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Third Annual ISHTIP workshop

Call for abstracts:

We invite you to submit an abstract to the Workshop addressing the broad ambitions of the society from all Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary perspectives. Papers that reflect global politics, colonial, post-colonial, Commonwealth or Asia-Pacific themes are especially welcome. Abstracts are due by 1 March 2011 and authors are requested to submit abstracts for a presentation of around 45 minutes in duration.

Please email abstracts for consideration by the ISHTIP Steering Committee to Professor Kathy Bowrey:

Important Dates:

  • Abstract submission deadline: 1 March 2011
  • Notification of acceptance: 31 March 2011
  • Final registration: 6 June 2011
  • Final deadline full paper submission: 14 June 2011
  • Workshop: 5-6 July 2011

Please circulate:

>>>> ISHTIP 2011 Workshop flyer <<<<


Conference Attendance

  • Aust$200.00 per delegate which includes: refreshments on arrival; morning and afternoon tea; and lunch on both days.

Conference Dinner

  • Aust$80.00 per person for dinner and drinks on Tuesday 5 July starting at 19:00.

To Register:

Complete the registration form attached and return it by fax or email.

>>>>> Registration Form <<<<<<

Enquiries: Clare Inwood

Phone: 61 (0)7 3735 3747


Zac Zimmer

Zac Zimmer,

“Commons: Copyleft as Training Ground”

In order to advance our thinking about the commons, we are faced with two needed and interrelated theoretical tasks: 1) to connect the recent enthusiasm around alternative models of intellectual property regimes–broadly grouped under the general concepts of copyleft and the creative commons–to the ur-historical struggle centered around the idea of enclosure (simply: the process of erasing the commons); 2) to move beyond US Constitutional Law-based critiques of the contemporary IP regime to an authentically global consideration of the implications of the contemporary enclosure of the immaterial world. The fundamental question is: what is the nature of human creativity, and what can it teach us about our concept of property, both intellectual and otherwise? In this sense, I would like to ask the question of the “geography of intellectual property” by connecting

the metaphorical use of the term “commons” in current IP debates to the radical history of struggle over land, commons, and enclosure. Asking this question will, I hope, create an opening through which the true history of the concept of the commons as a claim of radical inclusion can animate the current debate surrounding digital enclosures.

Matthias Wießner

Matthias Wießner,

The German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the International Copyright Regime”

East German politicians had to decide if the 1949-founded GDR should continue to be a member of the Berne Convention. The occupying power, the Soviet Union, refused participation in the multilateral Berne Convention. This raised the question of whether the GDR should follow the Soviet example. But if the GDR wanted to join the world economic scene, intellectual property law was also necessary for cultural and business relations, namely book trade with foreign countries.

In 1955, the GDR government gave diplomatic notice that the Berne Convention was “again applicable”, thus reviving the membership of the former German Empire by choosing a policy contrary to the Soviet Union. On the basis of international non-recognition of the GDR and the “Hallstein Doctrine” of West-Germany, most members of the Berne Convention declined to acknowledge the GDR declaration. Neither did the international office of the Berne Convention accept an official member status of the GDR despite its formal policy concerning the extension of the geographical reach of the convention. As the GDR did not receive any recognition other than from members of the Soviet bloc, its existence as a state was hardly ever accepted in the eyes of international law until the “Ostpolitik” of Chancellor Willi Brandt led to normalization of relations between the two Germanies. It was in the 1970s that the GDR was slowly accepted by an increasing number of Convention members.

The internationalization of cultural goods and copyright forced GDR-politicians to think and act beyond a purely national perspective and short-term political interests. The western-dominated International Copyright Regime remained the ultimate reference, even for the GDR.

Simon Stern

Simon Stern,

“From Author’s Right to Property Right”

This paper examines the arguments developed in eighteenth-century England for regarding copyright as a property right.  The Act of Anne (1710) uses the language of property sparingly, speaking of protection for “authors and proprietors of . . . books and writings,” and explaining the need to safeguard “property in every . . . book” to which the statute applies.  As Ronan Deazley has noted, the original draft of the statute was thoroughly drenched in proprietary language that the drafters minimized (On the Origin, 41).  The statute thus created the possibility of conceiving copyright in terms of rights, duties, or actions that need not be mapped onto a view of the text (or copy) as a form of property.

Commentators generally agreed that authors were entitled to decide whether and how to publish.  This most fundamental author’s right was set out by advocates of the Act of Anne (the author “has certainly a Right to choose the Hand by which he will convey his Work to the Publick”), by Blackstone (the author has a “right to dispose of [the] . . . work as he pleases”), and by De Grey C.J. in Donaldson (the author has the “sole Right to dispose of his Manuscript as he thinks proper,” but no “Right or Property . . . detached from [the] Manuscript”).  This paper will explore how this premise, concerning authorial control, was developed in proprietary terms, rather than supporting a view of copyright as protecting reputation or privacy.

Will Slauter

Will Slauter,

“How News Becomes Property”

Periodicals devoted to current events have been around since the beginning of the 17th century, and the first copyright statutes appeared in the 18th century, when many of our most fundamental ideas about authorship and ownership took shape. Yet no news writer or publisher seriously claimed a property in news reports until the middle of the 19th century. As the geography of news in America shifted from a decentralized model in which newspapers exchanged news with each other to a centralized model in which press agencies contracted with individual papers around the country, newspaper proprietors sought legal remedies against news piracy. They argued that news—the factual details of reports as well as their literary expression—could be owned. The attitudes of editors also changed during the 19th century, but most of them remained uninterested in finding a legal remedy for what they saw as an ethical problem—the need to give “credit where it is due.” Studying journalistic practice alongside case law reveals a basic distinction between news editors, who tended to claim that copying was beneficial to a democratic society because it enabled the news to spread, and business managers, who sought protection against competitors in order to guarantee a return on investment.

Katie Scott

Katie Scott,

“Mapping Plagiarism in a Regime of Privilege”

The charge of plagiarism dispenses with the calendar and substitutes the map.  It takes a moral position in relation to artistic idea, arguably judging it always already an inalienable possession.  The passage of time does not lessen the crime.  Rather plagiarism operates and is identified by forms of mapping: by the process of appropriative tracing or re-tracing of forms and by a mental mapping of point to point correspondences which leads to the recognition of repetition.  However, not all copies are plagiaries; their classification as such is historically contingent.  This paper asks whether, and in what ways the practices of the copy in the visual arts (painting, sculpture and printmaking) and charges of plagiarism were shaped by an increasingly conspicuous and efficacious regime of copy-privilege in France during the ancien régime.  It further considers the extent to which emergent notions of copyright may have been informed by plagiarism: both its discourses and its practices.