Reverting to reversion rights? Reflections on the Copyright Act 1911

Cooper, E. (2021) Reverting to reversion rights? Reflections on the Copyright Act 1911. European Intellectual Property Review, 43(5), pp. 292-297.

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With reversion rights on the legislative agenda of EU Member States (owing to art.22 Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive ) this article uncovers the legislative history of reversion in the UK Copyright Act 1911 (which applied also to the British Empire). Reversion related to controversies surrounding the significant increase in the copyright term in 1911 (to the author’s life plus 50 years). A significant post-mortem term was intended to enable authors to make meaningful provision for their families but this would be undermined if "rich publishers" could take an assignment for the full term. Accordingly, reversion was an essential part of the legislative package which facilitated significant term extension in 1911. The 1911 debates were also the occasion for the consideration of a proposal for reversion in the event of an assignee’s bankruptcy. This article concludes by reflecting on the implications of the debates of 1911 for how we think about reversion and copyright policy today.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cooper, Dr Elena
Authors: Cooper, E.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:European Intellectual Property Review
Publisher:Sweet & Maxwell
ISSN (Online):0142-0461
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Thomson Reuters
First Published:First published in European Intellectual Property Review 43(5):292-297
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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