"The 1911 Copyright Act, often termed the ‘Imperial Copyright Act’, changed the jurisprudential landscape in respect of copyright law, not only in the United Kingdom but also within the then Empire. This book offers a bird’s eye perspective of why and how the first global copyright law launched a new order, often termed the ‘common law copyright system’.This blogger warmed to the book more than he expected to, possibly because -- in the days of his youth when he worked within the terms of the UK's 'modern' Copyright Act 1956 -- references to the Imperial Act imparted a sort of toxicity which is often found in the company of antiquated and increasingly irrelevant chunks of dead legislation. This book, while allowing the contributors the proper freedom of responsible criticism, lets the reader appreciate that this Act was once young, vibrant, commercially sound and full of meaning.
This carefully researched and reflective work draws upon some of the best scholarship from Australia, Canada, India, Israel, Jamaica, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and United Kingdom. The authors – academics and practitioners alike – situate the Imperial Copyright Act 1911 within their national laws, both historically and legally. In doing so, the book queries the extent to which the ethos and legacy of the 1911 Copyright Act remains within indigenous laws.
A Shifting Empire offers a unique global, historical view of copyright development and will be a valuable resource for policy-makers, academic scholars and members of international copyright associations".
The list of contributors is both impressive and apt. Given his interest in colonial copyright, Michael Birnhack must have been the most obvious name on the roll-call; Sam Ricketson too, with his Australian pedigree and his penchant for the patient historical analysis. The others are excellent too and, for this blogger, the eye-opener was Dianne Daley's chapter on Jamaica, a small nation about whose copyright affairs he was hitherto sadly ignorant. This book is never going to be a Harry Potter, but wouldn't it be grand if its sales matched its interest value.
Bibliographic data: Publication date March 2013. ix + 251 pages.. Hardback ISBN 978 1 78100 308 4; ebook ISBN 978 1 78100 309 1. Price $115.00 ( online price $103.50). Web page here.