Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Joshua D. Sarnoff
Chapter 18: The role of copyright in the protection of the environment and the fight against climate change: is the current copyright system adequate?
At first sight it may not seem like copyright plays a significant role in the fight against climate change or the protection of the environment in general. But in many ways, it does and (perhaps surprisingly) with quite some importance. Indeed copyright works can be extremely varied. Literary and artistic works of various kinds as well as audio-visual works and films are subject to copyright. In the environmental field, copyrighted works can range from eco-friendly architectural plans and buildings, literature, charts, diagrams, maps and photographs, to films about the weather, climate, and the size of glaciers, to software and databases used for forecasting or analysis of weather, climate, temperature patterns, changes in fauna and flora and drought control. These copyrightable works are created either by private entities or by the state, in the latter case either exclusively or in competition with private entities. An important question is whether the normal copyright regime (namely full exclusivity) should be retained for copyright works containing information or original expressions on the environment in general or on climate in specific.
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