Speakers and Abstracts


Kathy Bowrey - Why does a Gramophone Maker Deserve a Copyright? The Role of Celebrity, Women and Consumer Markets in the Recording Industry

This paper looks at the role of intellectual property in the rise of a ‘technology company’, the British Gramophone Company (1897), which was linked to the large US firm, His Master’s Voice (HMV), and became EMI (1931-2012). Based upon company records, it advances an original feminist reading of industry dynamics, explaining the commercial strategy behind their efforts to obtain a celebrity endorsement from Nellie Melba (1861-1931), darling of the opera season at Convent Garden and the New York Metropolitan Theatre, and a role model for the modern woman. She represented a glamorous lifestyle, evoked establishment values yet, being colonial born, her success was attributable not only to her own talent, but also to the virtue of her personal endeavour reaping rewards. Melba was the first major diva to enter into a recording contract in 1904 and her connection was used to sell the new industry to a sceptical public.

Based upon a reading of Cambridge historian Peter Martland’s Recording History. The British Record Industry 1888-1931 Scarecrow Press, 2013) and a study of gramophone patent and trade mark registrations in the UK, it is argued that it was more the management of cultural agendas and the ideology of intellectual property rights that propelled the firm to success, than strategic management of any portfolio of legal rights. In advancing a feminist reading of the industry the chapter exposes the invasions of privacy and other abuses involved in the effort to recruit Melba and, what she, personally got out of this arrangement. It shows how this relationship with Melba and the celebrity of other recording artists was leveraged against music publishers to establish a novel kind of copyright for recording companies — an exclusive right to their sound recordings. The chapter concludes that the fixation on the deal as the heart of the music business — the contractual negotiations and the protection of defined intellectual property rights attached – comes from a gendered understanding of law and business. It allows the role of law to be scrutinised in an insular and self-protective context. This problem is discussed in terms of its relevance to recent studies of the lack of gender diversity in popular music. It is argued that addressing institutional discrimination is not about changing attitudes alone, but more critically considering the history of the legal objects and subjects that are produced in the music industry.

Professor Kathy Bowrey is a legal and cultural historian at the Faculty of Law & Justice, University of NSW, Australia. Her research focuses on big infrastructural issues affecting the circulation of knowledge, technology and culture, cutting across disciplinary boundaries between law, business and humanities. Her most recent works include Copyright, Creativity, Big Media and Cultural Value: Incorporating the Author, (Routledge, 2021) and Feminist Perspectives on Law, Law Schools and Law Reform. Essays in Honour of Professor Jill McKeough (Federation Press, 2021). She is a CoDirector of the International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property.


Marius Buning - Evaluations and Disregard: Technobureaucratic Expertise and the Production of Knowledge about Intellectual Property

Ever since the 1950s, gathering, monitoring and reporting information has been an integral part of the creation of European forms intellectual property law. This was reinforced with institutionalization, in 1994, of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO, formerly OHIM), one of the decentralized Agencies of the European Union created to harmonize the European internal market. Building on the work of Jessica Reyman (2012) and Tarleton Gillespie (2009) on the rhetoric of intellectual property, this essay takes stock of the various forms of collecting and disseminating IP data and argues that the use of a specific sort of language and the mobilization of specific images function as powerful rhetorical tools that shape our understanding of IP.

In particular, the essay examines the studies published by the EUIPO that quantify IPR infringement in different sectors (the “sectorial studies”) and the cross-cutting IP studies in which the Office participated, which include the “IP Perception study” and the “EU Customs report on border seizures of infringing goods”. Insight into the research design of these reports shows how the importance of IPRs is bureaucratically fabricated. Another area of interest are the EU-wide studies on the contribution of IPRs to the EU economy, carried out by the EUIPO through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights. It is based on these reports that, for instance, the impact of IPRs on the “creative industries” is measured. Although EUIPO reports have been extremely influential in shaping policy decisions, they have so far escaped scholarly attention. Instead, this essay takes their technobureaucratic bias as a point of departure for understanding how notions of fairness and morality in IP come to circulate in a global economy.

Marius Buning received his Ph.D. in History and Civilization from the European University Institute (2013) with a dissertation on the making of a patent system in the Dutch Republic. He has held positions or fellowships at the Freie Universität Berlin, Harvard University, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS), and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Creative IPR Consolidator project, at the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History at the University of Oslo.


