Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Andrej Savin and Jan Trzaskowski
Chapter 4: Copyright law: an ancient history, a contemporary challenge
While the idea of making copyright law a part of our history finds more and more supporters, the history of copyright law itself appears to play a major role in contemporary copyright regulation since many of the concepts on which copyright law is based are rooted in past evolutions. In the process of establishing modern copyright law, the influence of technological changes appears to be an intrinsic element of the regulation of copyright law. Indeed, rather than being external to copyright law, technology forms an integral part of the very fabric of law. A dialectic relationship between copyright law and technology is generally accepted. Technology poses new challenges to copyright law, while copyright law tends to react initially by resisting and subsequently by embracing the new ways of exploiting copyrighted works which are developed by new technologies. Conversely, copyright law shapes technology by influencing the emergence of certain new technologies and their design and architecture.Modern copyright regulation is rooted in the principle of the gradual expansion of copyright protection, to include both new categories of works of mind and new techniques of producing copies and of disseminating works. More specifically, the conceptual evolution of copyright law has often taken the form of a reaction to new technological challenges. As a result, it is centred on the gradual enlargement of protection in its various aspects: the subject matter, the content of rights, copyright duration.
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