Copyright: A Colonial Doctrine in a Postcolonial Age

Australian Copyright Reporter
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Copyright Reporter, 2008, 26 (4), pp. 112 - 134
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In this article, I am interested in exploring the legal doctrine of copyright from the standpoint of a postcolonial critic. According to Shelley Wright, there is a `deep and continuing grip of colonial thinking on all systems currently in place, from the personal and local to the global.1 And the law of copyright is no exception. Like other areas of intellectual property, copyright as a Western philosophical idea, is deeply imbued with the values of the European Enlightenment, liberalism, and a society founded on a print-based culture. As Wright suggests, copyright continues to be one of `the quintessential representations of the modern, public world of bourgeois expansion, male dominance and European colonial infl uence in the creation of political and economic systems in Europe and the colonies.2 Indeed, the Western history of copyright is inextricably tied to the Western history of colonialism.
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