Upphovsrätten står och faller med sina undantag (Copyright Stands or Falls With its Exemptions)

Karl-Erik Tallmo


In today's copyright debate a centuries-old contempt for musicians, actors, and artists seems to re-appear. But what is copyright? Early in copyright history debaters were aware of the need for balance between the creator’s rights and the user’s rights. This article accounts for the discussion in the 18th century regarding the nature of copyright (privilege or property), and also deals with the question of what should be protected – the idea or its execution. The article argues that copyright is congenial with the information age, but its application today involves serious problems. It is increasingly alienated from the Lockean idea about society’s learning, and opportunity for users to make reasonable use of works is too limited. The public domain must be protected, and fair use (the right to quote, etc.) should be considered a positive right per se, not just an exemption to plead as a defense for certain kinds of usage.


copyright history; fair use; John Locke; public domain; Statute of Anne; piracy

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