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The Birth of Copyright: Historical Underpinnings

How did early authors and printers share and profit from their work without it being stolen? Where does copyright law come from?

The first noteworthy dispute concerning protection of a creative work occurred around 560 A.D. in Ireland when Saint Columbia “borrowed” a valuable Latin Psalter belonging to Saint Finnian and made a copy. When Finnian found out, he demanded that Columbia return the copy. Columba refused and Finnian took his complaint to the King of Ireland. Columbia consented to having the dispute settled by the King because there were related. It didn’t…

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  • Copyright
  • May 07, 2015

What is Copyright?


Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.  

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  • Copyright , Video
  • Apr 29, 2015

What is Copyright and Why Do We Need It?

Harry Potter Intellectual PropertyImagine if J.K. Rowling spent 17 years of her life writing the Harry Potter series just to see it made available online for free to whomever wanted to read it. That’s 17 years worth of salary that she would have forfeited. Copyright protection solves this problem. If Rowling did not have an incentive to own and control her work, who knows if we would have Harry Potter – a brand that has entertained millions and is now worth over $15 billion.


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  • Copyright
  • Apr 22, 2015

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