Copyright Law & Practice
The copyright law we know today traces its beginnings to the regulation of printing by the Crown in the 1500s and 1600s in the United Kingdom. Rights were granted by the Crown under royal prerogative to enable the printing of certain works, such as prayer books and statutes. Generally, the Crown sought to exercise strict control over the new printing technology of the day. The Stationers' Company was established, in part, to exercise control over printing, and in particular to supervise the removal of works printed without permission.
In 1637, the Crown issued a decree requiring that all printed works be submitted to the Stationers' Company for registration.
The control over printing proved unmanageable, and the attempt to regulate printing collapsed by the late 1600s, to be
replaced by the Act of Anne of 1709, the very first attempt to legislate to protect copyright. The Act gave to authors a statutory right to prohibit unauthorised copying “for the encouragement of
learning” through the “vesting (of) copies of printed books in the
authors or purchasers of such copies ... ”.
An Introduction To Intellectual Property Law
This book is intended to provide a practical overview of intellectual property law for students and practitioners. It is written very much with a practical view of the way the law is applied. It also highlights important legislative changes of recent years.
While this area of law is broken down into a number of discrete sub-headings – patents, designs, trade marks, copyright, confidential information and passing off and trade practices protection – there are a number of linking issues which give rise to the sub-headings being treated as part of a common grouping.
For example, in a general sense, each of the intellectual property sub-headings is concerned with the protection of ideas or the way that ideas are expressed. Without the protection offered, the investment of time and creativity in the development of ideas would have no secure basis. The intellectual property sub-headings give a means for protecting that investment by preventing the unauthorised use of that which is protected.
Words & Law
I wrote this book because those ‘put down and underpaid persons’, as folklore or reality would have them, of whatever ilk - novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, copywriters, journalists – are doing themselves a disservice through being indifferent to, or ignorant of, their rights and the way in which the law deals with them. For most writers, no matter how successful, ignorance of the law as it applies to their activities is a luxury they can ill afford.
The law need not be completely impenetrable. Some of the basic concepts are not as hard to understand as you might think, with apologies in the case of a few ideas which remain difficult no matter how they are explained.
The discussion is illustrated with selected legal cases which demonstrate the principles at work.
This book is intended to chart the way for those who seek the shining truths about copyright, contract, defamation, and such concepts, as they apply to the activities of all kinds of writers. The discussion is not pursued in the manner of arid, boring legal text, but rather in practical terms. Law on the go, as it were.
Writers and the Law
This book (co-authored with Michael McDonald) is about the legal rights and obligations of writers. The principal motivation for writing the book is the view that a writer not conversant with her or his rights is bound to be shortchanged. For many writers, the mere fact of securing a publishing or production agreement is perceived as a significant achievement. The natural inclination is to sign whatever is presented, and hope that the work will be published or produced in the best possible way with minimum delay and maximum return. When the project does not quite work out, and best hopes are dashed, the governing contract is produced from a drawer and the document is carefully reviewed, conceivably for the very first time, in the hope that it contains the magic words which may turn the tide back in favour of the writer.
This book is intended to save the writer much heartache, and generally enhance her or his bargaining power by offering a comprehensive and practical account of the law as it affects writers' activities. With the emphasis on practical rather than theoretical matters, it will be noted that the consideration of the law is intertwined with a thorough review of “commercial realities”, emphasising how such “realities” tend to shape the nature of legal relations between writer and publisher/producer.