contact the author for more information)

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Law
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2014 13:33
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2014 14:50


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