The True History of Copyright

The Australian Experience 1905-2005

Benedict Atkinson

Regular price $79.95 Sale

Format: paperback
526 pages
ISBN: 9781920898458

Publication: 12 Oct 2007

Publisher: Sydney University Press

Read online: Open access

How did copyright laws come into being? Were they designed to encourage production and dissemination? Are current policy assumptions justified? Critics claim that laws facilitate predatory pricing and distribution controls, denying millions access to material. Advocates argue that legislation creates productive incentive. Without stringent legal safeguards creators and producers will produce much less.

This book brings to life the fascinating hidden interplay of personalities and events that made modern copyright law. Illuminating the history of Australian legislation (and complementary developments in the United Kingdom and elsewhere) it supplies surprising answers to previously unanswered questions. In the words of Professor Brian Fitzgerald, it ‘provides any student, policy maker, practitioner or user of copyright law with a tremendous platform on which to build understanding, argument and ultimately policy direction.’

Benedict Anderson previously practicised as a lawyer and worked in government contracting and legislative policy. He helped to implement the Commonwealth government's digital agenda reform program and his recommendations led to reform of the NSW government's administration of the copyright policy.



  1. Australia’s first act
  2. International developments
  3. A new era and new legislation
  4. The broadcasting revolution and performing rights
  5. The APRA wars and the Rome conference
  6. The radio war and a new performing right
  7. Public inquiry and arguments over performing rights
  8. Beyond authors’ rights
  9. Reform
  10. A new British act and the Spicer Committee
  11. The road to the new Australian Copyright Act
  12. Developments in Australia after 1968
  13. After 1980: collecting societies and software copyright
  14. The age of America
  15. Policy observations

Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Appendix 3
Appendix 4

'Atkinson is a fine archivist; an entertaining storyteller; an ebullient and eccentric historian; and a hard-headed political scientist.'
Matthew Rimmer   Australian Bar Review

Format: paperback
Size: 210 × 148 × 26 mm
526 pages
Copyright: © 2007
ISBN: 9781920898458
Publication: 12 Oct 2007