Characters Before Copyright: The Rise and Regulation of Fan Fiction in Eighteenth-Century Germany

Author:   Matthew H. Birkhold (Assistant Professor of German, Assistant Professor of Law, The Ohio State University)
Publisher:   Oxford University Press
ISBN:  

9780198831976


Pages:   320
Publication Date:   09 May 2019
Format:   Hardback
Availability:   To order   Availability explained
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Characters Before Copyright: The Rise and Regulation of Fan Fiction in Eighteenth-Century Germany


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Overview

Before copyright existed, how did authors and publishers regulate fan fiction? Fan fiction describes texts written by readers who use characters invented by other authors, like the countless Harry Potter stories posted online today. Based on extensive archival work, Characters before Copyright shows that fan fiction proliferated in the eighteenth century and explains why this phenomenon emerged when it did. At this time, no intellectual property laws existed in Germany. As a result, literary borrowing in the period has been considered unregulated--a time of 'free culture' when characters could be used by all. Instead, this book reveals the unwritten, customary norms that actually governed the production and consumption of fan fiction. It changes our understanding of the history of literature and authorship, moral rights, and intellectual property.

Full Product Details

Author:   Matthew H. Birkhold (Assistant Professor of German, Assistant Professor of Law, The Ohio State University)
Publisher:   Oxford University Press
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Dimensions:   Width: 16.10cm , Height: 2.50cm , Length: 23.80cm
Weight:   0.636kg
ISBN:  

9780198831976


ISBN 10:   0198831978
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   09 May 2019
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  College/higher education ,  Professional & Vocational ,  Postgraduate, Research & Scholarly
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Availability:   To order   Availability explained
Stock availability from the supplier is unknown. We will order it for you and ship this item to you once it is received by us.

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Matthew Birkhold has written a fascinating book about the upsurge in eighteenth century Germany of what can only be called fan fiction . Given the absence of copyright law at this time, it was perfectly legal for dozens or even hundreds of authors to write new adventures for such famous characters as Werther and Lotte from Goethe's The Sufferings of Young Werther. In short, writers and readers shared a kind of joint interest in thecharacters they created and re-created. But that doesn't mean that there were no rules: as Birkhold shows, a set of subtle yet powerful norms divided permitted from forbidden uses of beloved characters. In short, Birkhold's book documents another fascinating cases of order without law * Christopher Sprigman, NYU Law School *


Author Information

Matthew H. Birkhold is an assistant professor of German at the Ohio State University, where he also holds an appointment at the Moritz College of Law. After completing his Ph.D. at Princeton University and J.D. at Columbia Law School, Dr Birkhold worked as an attorney-adviser for the US Department of State. His research and teaching examine the interrelations of law, culture, and the humanities.

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