The Individual as Transformer

John Tehranian

in Infringement Nation

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199733170
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894567 | DOI:
The Individual as Transformer

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This chapter examines the role of the individual as transformer of copyrighted works and the relationship of this role to the key goals of the copyright regime in the United States: encouraging creative output and advancing progress in the arts. It explores the history and purpose of copyright law, charting the evolution of its jurisprudence. Casting an eye toward the policy goals of the copyright system, the chapter examines the genesis of authorial protection, beginning with the source of all Anglo–American copyright law (England's Statute of Anne) and going through the early colonial copyright statutes, the Constitution's Copyright Clause, and the federal government's Copyright Act of 1790. It shows that the early debates over copyright law pitted two distinctly different visions of intellectual property rights against one another. On one hand, advocates of a natural-rights vision of copyright believed creators have an inherent property interest in the fruits of their intellectual efforts. By contrast, advocates of a utilitarian view reluctantly accepted the copyright monopoly to the extent it provided individuals with the necessary economic incentives to promote the production and dissemination of creative works. An analysis of the historical record indicates that the United States copyright regime squarely rejected the notion of natural rights and embraced a utilitarian copyright law that balanced the interests of creators and users of works by limiting the property right in both scope and duration and focusing on the system's role in encouraging the dissemination of knowledge.

Keywords: copyright law; copyrighted works; copyright regime; intellectual property

Chapter.  18263 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Intellectual Property Law

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