Subhadeep Chowdhury - A Global History of Privileged Inventing: European Imperialism and Integration of Integration of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) 1886-1967 

This project will investigate the role and influence of nineteenth-century European colonial empires in the development of international treaties and institutions concerning the regulation of intellectual property rights (IPR) and their impact on the global shifts in the textile industries during the proposed timeline. It will explore the conceptual and historical routes via which IPRs either found legitimacy or became a contested domain in Europe and its colonies, particularly concerning the global footprint of the textile industry that emerged out of British India. The project shall involve an exhaustive archival study of documents related to the emergence and functioning of international regimes of IPRs including international treaties like the Paris Convention (1883) and the Berne Convention (1886) as well as reports of institutions like the Bureaux Internationaux Réunis pour la Protection de la Propriété Intellectuelle (BIRPI) established in 1893, and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) established in 1967. It will build upon the concept of ‘privileged inventing’ that I developed in my Master of Philosophy (MPhil) thesis to outline the patent system that developed in India from 1856 through 1888, not only as a product of a larger culture of privileges enjoyed by the British subjects in India but of those residing in London as well. This privilege can be conceptualised as an institutional right that was conferred by law to an inventor to enjoy exclusive benefits in the market their invention could find a presence in, as well as, in terms of the range of social privileges that one such inventor already had to have possessed to access the patent system in the colony. The project fundamentally aims to recast the historically existing rationale for IPRs claimed to be aimed at incentivizing and rewarding creative/ inventive labour in the societies that they exist.

Subhadeep Chowdhury is a Doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo. He completed his Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and MA in History from Ambedkar University, Delhi (AUD). His MPhil thesis titled, “A History of Privileged Inventing in Bengal: A Study of the Patenting System in India 1856 – 1888” analysed change and continuity in the development of the patent system as an institution in India and conceptualised ‘privileged inventing’ in terms of both monopolistic privileges in the market made possible by the colonial state and larger socio-economic privileges required to gain access to the patent system that emerged in nineteenth-century India. His paper on the contentious legal status of patent and proprietary medicines in late colonial India titled, “Medicine and Colonial Patent Law in India: A Study of ‘patent medicines’ and the Indian Patents and Designs Act, 1911 in early-twentieth-century India” was published in the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences in October 2020.


Giuliano D'Amico - Copyright History on the German-Italian Stage: The Struggle over Krieg im Frieden

In 1886 a Florentine theatrical agent named Pietro Galletti translated into Italian the play Krieg im Frieden (War in Times of Peace) by German playwrights Gustav von Moser and Franz von Schönthan, which he entitled Guerra in tempo di pace. In February 1887, the Italian Società degli autori (SIA) and concluded that Galletti’s translation was illegal; he had, in truth, translated from an unpublished play script, which the SIA held to be protected by a 1884 bilateral agreement between Italy and Germany. But in spite of that, Galletti continued marketing Guerra in tempo di pace for many years. In this paper, I will delve into this complex case of theatrical copyright jurisprudence and show how it is a good example of several key issues in European theatre history at the end of the 19th century. First, the extreme variation in the interpretation and application of copyright laws: although the SIA considered Galletti’s behaviour punishable by law, he was in fact able to continue marketing his translation. Second, the emergence of German realist theatre on foreign stages: after the Galletti controversy, Italian theatrical agents started to look at the German market with increasing interest, as the legal loopholes granted them favorable conditions when staging plays. Third, this controversy paved the way to the introduction of Ibsen’s plays in Italy, which occurred via Germany, thus directly contributing to the development of Italian theatrical history.

Giuliano D’Amico is an Associate Professor of Scandinavian literature at the University of Oslo’s Centre for Ibsen Studies. He has published widely on literary sociology and reception studies, including copyright history; see “Copyright”, in T. Rem and N. Fulsås, Ibsen in Context (2021) and “Man ejer ikke Bøger, som man ejer Hus – Bjørnson og opphavsrett”, in Liv Bliksrud et al., Den engasjerte kosmopolitt. Nye Bjørnson-studier, Oslo, Novus (2013).


Johan Larson Lindal - Federation or Corporation? CISAC and the Mechanical Rights Federation

By the early 1930s, mechanical-musical rights had become an increasingly interesting topic for composers, as record sales might compensate for the decline in sheet music. However, collectively organising composers around this cause was increasingly becoming contested ground with ideological and geopolitical implications. This paper aims to study the internal structure and development of the ‘Mechanical Rights Federation,’ a sub-committee within the Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) in the years preceding World War II. The Mechanical Rights Federation, referred to as CISAC’s ‘Third’ Federation, founded in 1932, formulated CISAC’s official stance vis-à-vis the record industry.

