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Fiona Macmillan

Critical engagement with copyright law has exposed its uncertain and compromised relationship with a range of concepts that inform its justificatory discourse. This engagement addresses, in varying ways and degrees, the mismatch between concepts and conditions of creativity and cultural production, on the one hand, and their mutant second life according to copyright law, on the other. The emergence of a literature on the political economy of copyright, in particular, has exposed the way in which the romantic discourse of copyright has been corrupted by its engagement with the capitalist system. At the same time and running parallel to these debates, copyright as a legal construct has been appropriated into substantial engagements with other legal constructs and regimes. This engagement, precisely because it calls – in often contradictory ways – on particular aspects of the copyright legal regime, provides fertile empirical ground on which to reflect on the debates over the meaning of copyright’s life and work. In the light of the critical literature on the copyright concept, this contribution considers the relationship of the copyright regime with the regimes of international trade, cultural rights and cultural heritage.

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Fiona Macmillan

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Fiona Macmillan

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Fiona Macmillan

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Fiona Macmillan

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Fiona Macmillan

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Fiona Macmillan

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Fiona Macmillan

Investigating the proposition that copyright should be understood as a speech right and focusing on its character as a property and investment right, the chapter considers what role freedom of speech principles should play in copyright law. The contribution examines the values of free speech in the general context of the division between public and private, and in the specific context of copyright restrictions on speech. In the second part, it attempts to pursue and analyse the distinction between limitations on freedom of speech that might be said to relate to public matters and those that appear to fall within some type of private domain. Eventually, the last part inverts this analysis, considering the social value of copyright and its relationship of the values to free speech.