Copyright History. Part 5: Non-property rights

Original author: Rickard Falkvinge
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To be continued.
The first part is Black Death .
The second part is Bloody Mary .
The third part - Monopoly dies ... and is reborn .
The fourth part is the USA and libraries .

By the end of the 19th century, the ever-increasing publishing monopoly of copyright almost left the authors no opportunity to earn income from their work. Almost all the money went to publishers and distributors, and not to the creators of the works (almost like now).

One Frenchman named Victor Hugo tried to correct this bias and change the rules of the game in favor of the authors by incorporating the French droit d'auteur tradition (copyright) into copyright laws. In addition, he sought to internationalize the monopoly of copyright. Prior to this, the monopoly was limited to the borders of states. A French writer could sell his monopoly rights to a French publisher, and they acted in France, but not in Germany or Great Britain. Hugo wanted to change that.

Oddly enough, when in the middle of the 19th century laws were adopted throughout Europe to protect the free market and competition, they forgot about copyright and patent monopolies. In patent law, the introduction of a monopoly was motivated by the “prevention of disloyal competition” - a relic of the guild system, when guilds and guilds harshly dictated terms and prices; if today someone is trying to practice "loyal competition", then this often ends with a mask show and a court. The copyright monopoly is a relic from the days of the London Printers Guild.

Victor Hugo wanted to balance the huge rights of publishers by expanding the rights of authors, thereby, unfortunately, further worsening the position of readers (it is important to remember that three parties are involved in the conflict of interest around copyright - authors, publishers and the public, and, ironically, only the interests of the latter, as we know, are a legitimate basis for copyright).

Victor Hugo did not live up to the realization of his efforts into something real, the Berne Convention was signed in 1886. It stated that each country should respect the copyrights of citizens of other countries, and an international organization was established to oversee its observance, which grew and changed, surviving to this day under the name of the World Intellectual Property Organization ( WIPO) The Convention itself also grew, was modified and twice subjected to “raider attacks” (more on that in the following parts).

So, thanks to the Berne Convention, four aspects of the copyright monopoly have been fixed, between which there are more differences than similarities:

  1. Commercial monopoly on copyrighted works. This is the original form of copyright given to the London booksellers in exchange for submission to censorship.
  2. Commercial monopoly on the performance of works. The copyright holder may demand money for any commercial public performance of his work.
  3. Non-property right to authorship. The right of the author or artist to be considered the creator of the work. This right protects against plagiarism and fakes.
  4. The moral right of the author to protect his reputation, which allows him to prohibit any performance of his works, which, in his opinion, distorts them or harms his good name.

Non-property rights are very different from property commercial monopolies, since they cannot be sold or transferred. They stand apart from those authors' rights to own their work, which were used to justify the restoration of copyright in 1709.

It is noteworthy how often these four rights are intentionally mixed in order to justify the most controversial and harmful monopoly on copying copies of a work. From copyright advocates you often hear something like “Do you want someone to appropriate your work and call it the author?” This argument applies only to the third, completely adequate and non-objectionable aspect of copyright, and cannot be used to protect the first two.

By the way, the United States did not like the concept of moral rights, and they did not sign the Berne Convention until they decided to use it to put pressure on Toyota Corporation a hundred years later. We will consider this point in more detail in the seventh article of the cycle.

Sixth part: Raider capture by record companies .

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