While the early history of multilateral organisations in music has been covered recently (see Sibille, 2016), the internal challenges of many of these organisations remain largely unexplored. Although CISAC’s early history and role in contemporary European politics – particularly the international policies of the Nazi-Fascist states – has been studied, many of its internal developments remain largely overlooked (studies include Dommann, 2019; Fleischer, 2015; and Martin, 2016). Drawing on CISAC’s rich congress protocols and its public bulletin Inter-Auteurs from 1933 until the outbreak of war, the paper explores how the Third Federation developed by re-organising its national member societies into closer collaboration with other international umbrella organisations while successfully influencing the domestic composition of mechanical rights societies in various member-states. This development occurred amidst declining record sales and increasing geopolitical instability, as well as the increasing dominance of Italian and German state-supported representatives within the Federation. The sources reveal how ideals of ‘corporatism’ and a ‘spirit of confederalism’ co-existed as foundations for solutions to the challenges to recorded music, advocated by different members of the Third Federation’s board, even as leadership was assumed by authoritarian officials.

Johan Larson Lindal is a PhD Candidate at Linköping University, Sweden: Department of Culture & Society (IKOS), division Tema Q (interdisciplinary research centre for Culture and Society), with 20th century music history as his main topic. His dissertation discusses the musical work concept and the movement of musical works through a microstudy of Ernst Krenek’s String Quartet no. 3, op. 20 1923-1940.


Dénes Legeza - What is behind the MP3? From Music Rolls to Collective Management of Mechanical Rights 

The Swiss watchmakers' music boxes were like Guttenberg’s codices: unique specimens only available to the rich. Edison's phonograph or Berliner’s gramophone have opened new perspectives for recording and replaying sound. This presentation deals with the appearance and international recognition of mechanical reproduction rights of musical works between 1870 and 1926, and their appearance in music publishing contracts. The first part of the presentation analyses the judicial practice of mechanical rights in the USA, Hungary and Austria. The second part of the presentation examines this new economic right’s impact on music publishing contracts and collective rights management. The presentation is based on research in Hungarian archives.

Dénes Legeza received his Ph.D. in Copyright History from the University of Szeged (2017) with a dissertation on the copyright and its tradability in Hungary between 1825 and 1952. He has been working in the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office since 2011 in various positions (2011-2016 professional advisor, 2017-19 deputy head of Copyright Department, 2019-present, head of Innovation Support and Information Department). He has been the vice president for copyright affairs at the Hungarian Industrial Property and Copyright Association since 2018.

Dénes is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Szeged and does research on historical and contemporary aspects of copyright, and on other forms of intellectual property. Since 2018, he has been teaching ‘Development of Copyright Law’ in the joint program of the TU Dresden and University of Szeged, LL.M. International Studies in Intellectual Property Law. He is a member of the research project on ’Development of Private Law in the Interwar Period’ (2021-2025; K 138618, Hungarian Scientific Research Fund – OTKA).


Katherine Mintie - Copyright Formalities in the 19th Century

Copyright formalities—the bureaucratic procedures that one needs to follow to enforce protection of a work in a particular jurisdiction—varied widely between nations in the nineteenth century, especially before the foundation of the Berne Convention. While seemingly unrelated to cultural norms and aesthetic practices, an examination of copyright formalities offers insight into how the fine arts were perceived of and valued in specific nations at the turn of the twentieth century. This paper will focus on different national positions regarding the notification requirement, a formality that impelled artists to mark their works with information about who held its copyright and when it was registered (e.g. Copyright 2021 by Katherine Mintie). This formality was extremely unpopular among visual artists, who thought that the notice disfigured their compositions.

While signatories to the Berne Convention—including cultural leaders like France–did away with this intrusive practice, the United States maintained the notification requirement into the twentieth century. The persistence of this practice in the United States led to debates among artists, collectors, and legal practitioners about the inferiority of American cultural values in comparison with those of Europe. As one American judge lamented in the 1905 case Werckmeister v. American Lithographic Co., “Many persons would regard it as a serious blemish, particularly foreigners, by whom the object of the requirement would not be understood.” Relying on court documents, legislative histories, and popular publications, this paper will suggest how copyright formalities both reflected and led to transformations in how art was made and valued in the US and Europe at the turn of the twentieth century.

