Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Law

Author, author: Google, orphan works, and competition

02 March 2015 | 17:00 - 18:00 | Seminar

Speaker: Professor Uma Suthersanen 


International legal principles of good faith and state responsibility require the national and regional recognition and enforcement of authorial rights as human rights, especially under the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Copyright law is one such area where the recognition and enforcement of rights presents a mixed bag of results. On the one hand, property rights are recognized human rights; on the other hand, such property rights encroach on another citizen’s fundamental access rights to culture and education, which are also paradoxically guaranteed under the same international instruments.

One means of balancing such concerns is to embed access rights into intrinsic limitation devices within copyright law. Such devices include, for example, the fair use and fair dealing defences in the US, Australia, UK and Canada. Whilst all these defences do, to some extent, take into account access rights of the general user, they are also often subject to conservative domestic interpretation. Another means of promoting access rights within intellectual property rights is to develop and maintain a parallel protection system whereby rights of individual consumers and society as a whole are safeguarded. Examples of such extrinsic devices which promote societal concerns are competition laws and compulsory licensing laws. A third approach, growing in popularity, is to use contract law as a means to stifle the more anti-competitive, and anti-societal aspects of IPRs. Conversely, such contracts have also been used as a means to narrowly construe and interpret the more enlightened and public-spirited aspects of copyright law.

This seminar looks at this general balancing dilemma within copyright law by focussing on two recent and inter-related phenomena: the EU orphan works directive, and the US Google litigation. And in doing so, it also attempts to find the voice of the much heralded (and berated), but absent author.

This is a free seminar and registration in advance is not required

Refreshments will be available after the seminar.

Location Details

School of Law
Liberty Building
University of Leeds

(Please use postcode LS6 1AN for Sat Nav's)

The Liberty Building is number 16 on the campus map.

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