Three Hundred Years Since the Statute of Anne, from 1709 to Cyberspace
Edited by Lionel Bently, Uma Suthersanen and Paul Torremans
Chapter 23: International Exhaustion
André Lucas* INTRODUCTION At first, the topic looks quite arduous, and to be frank even fairly unattractive. It is, however, very interesting and the organizers should be praised for bringing it back onto the table, more than 20 years after the ALAI Study Days in Munich (where it was first discussed). It is very interesting, if not fascinating, on a strictly legal level. This is true, primarily, from a technical point of view. The distribution right (or its variants) forces, for example, one to think of its articulation in terms of other prerogatives granted to authors, such as the making available right when it exists, which calls for a systemic analysis of the proprietary rights structure. The concept of exhaustion still holds some mysteries, in so far as one doubts its base (or rather basis) and scope. As for the international dimension of such exhaustion, it involves, as is often said, the famous principle of copyright’s territoriality, on which Georges Koumantos appropriately commented that it is always brought into debates, although without ever accurately defining it, and which is not easily reconciled with the globalization of the transfer of works. Beyond the technical aspects, it is, of course, the philosophy of the copyright system that is at stake, hence the decisive importance in this field of comparative law, not only to take into account the diversity of substantive law solutions, but also to assess, which is probably more important, the differences of approach in concepts and reasoning modes. The economic,...
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