This paper will also argue that aesthetic considerations should be taken seriously in current debates over re-implementing copyright formalities, including the notification requirement, as a means of better regulating intellectual property rights in the Digital Age.

Dr. Katherine Mintie is the Senior Researcher in Art History at the Lens Media Lab at Yale University. Her research interests include the history of copyright law as applied to the visual arts in the United States and the history of photography.


Minja Mitrovic - Collecting but not for the Collective: SACEM's Advocacy to Restrict Collective Rights and Keep an Independent Algeria in the Berne Union

During the 1960s, the international apparatus for intellectual property rights saw an intensified awareness of the vulnerability of expressions of folklore. Generally, Algerian folkloric expressions of music were not eligible for protection, but could by Algerian and French law be adapted and become objects of authors’ rights for the benefit of the adapter. Repertoires from indigenous communities in Algeria, like Kabyle, were sometimes misplaced this way.

Despite intensified attention to folklore throughout the 1960s, the French commitment to its protection seems arbitrary. At the crux of this arbitrariness is the question of performer´s rights, known as neighbouring rights. Authors´ rights societies had long feared that including performers as beneficiaries of the Berne Convention would weaken the place of the author. In all likeliness, this fear was shared by the French authors’ rights society Société des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs de musique (SACEM). France expressively opposed collective rights when negotiating the terms of the Rome Convention in years preceding 1961. However, litigations have shown that conventions for performers’ rights have secured some sort of remuneration for indigenous communities in which unauthorised fixations of performances were misappropriated. Scholars already point to the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC) being more applicable to countries possessing rich folkloric repertoires due to its stronger positioning of neighbouring rights. However, despite vast folkloric repertoires and an apparent optimism for neighbouring rights, Algeria stayed with the Berne Union after independence.

This paper aims at shedding light on SACEM’s role in the French advocacy to restrict collective rights in international conversations preceding 1961. Another objective is to investigate whether SACEM made efforts to pull Algeria towards staying with the Berne Union rather than joining the UCC. It will draw on a number of printed sources like Droit d’Auteur and SACEM: bulletin as well as UNESCO’s, SACEM’s and possibly CISAC’s archives.

Minja Mitrovic is a research fellow in the ERC Consolidator project, Creative IPR, at the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History at the University of Oslo. She is currently researching the history of French intellectual property rights in the 20th century from colonial perspectives, looking at relations between French royalty collecting agencies and Algerian musicians from the interwar period until the early years of Algerian independence. 

Minja has a master's in History from the University of Oslo, been co-editor of Fortid and held various research-based and administrative positions at the University of Oslo, including a role as project coordinator of the Creative IPR research project. 


Klaus Nathaus - Making Bureaucracy Work: How Points were Scored with Music at the Gesellschaft für Musikalische Aufführungs- und Mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte (GEMA) in the 1950s

Since the second half of the nineteenth century, collecting societies for music have been raising fees from music users for the public performance and recording of the titles they administer and distributing that income to their members. The fact that the use of music has been happening in a growing number of venues and media, from radio stations to bars and barber shops, required the administration of the musical to be highly efficient. This demand has been met with the bureaucracy of forms, inspector, catalogues and classifications. At the same time, however, collecting societies have been run as voluntary associations, a form of organisation where members’ interests reign supreme, often with open disregard for efficiency concerns.
The paper takes the German Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte (GEMA) in the 1950s as a case to look closer at the way bureaucracy was performed in a members’ organisation. Studying the strategies of music publishers to score points from performances and reproductions, it highlights the messiness of making bureaucracy work and explores the implications for the musical repertoire and the fairness of creative work.

Professor Klaus Nathaus is a social historian working on popular culture in Britain, (West) Germany and the US from the late 19th to the end of the 20th century. He received his PhD in 2008 and wrote his dissertation on the comparative history of leisure clubs and associations in Britain and Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries. Since then, he has held positions at Bielefeld University and at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh. He joined the  Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History at the University of Oslo in 2014. 


Anna Marie Skråmestø Nesheim - The Voice and the Machine: Performing Music and Theatre on the Early Radio (1921-1928)

In 1979, the unionist pioneer Mme Mercedes Bouton recollected the late 1920s as a time when the Union for French performers begun perceiving themselves as proprietors. Inventions like the phonogram, the gramophone, and the radio made possible the fixation and dissemination of musical and theatrical performances to an audience unprecedented in size and geography. In France, the late 1920s saw an increasing unemployment among performers, making questions of legal protection and fair remuneration poignant. This article explores performers’ self-conceptualisation as creators and places it in a broader context of negotiating author’s rights for composers and playwrights. The article asks: If performers demanded IP-protection in the 1920s, what was it that they needed protection from? And: What kind of IP-owner would a performer be?

Whereas recording has been subject to many historical and theoretical studies of musical performances, broadcasting in the early days of radio is less explored. The invention of the gramophone and the phonogram has served as points of departures for debates about the commodification of the performance. The sources and questions that this article builds on, offer another perspective, by emphasizing the importance of the technological quality of the early radio receivers. The radio as a moment of newness in the 1920s offers another perspective on the performance as well: By looking at parallel debates about IP-ownership on radio, this article suggests that performers mirrored ideas about IP-ownership that we today associate to playwrights and composers.

The article draws on digital sources published by WIPO, the Berne Union, and the Société des auteurs et compositeurs dramatiques, as well as archival material from Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the Archives Nationales, published by the Société des auteurs, compositeurs, et éditeurs de musique, the Département des Beaux-Arts, and the Union des artistes.

Anna Marie Skråmestø Nesheim is a research fellow in the ERC Consolidator project, Creative IPR, at the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History at the University of Oslo. She is currently researching how copyright (the so-called droit d'auteur) influenced creative performance in French theatres between 1895-1930, specifically focusing on the transition from theatre to film media, and on the role of actors, musicians and dancers during this time of change. 

Anna Marie has studied History and French at the University of Oslo and Sorbonne Université and received her master's degree in History in 2018. 


Véronique Pouillard - Authors’ Rights in Congo: Between SABAM and SONECA (1950s-1970s)

Authors in Congo made use of three different author’s rights societies to collect dues, the SABAM, based primarily in Belgium, to a lesser degree the SACEM, based in France, and from the 1960s, the SONECA, in Congo. This research examines the role of the European and the local societies, and the sources of author’s rights revenues, allowing to contextualize the narratives on the emergence of a music industry during the last decade of the Belgian colonial era (the 1950s), and the early postcolonial period, until the beginning of the regime of Mobutu. The activity of musicians in Congo during that period was ranging from traditional music, to genres inspired by a mix of traditional culture, of Anglo-Saxon, and Hispanic influences. Yet other musicians in Congo were engaged in religious music, and in classical music.

During the late colonial and early post-colonial eras in Congo, several, often overlapping  legal regimes regulated intellectual property rights for the creative industries. The colonial rules and legal system had a direct influence on the regime of authors’ rights in the Belgian colony (Congo) and in the territories under Belgian mandates (Rwanda and Burundi). National and international organizations and jurists worked on the internationalization of intellectual property rights frameworks, and attempted at taking into account the indigenous rights (droits coutumiers). Based on sources kept at the Africa Museum in Tervueren, the National Archives of France, and the department of Musicology at the Royal Library of Belgium, the paper examines the nature of the property regime created by the confluence of colonial right, indigenous right, and postcolonial developments. Its contextualization within the framework of a globalization of intellectual property rights in construction is discussed through the study of the participation of the delegates of Congo (and later on Zaïre) in the international conferences that aimed to harmonize intellectual property at the international level during the 1960s and the 1970s.

Professor Véronique Pouillard is a professor of Modern International History at the University of Oslo, acclaimed author, and Principal Investigator of the ERC Consolidator project, Grant 818523, Creative IPR - The History of Intellectual Property Rights in the Creative Industries (2019-2024).

She is currently writing a book on the history of the internationalization and the colonization of intellectual property and co-editing a volume in the Routledge Histories book series with Dr. Vincent Dubé-Senécal, titled The Routledge History of Fashion and Dress, 1800 to the Present. Prior, she has published books and articles in business and economic history, focusing on media, fashion, and the history of intellectual property rights. She recently authored Paris to New York: The Transatlantic Fashion Industry in the Twentieth Century (2021) and co-edited the Oxford Handbook of Luxury Business (2021).  

