Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Isabella Alexander and H. Tomás Gómez-Arostegui
Chapter 15: El Salvador and the internationalisation of copyright
No history of copyright can ignore the role of El Salvador as a political experiment in the internationalisation of copyright. El Salvador served as a crucial test in the attempt to bring Latin America into the international realm. Moreover, El Salvador was used as a catalyst to trigger international copyright. Ironically, its role as a conduit for internationalisation was played while lacking any domestic copyright law whatsoever. In attempting to construct this history, the chapter focuses on the mediating figure of the Salvadorian diplomat, the Colombian émigré and former Venezuelan representative José Mar'a Torres Caicedo (1830–1889). Torres Caicedo took part in most of the copyright-related discussions held in the late 1870s and the beginning of the 1880s. He negotiated bilateral agreements and circulated drafts for multilateral treaties. He intervened at informal gatherings and cocktails, congresses and expositions. Above all, he became the president of the most important copyright association at the time, the Association Littéraire et Artistique Internationale (ALAI), which he chaired from 1880 to 1885. Torres Caicedo’s biography shows us a life full of repetitive episodes, a life of consistent ministerial acts and appearances. With his pencil-thin moustache, with his small, nervous body, there he was, always quoted in the relevant publications; he seemed to be everywhere. He appeared publicly and corresponded privately. His interventions were recorded in the minutes of innumerable meetings.
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