Revisiting the Historical ‘Copy-wrongs’ of ‘Copy-rights’! Are we resurrecting the Licensing era?

Akhil Prasad, Aditi Agarwalai


This article examines the historical underpinnings of copyright from the century’s old Pre Gutenberg times when print did not exist and traces a timeline as to how the bricks of the first copyright legislation in the world - The Statute of Anne, 1710 were legislated into existence. One would discover that the very origin of copyright law at the time when it was not codified was diametrically contrary to the present understanding of the codified copyright law, which originally protected the publisher as against the author. Copyright law was a tool for the State to exercise censorship over writings hostile to the Church or Government. The protection of intellectual works was influenced by the economics of publication rather than the economics of authorship. This form of an intellectual property right has its historical foundations tainted with all such objectives which would humour today’s intellectual creator.

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