Véronique Pouillard, Vincent Dubé-Sénecal and Audrey Millet - Fashion’s Symbolic Value in Question: Dematerialization, Intellectual Property and Capitalism

This roundtable focuses on dress fashion as an object of study in history, paying particular attention to its multi-faceted influence and the contexts underlying its creation and dissemination. Beyond a history of fashion styles, the panelists will discuss the business of fashion and its relationship to intellectual property as well as its national, international and transnational contexts. At the heart of this discussion, the roundtable will revolve around the three books recently published by each panelist on the subject of fashion but each rooted in a different perspective. In turn, this will serve as a stepping-stone to highlight both the advantages and limits of each perspective in order to analyse fashion with the end goal being to look at the way each perspective can nourish one another to better grasp this object of study.

The books that will be at the roots of the discussions have all been published in 2021 and look at fashion from a distinct perspective. First, Audrey Millet’s Le livre noir de la mode. Création, production, manipulation (Paris: Les Pérégrines) looks at fashion from a critical perspective through the lens of social and economic history as well as the history of technology. Second, Véronique Pouillard’s Paris to New York: The Transatlantic Fashion Industry in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press) studies fashion from the vantage point of business history, looking at the roles of entrepreneurs, designers, and institutions. Third, Vincent Dubé-Senécal’s La mode française. Vecteur d’influence aux États-Unis (1946-1960) (Paris: Hermann) analyses fashion and its influence from the point of view of the history of international relations, looking at the diplomatic influence of fashion.

The three participants will discuss their own book by each answering the same set of five questions to serve as a starting point for a short exchange of views between the panelists and closing with questions from the public.

Vincent Dubé-Sénecal has a PhD in History from the Université de Montréal and is currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) research fellow at the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History at the University of Oslo. His current project, Fashion in IR: Dematerialized Fashion and French Couture Subsidy, looks at the role of fashion in French international relations and the country's interaction with the United States and the European Economic Community (EEC) in the 1960s and 1970s. Vincent is also co-editing a volume in the Routledge Histories book series with Professor Véronique Pouillard titled The Routledge History of Fashion and Dress, 1800 to the Present

Audrey Millet is a fashion historian, author and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Archaelogy, Conservation and History at the University of Oslo. Her current research project, MISS: Made in Sweatshops, investigates the role and treatment of female workers in the garment industry in Paris and Shanghai in the late 19th to late 20th Centuries. 

Audrey has previously held positions at the Université de Paris and the Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, in addition to being a Max Weber fellow at the European University Institute (2016-2017). She is the author of numerous books. Her most recent publication Le Livre noir de la mode. Création, production, manipulation was published in 2021 to critical acclaim. 

Professor Véronique Pouillard is a professor of Modern International History at the University of Oslo, acclaimed author, and Principal Investigator of the ERC Consolidator project, Grant 818523, Creative IPR - The History of Intellectual Property Rights in the Creative Industries (2019-2024).

For more information about Véronique please her abstract, Authors’ Rights in Congo: Between SABAM and SONECA (1950s-1970s).


Malte Zill - International Copyright Law in Fascist Europe: The Foundation of the CISAC

To this day, the Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d'Auteurs et Compositeurs (CISAC) is an important actor within the multilateral exchange among copyright collecting societies. It’s goal is the international harmonization of territorial copyright systems. Collecting societies such as the German GEMA, the English PRS and the French SACEM use the CISAC’s infrastructure to simplify the clearing of royalties across national borders and to consult on current developments in international and national copyright discourse. Its founding in 1926, however, occurred during times of expansion of fascist cultural policies – a legacy that continues to shape the umbrella organization today, as well as many of the copyright societies themselves, but that still awaits scholarly investigation. When the international organization was founded in Paris, the Società Italiana degli Autori ed Editori (SIAE) played an essential role as a representative of Fascist Italy. The regime saw the SIAE and copyright in general as instrumental for the coordination of the cultural sector and as a viable tool to raise the international profile of Mussolini's regime as a leading cultural nation, portraying itself as an ideal place for artistic productivity and freedom. Based on previously unpublished archival sources, the proposed paper will examine the Fascist collecting society's involvement in the founding of the CISAC and the lasting structural mark their representatives were able to successfully leave on the international umbrella organization of copyright collecting societies. In doing so, I follow the assumption that the SIAE was able to serve as a role model for collecting societies in Europe, not despite but because of its subjugation to the Mussolini regime – in sharp contrast to the propagated liberal orientation of the CISAC, which described itself as a ