Dr Yin Harn Lee of Sheffield University, spoke on the topic of 'Rethinking the "Copy" in Copyright' at a seminar on 18 October 2018.
The exclusive right to control the copying of a work has been given a very broad definition in the present day. The adoption of a technology-neutral definition of ‘copying’ means that it now encompasses tangible and intangible copies, permanent and temporary copies, and even copies that are merely incidental to the use of the work. The effect of this has been to expand the scope of the right to uses of works that would not conventionally be thought to fall within the copyright owner’s control.
The aim of this paper is to suggest some principles on the basis of which the scope of this extremely broad right might be limited. It draws inspiration from pre-modern judicial approaches to the concept of ‘copying’ which, as it demonstrates, was interpreted in ways that recognised certain implicit limitations – albeit not always well-articulated – on the scope of the copyright owner’s exclusive right to copy the work. These, it suggests, might serve as useful starting points for the development of a normative basis on which a more restricted interpretation of the right to copy might be justified.
For more information see the CIPIL website at http://www.cipil.law.cam.ac.uk