Global Copyright
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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.
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Chapter 9: The Influence (Past and Present) of the Statute of Anne in France

Christophe Geiger


Christophe Geiger* INTRODUCTION 1 It is a difficult, almost impossible task to analyse the influence of the Statute of Anne in France from a historical point of view and from the point of view of the current legal context. This is due to several reasons. The first reason is that it is very difficult to clearly establish a direct influence of the Statute of Anne in France. First of all, from a historical point of view, nothing indicates a direct connection with the subsequent French legislation, neither with the King’s Council’s rulings of 1777 and 1778, nor after the Revolution with the laws of 1791 and 1793. Certainly, as Laurent Pfister and Frédéric Rideau1 rightly stated, the Statute of Anne was sometimes quoted by certain participants in the debates which led to the French legislation, and we may assume that the British law was known in France. The problem is that we cannot find explicit reference, neither in the preliminary works nor in the rapporteurs’ statements allowing us to establish any influence. Since a direct connection seems uncertain from the very beginning, it becomes even more difficult to establish a direct relation with the current legislation. For instance, it is rather evident that the brand new French law regarding file-sharing on the Internet is not directly inspired by the British legislation elaborated in the early eighteenth century and does * Associate Professor; General Director and Director of the Research Laboratory, Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI), University of...

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