Edison Carter wrote:
Rick Falkvinge (Piratpartiet) to pp.international
They managed to get their monopoly powers back in the so-called Statute
of Anne, enacted in 1709 and taking effect on April 10, 1710. One
particularly nasty item is that they managed to classify this monopoly
as property, with the target of strengthening its protection --
classifying it as property would put the bill into Common Law, rather
that Case Law, which any judge could nullify.
I found one mention of 'property' in the statue, and it wasn't a direct claim that ideas are property, but rather a reference to ideas as such while discussing another issue. I'm not sure how much can be made of this. AFAIK common law is not set by legislation, so I'm not sure what's meant here.
From what I understand from Wikipedia:
In Millar v Taylor 1769, it was ruled that
1/ there was pre-existing copy-right provided by common law, and
2/ the Statute of Anne did not nullify this, but rather supplemented it
In Donaldson v Beckett 1774 this was overturned, but there is controversy over whether it was 1 or 2 above that was overturned. It seems to me that in Donaldson v Beckett the judges were asked an "Are you still beating your wife?" type question (i.e. which ever way you answer it, it can be concluded that you were previously beating your wife) and the response has been taken to suggest that there was a pre-existing copy-right provided by common law that was later nullified.