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Who Owns the News? Journalism and Intellectual Property in Historical Perspective

Who Owns the News? Journalism and Intellectual Property in Historical Perspective
91 Charles Street West, Alumni Hall, Old Victoria College 112
Time: Mar 3rd, 4:15 pm End: Mar 3rd, 6:00 pm
Interest Categories: Law, Faculty of , Information, Faculty of, History (FAS), Critical Theory, Communications, Book History/Print Culture, 1800-1900, 1500-1800
Lecture by Will Slauter, University of Paris 8-Saint Denis

The Toronto Centre for the Book, in association with the Centre for Innovation Law and Policy (Faculty of Law) and the Friends of the Victoria University Library, are pleased to present:

Will Slauter, University of Paris 8 - Saint Denis

Who Owns the News? Journalism and Intellectual Property in Historical Perspective

Concerns about the piracy of news go back at least to the seventeenth century, when complaints involved counterfeit ballads hawked on the streets rather than articles reposted on the Internet. But with respect to copyright law, news publications—whatever their material form—have followed an unusual trajectory. This lecture will draw on a range of news publications (including broadsides, pamphlets, newspapers, and magazines) to consider long-term shifts in attitudes toward the copying and republication of news. It will compare developments in Great Britain and the United States from the seventeenth century through the early twentieth century. At several moments during this period, new forms of publication, new conceptions of journalism, and new modes of distribution led writers and publishers to try to claim exclusive rights over journalistic texts. While some proposed a special copyright for news, others sought to create standards about what could be copied and how such copied material should be acknowledged. By studying shifting attitudes toward the ownership of news alongside changes in how writers, editors, and printers worked, this lecture will offer a historical perspective on contemporary debates about journalism and intellectual property.

Will Slauter is an associate professor of English and member of the Center for Historical Research (EA 1571: Histoire des pouvoirs, savoirs, et sociétés) at University of Paris 8 – Saint Denis. He received a PhD in history from Princeton University and has taught at Columbia University and Florida State University. He studies the history of authorship and publishing, with a particular interest in newspapers, and is currently working on a book about the history of copyright in journalism. This research has been supported by residential fellowships at the New York Public Library, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the American Antiquarian Society (NEH Fellow spring 2015), and the Library of Congress (Kluge Fellow 2015-2016).

This event is free and open to all.  For further information, please contact the collaborative program in Book History and Print Culture.


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