Anglo-US copyright and the challenge of digitization
: maintaining the balance of copyright principles

  • Ewan Kirk

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

Commentators argue that modern copyright law has been stretched to the limit. Some argue that digital media has either caused it to be irrelevant or in need of a serious rethink. In order to address the concerns of copyright owners, the legislatures of the EU and the US have conducted programmes of reform to address the issues of protection and use of copyright works on networked computers. Copyright is treated differently by different individuals. While copyright owners argue that their rights need to be strengthened, copyright users would like to be able to exploit the advantages of the Internet by making new uses of copyright works. The purposes of this thesis is to address the problems caused by digitisation. This is achieved by conducting a historical and philosophical analysis of the core rationale of copyright which reveals the true purpose and rationale of copyright. In order for copyright to remain an effective and valid law, any reforms must be compatible with this rationale, in order to avoid distorting copyright so that it no longer achieves the purpose for which it was intended. This thesis has identified that copyright is a balance between competing rights, designed to provide the opportunity for creators to be rewarded for their work, but also to serve the public interest by allowing fair access to the work created. It has then applied this theory to the reforms of the EU and the US, in order to assess whether the original purpose of copyright is still served by the reformed law. The answer is a qualified yes. The use of technological protection and fair use doctrines serve to retain the balance between the copyright owner and the copyright user.
Date of Award2001
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Nottingham Trent University

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