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16 Colum.-VLA J.L. & Arts 1 (1991-1992)
The 1992 Horace S. Manges Lecture - People or Machines: The Bern Convention and the Changing Concept of Authorship

handle is hein.journals/cjla16 and id is 11 raw text is: The 1992 Horace S. Manges Lecture -
People or Machines: The Berne Convention and
the Changing Concept of Authorship*
by Sam Ricketson
Talk of crisis and upheaval has marked recent discussions and debates
on the current state and future prospects of national and international
copyright laws. The language of metaphor has always been popular, as
commentators have sought to describe the challenges that confront cre-
ators of literary and artistic works. One highly experienced observer has
spoken of Disquieting Reports from the Maginot Line of Authors'
Copyright.' Another, Professor Kernochan, the organizer of the present
lecture, has remarked bleakly, One feels that darkness may descend at
any moment in this area.2 The pervading impression is one of gloom
and doom, as the defenders of authors' rights, like King Canute of old,
try vainly to hold back the rising tide of modernity and the encroach-
ments of the machine age.
The language of Sturm und Drang, however, should not blind us to the
fact that the crisis is a real, not imagined, one. Copyright law, both at
the national and international level, is now at a very critical stage in its
development. This is not to deny that there have been other significant
crisis points in its existence-the struggle between developed and
This is a revised version of the lecture which I delivered at Columbia University on
February 25, 1992. The revisions, and some additional material, have been incorporated,
following the very helpful suggestions and criticisms made by Professor Jane Ginsburg and
some of the students in her J.D. copyright course while I was still at Columbia in the days
following the lecture. However, the central thesis put forward in the lecture remains
' Sir Keith Aickin Professor of Company Law, Monash University, Victoria, Australia.
© 1991 by Sam Ricketson
1. Mihhly Ficsor, Disquieting Report from the Maginot Line of Authors: Technological
Progress and Crisis Tendencies in Copyright, 18 COPYRIGHT 104 (1982). See also to similar
effect: David Ladd, To Cope with the World Upheaval in Copyright, 19 COPYRIGHT 289
(1983); Andr6 Kerever, Is Copyright an Anachronism? 19 COPYRIGHT 368 (1983); Walter
Dillenz, What Is and To Which End Do We Engage in Copyright? 12 COLuM.-VLA J.L. &
ARTS 1 (1987).
2. John M. Kernochan, Imperatives for Enforcing Authors'Rights, 11 COLUM.-VLA J.L.
& ARTS 587 (1987).

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