Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

"Of Monks, Medieval Scribes, and Middlemen"

If you happen to have (as I do) a combination of interests in intellectual property and church history, you may want to check out this new article by IP scholar Peter Yu.  From the abstract:

Today's copyright debate has generally focused on the digital dilemma created by Internet and new media technologies. Threats created by emerging communications technologies, however, are not new. Throughout history, there have been remarkable similarities between the threats created by new technologies and those posed by older ones.

During the oral argument in [the Grokster case concerning online music copying, Justice Breyer quipped:] ["F]or all I know, the monks had a fit when Gutenberg made his press.["] . . . Many legal scholars have described copyright as a response to the emergence of the printing press. However, very few have examined the press's impact on a group of contemporary middlemen - the medieval scribes. This Essay undertakes this inquiry and explores the impact of the then - new technology on the now - obsolete scribal industry. It begins by tracing the emergence of medieval scribes and the printing press and concludes with observations on the policy responses to the challenge created by the Internet and new communications technologies.



Berg, Thomas | Permalink

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