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The Internet: Copyright’s new friend

Francesca Pridding, BA, Postgraduate, Law Department of the University of Wales, Abersytwyth

Wednesday 14 July 2004, by Francesca Pridding


Francesca Pridding (BA, Postgraduate)
Department of Law
University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Hugh Owen Building
Aberystwyth SY23 3DY
Tel: 44 1970 622716


The Internet: Copyright’s new friend


The objective of this paper is to introduce you to a pioneering method of delivering the law of copyright. The mode of delivery is an internet based, advisory toolbox or map that incorporates up-to-the-minute legislation and case law, when delivering the answer to any copyright problem put to it.

In creating this interactive map of copyright I have had to consider every possible permutation of the law and have created a raft of web pages for every eventuality. Copyright in literary works alone occupies over 120 web pages and copyright duration across the board has generated about 60 possible outcomes. These will not be apparent to the user who may only need to view 3 or 4 web pages before they receive their answer. It has been a hugely complex undertaking, yet once completed it will be easily and quickly updatable, making it far more accessible to the ordinary user than traditional textbooks or the statute.

The subtleties of copyright law are applicable to all, yet fully understood by only a handful of trained people. The technical nature of copyright law means that often it is breached without the offender realising. Yet, at the other extreme, users are often the victims of defensive practice by libraries, archives and museums and thus not permitted to copy material which copyright law may allow. My map hopes to remedy some of these practices. The map includes references to the statute and case law throughout, for those who need to know the legal basis for the advice given.

It is becoming apparent, through the map’s creation, that much of copyright law is over regulated. It could be argued that similar outcomes could be achieved in a much more efficient way, particularly as the current situation creates a climate of confusion, breach and blatant disregard for the law. The map therefore, serves as a springboard for discussion on whether copyright rules work, how appropriate they are. More specifically it also raises questions as to the extent that the internet can become an ally rather than the arch enemy (as is often claimed) of copyright law.

The internet-based advisory tool, which I introduce in the specific context of copyright, could be applied to any legal area. Thus it should be of interest to lawyers from a variety of fields.



- Backing for the project and its aims
- A thorough description of the project as a whole and the copyright toolbox itself.
- Who will use the toolbox, why, and the desired outcomes.


- A demonstration of the copyright toolbox.
- Commentary on the practical issues that have arisen during its creation.
- Problems that have been encountered.

Wider Implications

- Failures of copyright provision and how the toolbox is able to highlight these.
- Why copyright is breached so readily.
- Regulatory theory and how the toolbox contributes to the findings.
- Copyright and the internet, real dangers or just perceived dangers?
- Comparative examination of the regulatory issues in relation to other areas of law.

Any message or comments?


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