Manacles upon science: Re-evaluating in informational works in light of 18th century case law

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Journal Article
Melbourne University Law Review, 2014, 38 (2), pp. 317 - 361
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Questions over whether and, if so, how law should protect works of fact and information have occupied the courts of several common law countries in recent decades. In Australia, they recently came to the fore in two Federal Court decisions relating to telephone directories. While the Court paid considerable attention to 19th century cases, consideration of the 18th century cases on which these precedents were based sheds greater light on the later development of the law. This article takes a microhistorical legal approach and examines a series of cases relating to road books from the late 18th century to explore some of the earliest legal approaches to works of geographical information, placing them in their social and cultural context.
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