Digital copyright

Steve Collins, Sherman Young

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Copyright law has never existed in a vacuum. Rather, it has consistently been a response to evolving media technologies and distribution models. From its origins as a means to regulate the book publishing trade in 18th-century England to its attempts to regulate copies in the digital networked environment, copyright has continuously expanded its scope and duration. As technological capabilities shifted, copyright laws also changed, yet the tensions in its development revealed its contested nature. Many argue that copyright is the backbone of the cultural industries and is an essential incentive for creativity with a strong public interest element, for example, the desire that it ‘promote the progress of science and the useful arts’. Others argue that copyright is better understood as an enabler of business models, and that debates over its value are grounded in the desire to maintain incumbents’ profit centres. These positions need not be mutually exclusive and can instead be taken to represent possibilities of what can be achieved with copyright policy. This chapter contextualises digital copyright within the history of copyright law, and draws on relevant case studies in exploring perennial and current issues.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReimagining communication
Subtitle of host publicationmediation
EditorsMichael Filimowicz, Veronika Tzankova
Place of PublicationNew York ; London
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781351015424
ISBN (Print)9781138498907, 9781138498914
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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