Re: Does U.S. and foreign copyright law have contradictory goals?

From: <wing_m[_at_]southampton-institute.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 15:34:10 +0100

Thanks for the info John. This relationship between Copyright and the constitution is something new to me,as you probably know we don't have a constitution as such in the UK, but UK constitutional law is found in a wide variety of written and unwritten sources. (I had the misfortune to teach constitutional law for a few years).

However most if not all European States have written constitutions, so yu may well be able to find something on copyright in those documents to support or rebut your suggestions.

You may have gathered that I do not consider the UK to be European in the tuest sense of the word, despite our membership of the European Union.

An intersting point on UK law though. Our judges often seem more inclined to use copyright to restrict information rather than freedom of expression. For example in the spycatcher series of cases the House of Lords (UK's highest court) were willing to use copyright to ensure that a disclosure made by an ex-member of the UK's security services went unrewarded by holding that copyright ownership in the disclosure vested in the crown "in equity". The legal authority for ths proposition seemed extremely thin to me.. Also recently an ex-member of the SAS had to make substantial changes to a book to satisfy Government demands, the sanction threatened being proceedings for copyright infringement and breach of confidence. This is on top of the UK's official secrecy legislation !

On balance and from your previous posts I think the US system does give much more weight to Freedom of expression and information.

Regards,

Mark Wing
<wing_m[_at_]southampton-institute.ac.uk> Received on Fri Sep 20 1996 - 14:57:50 GMT

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