Exploring Copyright: History, Culture, Industry
Have you ever thought about how a composer or a writer makes a living? Or how they make money to live their daily lives, just like other people? This course will explore the process of creators becoming professionals: how a marketplace and an industry have grown thanks to inventions like the 15th century printing press.
You’ll learn that this process began with the idea that artistic work is the property of creators and how this idea inspired a new industry based on copyright. You’ll also explore the various aspects of this process – looking at how technological enhancement, creativity and the legal dimensions of copyright are all closely linked.
Medieval to modern: understand how copyright has evolved
In the first week, you’ll contemplate the concept of a modern author connected by property rights to the works of art they create. We’ll look at how this connection evolved through time and how it was cemented in law.
Explore how the exchange of knowledge became global
In the second week, we will focus on the 19th century. We will examine the increase in international commerce and in turn the increase in the exchange of knowledge and of ideas about authors and their rights. We’ll look at how this resulted in an International Convention for the protection of Authors’ Rights and the principles and justifications of this newly created international law.
Learn how the World Wars affected War Years and Mass Communication
In the third week, we’ll move to the 20th century to face the big questions created by the World Wars. If the previous century saw increased cooperation for the exchange of knowledge and all kinds of intellectual goods, war showed the opposite. But at the same time the Industrial Revolution had introduced mechanical reproduction and the war efforts produced new technology like mass communication. This resulted in the start of art as industry – with new treaties and the recognition of rights to other individuals and companies, like performers, producers and broadcasters.
Examine digital life and copyright
In the final week, we will talk about the new opportunities and challenges presented by digital technology. Never before have works protected by copyright had such a global reach and never before have creators had to deal with such a difficult equation regarding the value of their works. We’ll explore how the copyright industry finds itself in a reality where there is an unbalanced share of value between the creators of the work and the holders of the technology that make these works available globally.
By the end of the course, you will:
Be familiar with the concepts of copyright and authors’ rights
Be able to analyse further how copyright became a powerful tool in the marketplace for artistic work.
Build your understanding of the legal framework for the protection of creative work, comparing it to the common sense idea of artistic work as public good.
Propose methods to raise awareness of the legal protection system as an essential tool for building a fair trade market for creators.
This is an introductory course open to anyone with an interest in history and copyright. It might also be of interest to anyone in the creative and cultural industries.
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