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Global Copyright

Global Copyright

Three Hundred Years Since the Statute of Anne, from 1709 to Cyberspace

Edited by Lionel Bently, Uma Suthersanen and Paul Torremans

This innovative book celebrates the tri-centenary of modern copyright, which began with the enactment of the Statute of Anne by the British Parliament in 1709, and was soon followed by other copyright legislation abroad. The Statute of Anne is traditionally claimed to be the world’s first copyright statute, and is thus viewed as the origin of a system of national laws that today exists in virtually all countries of the world. However, this book illustrates that while there is some truth in this claim, it is also important to treat it with caution.

Chapter 22: Introduction to Part III

Paul Torremans

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law


Paul Torremans* Modern copyright, that developed from the Statute of Anne onwards, is essentially territorial in nature and based on national law. This should not surprise. In those days copyright works were exploited on a national basis and very few copies of works were traded internationally. Only single copy works such as sculptures and paintings crossed borders, but books were printed and exploited on a country by country basis. One (copy-)right per country, based on national law, and coupled with national treatment was therefore a very acceptable model. 1 (INTERNATIONAL) EXHAUSTION That economic reality has changed. More and more copies of books, CDs, DVDs, and so on are manufactured in one place and exploited globally, across borders. Does it then still make sense to argue that an imported copy, sold abroad by the right holder, is an infringing copy? This is where exhaustion arises. In fact the oldest case in which the exhaustion doctrine was applied was a case relating to records. In Deutsche Grammophon v. Metro1 the Court was faced with the following issue. Deutsche Grammophon sold the same records in Germany and in France, but its French subsidiary, Polydor, could only charge a lower price due to market conditions. Metro bought the records in France for resale in Germany at a price below the price Deutsche Grammophon charged. Deutsche Grammophon invoked its copyright in the records to stop this practice. The European Court of Justice ruled that Deutsche Grammophon had exhausted its copyright in the records by...

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