Ulla-Maija Mylly

General Concepts and Principles of Copyright for the Digital Era


Digitization of information has enabled a transformation into information society where digital goods and information form the valuable transferable assets. At the same copyright industry is becoming more important for economy as it forms an ever-increasing percentage of many countries GDP. Copyrighted books, music, movies etc. form core for creative industries and their economic spur. Therefore, it is vital for the economy and consequently general welfare to enable these industries to develop.
The change in technical context has enabled a transformation into business models, where delivery of material object is no longer needed. These changes provide enormous possibilities for copyright industry.
Legislators at international level have targeted their forces at providing more safety for copyright owners and more mechanisms to prevent copyright infringements to take place in the digital world as the change of technological context has been considered as a threat for copyright holders. Consequently, the control copyright holder have over their materials have expanded on the cost of users rights and potentially on the cost of innovative activities. However, it is the possibilities of various players to take part in providing services through new information and communication platforms that is vital for the development of copyright industries and connected industries. This kind of understanding for innovation is based upon the evolutionary economics and it contradicts the arguments rising from the mainstream economics. This research analyses if there is room for recalibrating copyright law into digital era in a way where copyright holders would not have such strong control mechanisms over the uses of their materials. The approach is different from the current legislative trend where copyright is expanded and getting stronger. The research analyses whether the uses, which are today considered as infringements, could be considered to be legal e.g. by interpreting more narrowly the exclusive rights (control mechanisms) and more broadly the exceptions for different uses allowed for third parties (fair use), which copyright laws contain today. The analysis would cover the flexibility the international conventions provide for new ways of interpretation. The argument is that there should be room in copyright laws to allow creative activity, innovation and dissemination as it is for what purpose the copyright laws are in fact enacted and how the system initially has been justified.

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