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This content is taken from the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC)'s online course, Copyright e os Negócios das Indústrias Criativas. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds Our story begins in 15th century Europe at the end of the Middle Ages. Following a series of social, political and intellectual transformations, Europeans were welcoming the Renaissance. Around 1439 the introduction of Gutenberg’s printing press made it possible to print copies of books in great volume. This increased the audience for literature. It developed a marketplace for authors, and ultimately, it led to the birth of creative industry. Fast forward to 1557. In England a new Royal Charter granted to the stationers company established a system of ownership. Members of the company had to register the acquisition of a text to guarantee their exclusive right to reproduce copies. This was the origin of copyright.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 second An interesting fact: the English poet and author, William Shakespeare, probably received nothing from his copyrights. His earnings are much more likely to have come from the profits of the performing arts enterprise in which he owned a share. In 1710, Queen Anne of Great Britain issued the Copyright Act to limit privileges, fight piracy, promote competition and improve activities such as printing and publishing. This Copyright Act stated that after a certain period of time, stipulated by law, creative works shall fall back into the public domain. Back to our timeline and the year is now 1777. Beaumarchais, the great French playwright, leads his colleagues in a writer’s strike forcing theater owners to pay authors a percentage of the box office intake.

Skip to 1 minute and 49 seconds This action changed the performing arts industry and promoted the foundation of the world’s first author’s organisation. In 1790, the United States Congress issued a law that established copyright as a privilege of exclusivity. During that same period national laws in Western Europe harmonised around the idea that there` that there was an inalienable link connecting authors to their works. By the end of the 18th century, several countries already had their own copyright rules, but it took almost a hundred years for them to sign an international agreement on this matter. The Berne Convention for the protection of literary and artistic works was signed in 1886. Its protective scope included photography and cinematography.

Skip to 2 minutes and 35 seconds Moving on to 1912, the birth of the film industry launched a new cultural revolution. By the mid forties this industry was booming with 400 films being made each year and millions flocking to the theatres. Copyrights were owned by film producers. The music recording business only became truly popular after World War Two. The introduction of magnetic tapes paved the way for new audio formats and devices. As in the film industry, copyrights to recordings were owned by the producers. Still in the 1950s radio, broadcasting systems were present in virtually every country. Radio broadcasters had exclusive rights to the signals they transmitted and had the power to forbid re transmissions by third parties.

Skip to 3 minutes and 21 seconds Access became universal with the introduction of the transistor radio in the late 60s. TV broadcasting was also becoming extremely popular. Television sets were everywhere and TV became the primary medium for influencing public opinion. The boom of the film, recorded music and broadcasting industries

Skip to 3 minutes and 40 seconds led to another watershed moment in the 1960s: The Rome Convention. This international agreement extended copyright protection to performers, sound recording producers and broadcasters. We now reach the 1990s when software was added to the Berne Convention and international negotiations led to the foundation of the World Trade Organisation. A new set of international agreements were developed for the trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights or TRIPS for short. That brings us to the 21st century. Creative industries such as film, music, broadcasting and mass communication have seen extraordinary growth. Copyright law has had to constantly adapt to keep up.

A arte como indústria

A invenção da prensa de tipos móveis por Gutenberg, no fim do século 15, foi crucial para o desenvolvimento de um conceito moderno de autoria e para o debate sobre os direitos que os criadores têm sobre suas obras.

A imprensa promoveu uma revolução social. Tornou possível a ampla circulação de ideias, estimulando o domínio da leitura e da escrita, assim como o desenvolvimento de uma nova atividade comercial: a distribuição para o público de cópias produzidas pela nova máquina.

O vídeo aqui apresentado conta uma história que começa nesse momento. Desde sua origem, o conceito e as regras do copyright vêm mudando em paralelo à inovação tecnológica.

É sempre bom aprender como as coisas chegaram a ser como são.

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This video is from the free online course:

Copyright e os Negócios das Indústrias Criativas

International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC)