Social norms interact with legal norms in various ways; the interaction between social and commercial norms among the publishing industry and copyright law are no exception. This talk will discuss the case of Hebrew authors in Mandate Palestine, under British rule (1917-48), focusing on the 1920s. While there was a formal copyright law in place, the British 1911 Copyright Act that was extended to Palestine in 1924, Hebrew authors and publishers developed an unstructured non-formal set of social, commercial norms, that supplanted the formal law. The talk, based on a chapter from a forthcoming book, Colonial Copyright: Intellectual Property in Mandate Palestine (OUP, Fall 2012), will illustrate this development, locate it on the background of a general model of Colonial Copyright, which is the legal transplant of copyright law, and discuss a yet-understudied feature of the much discussed romantic author: his or her national affiliation. We shall also discuss the conditions that enabled the social norms to emerge, and assess their potential for today's global copyright system.

For some background on the implementation and reception of British copyright law in Mandate Palestine, you may read a prior article by the speaker, available here: