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Simon Stokes

Simon Stokes is a partner with Blake Morgan and leads their London technology team. His copyright practice spans software, databases, financial technology, images and publishing. Email

Copyright law is being challenged by disruptive technologies such as AI and blockchain, themes addressed in the recently published 5th edition of the author’s book Digital Copyright, on which this article is based.

Copyright is the property right the law gives authors/creators and those taking ownership from them to control the copying and other forms of exploitation of their creations or “works”. The traditional view is that copyright arose out of lobbying by printers to prevent the piracy of their books. So in one sense it was a response by vested economic interests to the growth of a new technology. The first UK copyright statute dates back to 1709. The current statute, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (“CDPA”), dates from 1988. A lot may have changed in 300 years or so but it remains the case that those who exploit their creativity (or that of others) continue to use copyright to fight a battle against piracy and the pirates become ever more sophisticated in their approach.

Digitisation is yet another new technology copyright is coming to terms with.