Tristram Shandy and the limits of copyright law; Or, is a blank page an idea?

Leiboff, Marett (2006) Tristram Shandy and the limits of copyright law; Or, is a blank page an idea? In 13th International Conference of the Law and Literature Association of Australia, 13-14 July 2006, Melbourne.

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Australian copyright law does not give copyright protection to ideas. However, depending on the analysis used, certain types of creative outputs can be treated as ideas, rather than the protectable expressions that are given the status of a copyright work. Denial of the status of work will affect the economic right of the creator, and they will also be denied moral rights. This paper explores copyright law's adoption of a Lockean conception of ideas through the 18th century literary property debates, but shows that in the 18th century, the concept of ideas had not hardened into the forms used now. Instead, the law accepted and acknowledged that 'books' or 'compositions' (in their conceptual sense as well as their physical sense) and compositions were literary property. Through the agency of Lawrence Sterne's digressive comic masterpiece, Tristram Shandy, a nine-volume novel published at the height of the 18th century literary property debates, the notion of Lockean ideas, textual sparcity and the concept of the creative process is juxtaposed against the oppositional categories of idea and expression now used in copyright law. It is suggested that the adoption of a concept like 'book' or 'composition' to frame textually or visually sparse creative outputs, could provide a legal recognition for creative outputs now refused copyright protection.

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ID Code: 18093
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: The contents of this conference can be freely accessed online via the conference's web page (see hypertext link).
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Law not elsewhere classified (180199)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 19 Feb 2009 01:14
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:19

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