Revisiting the Royal Commission on Copyright



The Royal Commission on Copyright, which reported in , had the formidable task of scrutinizing the existing copyright regime from fundamental principles to minor details—on an international scale as well as on a domestic. The resulting Report and Minutes informed copyright debates in their time and decades after; they are now valuable resources for today's copyright scholars and book historians. This article addresses some modern accounts of the Commission in the academic literature on copyright and publishing history. In particular, it analyses the contribution of Sir Louis Mallet, placing it in the context of his broader economic views and free trade ideology in order to consider critically the uses that recent works of copyright history have made of Mallet's Dissent and the Commission Report.