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Copyright and the commodification of authorship in 18th and 19th Century Europe.

Borghi, M., 2017. Copyright and the commodification of authorship in 18th and 19th Century Europe. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature.

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The modern concept of authorship evolved in parallel with the legal recognition of the author as the subject of certain property rights within the marketplace for books. Such a market was initially regulated by a system of printing privileges, which was replaced by copyright laws at the juncture of the 18th and 19th centuries. The inclusion of copyright under the umbrella of property and the dominating economic discourse marked the naissance of a new figure of the author, namely the author as supplier of intellectual labor to the benefit of society at large. In this sense, products of authorship became fully-fledged commodities to be exchanged in the global market place. The transition between the privilege and the copyright-system, and the prevailing economic rationale for the protection of works of authorship, leaves on the background a more original understanding of authorship as rooted in the human need of reciprocal communication for the sake of truth. Modern authorship, as grounded in a narrow utilitarian understanding of authors’ rights, detaches itself from both the economic logic of the privilege system and the rational foundation of copyright.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:printing press; privilege; copyright; intellectual property; Kant; freedom of the press; economic thought, authors.
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:29935
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:19 Dec 2017 11:33
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:07


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