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Title: The 1878 Royal Commission on copyright : understanding an attempt at Victorian copyright reform
Author: Lauriat, Barbara
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Decades after the 1842 Copyright Act, British copyright law was still a problem for anyone who had anything to do with it It was a muddle of conflicting cases and statutes, the application of copyright law to the colonies was uneven and controversial, and lack of international copyright recognition frustrated copyright owners. Under pressure to address these issues, the Government appointed a Royal Commission on Copyright in 1875; it was reformed in 1876, after the death of the first Chairman. In order to fulfill its mandate to make inquiry with regard to the law of copyright, the Commission conducted lengthy hearings for over a year before producing its 1878 Report. While the depth and breadth of its inquiry and analysis of the Jaw have long made it a useful resource for lawyers and historians, a closer look is warranted. In particular, this thesis suggests that the central debate over the nature of copyright as property must be placed in the context of prevailing political, philosophical, and economic movements of the nineteenth century, from the dominant economic ideology of free trade to the reforming spirit of utilitarianism reflected in the institution of royal commissions themselves. Although the subsequent attempts at codification failed and UK copyright law did not undergo major reform and codification until 1911, close examination reveals the Commission did have a significant influence on the subsequent development of copyright law. Its considered recommendation that copyright should continue to be treated as a property right, despite forceful arguments to the contrary, set copyright law on a path of development that it would follow throughout the next century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available