Authors’ Rights

The information age is not about technology. It is about information - about content.

The information age is primarily an explosion of new media, which new technology makes possible. But all media are means of delivering - and selling access to - words, pictures and sounds.

The nature of the commercial sections of the new media will be shaped by the ways content is licensed. These will therefore, to a significant extent, influence the development of our societies.

Whoever controls the content, controls the medium. Is that control to lie in the hands of Murdoch of News International and the suits at Disney, whose sole concern is maximum profits for shareholders? Or is it safer in the hands of individual creators, whose income depends solely on their reputation for accurate, high-quality work?

Copyright is surrounded by many misconceptions. The law is not, in general, human-readable. See the absolute minimum guide to the basics of copyright. A longer background paper will, it is hoped, clarify the issues of copyright - and the European concept of Author' rights. This was written for journalists who were not necessarily (yet) familiar with the net. It should also be interesting for netizens who are not (yet) familiar with copyright as anything other than the tool of big business.

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Last modified: 15 Feb 2006

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