Show Less
You do not have access to this content

Propertizing European Copyright

History, Challenges and Opportunities

Caterina Sganga

With an acceleration in the last decades, the language of property, piracy and theft has become mainstream in copyright matters. Scholars have argued that this latent propertization has progressively led to the undue expansion of copyright and an enclosure of knowledge, causing clashes with users’ fundamental rights and EU social and cultural policies. Challenging the validity of such critiques, Propertizing European Copyright demonstrates that these distortive effects are only the result of mishandled property rhetoric and that a commitment to copyright propertization could enable a more internally consistent and balanced development of EU copyright law.
Show Summary Details
This content is available to you


History, Challenges and Opportunities

Caterina Sganga

This book has a long story. Its embryonal idea was conceived in 2005 during my research stay at the Center for Intellectual Property Policy at McGill University, where I had the luck to work under the guidance of David Lametti. He challenged the original assumptions I had developed so far – that the proprietary qualification of authors’ rights was an execrable dogmatic mistake, responsible for their expansion and over-enforcement – pushing me to look beyond these common preconceptions with the tools of the civil and comparative lawyer. I am grateful to him for being the spark for this research journey.

I would probably never have turned my attention towards IP law without the suggestion of Giovanni Comandé. Back in 2004, as a third-year student with a nascent interest in comparative law, my research passions were as numerous and strong as ephemeral. With patience and dedication, he channelled my energies towards definite goals and taught me the rigorousness of comparative methodologies and the courage of thinking big. He believed in me from the very beginning, supporting me in every key moment from the drafting of my first LLB thesis to the doctoral defence and beyond, with the mix of harshness and empowering attitude of a real academic father, and later of a friend. No acknowledgment will ever be enough to express my gratitude.

I am also deeply thankful to Francesco Donato Busnelli, who instilled in me the passion for systematic analysis and reconstructions, general principles and fundamental theories. In the last 15 years, his model and inspiration played a fundamental role in my personal and professional growth. He patiently listened to all my Pindaric attempts to merge hard-core intellectual property scholarship with civil law dogmas in a comparative perspective, challenging me with objections, while offering me hints that ended up being turning points in my research.

This work greatly benefitted from discussions with Jack Balkin and Lea Shaver during my year as fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. From two different directions they broadened my horizons, added critical perspectives to my thinking, and opened new research paths. At Yale I also had the privilege to share my findings with Aharon Barak, who shaped my views on the horizontal effects of fundamental rights in private law.

The list would not be complete without mentioning Roberto Caso, who provided invaluable comments on earlier drafts of this work and offered me the opportunity to gather additional feedback by inviting me to present its subsequent developments to the Trento LawTech Research Group. I am also thankful to Michele Graziadei, who offered precious suggestions to improve the quality of the work from the angles of property law and comparative law theories.

As this project ran the span of a decade, the number of colleagues and friends I owe my gratitude to is rather long. I would mention them all, were I not afraid of unforgivable omissions. My thoughts go particularly to my ‘famiglia’ in Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna and in the International and Comparative Law Research Laboratory (Lider-Lab), now scattered to the four corners of the globe: those who made me feel at home in Pisa, stood my existential crises, shared with me the happiest memories, tolerated my monologues on copyright propertization, and even agreed to read earlier versions of this work. You know who you are. Among my colleagues and friends at the Central European University in Budapest, special mention and thanks go to Mathias Möschel, whose encouragement and support were key in the last step and year of this research. His comments on the final draft were precious, as much as the laughter we shared as office neighbours. Many thanks also to Giuseppe Martinico for the help he gave me in navigating through the nebulous waters of multi-level European constitutionalism, and to Silvia Scalzini for the useful comments to ensure the consistency of the work.

I am indebted and grateful to my parents and sister for the support, encouragement and unchanged love they have given me over the years, which only got stronger when I moved thousands of kilometres away. They have always stood behind me, hidden their disappointment and sadness when long months passed before I could go to visit them, and have always understood me without any need for explanations.

Last, but first in fact, my deepest gratitude goes to my husband Zsolt and my little daughter Sara, who was born a few days before I signed the publishing contract for this book. With their unyielding, unlimited love they have understood my ups and downs, borne with patience my absence for too many evenings and too many weekends, and never made me miss their encouragement, attention and care. Zsolt has been the best partner, supporter and friend an academic may wish for. He has filled all the gaps I left to focus on this project and used the remaining energies to give me strength. Sara’s smiles put everything back to its right perspective. Without them, this journey would have been lonely and meaningless. And it is to them that this book is dedicated.

The research for this book was completed on 31 May 2017. If not otherwise stated, I bear the responsibility for the translation of non-English texts. All omissions and mistakes remain of course my own.

Caterina Sganga

Budapest, 13 June 2017