Video: Dolly The Sheep And The History And Future Of Copyright

Just as 80s movies are being paid homage in flash new remakes, so some publishers are looking to invoke the origins of copyright as their touchstone for navigating the digital age.

In this presentation delivered to Westminster Media Forum, entrepreneur and former Johnston Press CEO Roger Parry rattles through the history of authorship rights, explaining why digital copyright is a virtual impossibility without legislative reform…

Earlier in the day, Dominic Young, the strategy and product director of News Corp.’s News International, had lauded the 300-year-old Statute of St Anne, the original copyright act, as providing a basis for protecting his intellectual property that digital content is also remains governed by today.

“It arose in a mirror image of the situation we find ourselves in today,” Young said, explaining how the technological revolution of the printing press had unleashed media abundance that prompted the protection of rights for authors. “Putting control of what happens to content owners in the hands of content owners works.”

Young was singing from the same hymnsheet as James Murdoch, who told a crowd in May: “The champions of the Statute of Anne offer us lessons we should continue to learn from and apply.”

Whatever, however, Ann’s 300-year-old principles seem set for digital reform. The UK government last month commissioned a review of “how the intellectual property system can better drive growth and innovation”, focusing on how existing rightsholder frameworks create “barriers to new internet-based business models”.