Originality is a cornerstone of contemporary copyright law; in order to receive protection, works must be ‘original’. One of the persistent challenges for the courts has been identifying when a copy of a work can itself be an original work. Before originality was even a statutory requirement, the House of Lords held in the case of Walter v. Lane (1900) that verbatim reports in The Times of speeches given by the politician Lord Rosebery were protected under the existing copyright legislation.
Walter v. Lane is a seminal copyright case still cited in 21st-century judgments. But it was also a principled personal conflict, with the Bodley Head publisher John Lane (1854-1925) and Liberal editor Charles Geake (1867-1919) on one side and Charles Frederic Moberly Bell (1847-1911), the Managing Director of The Times, on the other. This feud caused embarrassment and upset to Lord Rosebery himself, a friend to both Moberly Bell and Geake, who found himself caught in the middle. This talk will examine the historical context of Walter v. Lane, challenging other interpretations of its holding and considering its legacy.
Each year the OIPRC hosts a number of leading academics from around the world as part of its Invited Speaker Series. These events typically run from 5:15-6:45pm on Thursday evenings at St. Peter’s College; if the venue or time is different, it will be noted on the Events calendar. The Speaker Series consists of a presentation of about 45 minutes, followed by a Q&A session with the assembled group of academic staff, students (both undergraduate and graduate), researchers, and interested members of the public. Discussion is informal and includes participants from several disciplines, with a wide range of prior knowledge.
Refreshments and snacks are served at the conclusion of the discussion. All are welcome.
This year’s schedule evolves throughout the year, but a 2016 - 2017 listing is available here.