Copyright in the digital environment : ontologies of copyright and digital works
Title: Copyright in the digital environment : ontologies of copyright and digital works
Author: DE FILIPPI, Primavera
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Law
The advent of Internet and digital technologies has radically transformed the way information is being produced and consumed. The consequences for copyright law are twofold. While digital media provide new opportunities for authors to produce and disseminate their works to the public, they simultaneously encourage and facilitate copyright infringement. Traditionally, in order to ensure compliance with the law, the copyright regime could rely upon the properties of physical media to constitute a natural barrier against copyright infringement. As the medium went digital, however, its properties became a catalyst for infringement. Designed for the physical world, the structure of the copyright does not adequately address the issues inherent to digital media. Private regulation therefore came into play in order to resolve the problem. While restrictive licensing agreements combined with technological measures of protection purport to reestablish a technological barrier against copyright infringement, permissive licenses such as Creative Commons purport to reduce the scope of protection granted by default under the law. Although differing in method, these approaches share a common goal: to realign the properties of the work with the properties of the digital medium by readjusting the legal attributes and technical characteristics of digital copies. As a legal concept, however, the notion of a copy must be precisely defined. After performing an ontological analysis of the copyright regime within the scope of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records and the Information Artifact Ontology, the research concludes that physical copies fundamentally differ from their digital counterpart. While the former qualify as a token, the latter qualify as a class that is capable of multiple instantiations. Moreover, given that the identity of a digital copy can no longer be defined by its physical characteristics, it is fundamentally for the copyright license to determine the scope of the copy to which it refers.
Defence date: 18 October 2011; Examining Board: Professor Giovanni Sartor, EUI, Supervisor Professor Hans-W. Micklitz, EUI Dr. Maurizio Borghi, Brunel University Professor Molly S. van Houweling, UC Berkeley School of Law
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