Copyright and authors

John Ewing


For the past several hundred years, publishers have promoted a simplistic view of copyright. Copyright is a matter of fairness to authors, they argue. Authors own their creations and therefore should be free to control them. But the history of copyright and its underlying philosophy contradicts that simple view. Copyright is not about fairness to authors; copyright is about balancing interests, including the interest of the public. This article provides a (very!) brief history of copyright and its philosophy in order to show that the publisherso simple view is inaccurate, and suggests that understanding copyrightos nature is the first step to solve the problems of copyright in the modern world.

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