The Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, in conjunction with the High Tech Law Institute of Santa Clara University Law School and the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, will host a two-day conference on April 9–10, 2010 to explore the past and future of copyright law. The event features an outstanding array of scholars and other experts from various disciplines.
2010 will mark the 300th anniversary of The Statute of Anne, the first modern copyright law. Enacted in 1710 by the English Parliament, the statute represented a marked departure from the Stationers Company’s pre-modern “copie-right” regime which preceded it. Among other things, the Statute of Anne articulated a rationale for a grant of protection—encouraging learned men to write books; it vested rights in authors; it allowed copyright only in newly created books; and it limited the term of copyright to fourteen years, after which the book entered the public domain (unless the author renewed his claim for another fourteen years).
The tricentennial of the Statute of Anne is a suitable occasion for looking back at the law’s influence on the history and evolution of the Anglo-American copyright tradition. It is also an opportunity to look forward—to explore how the lessons from this history might help us surmount the challenges that lie ahead for copyright law in the twenty-first century.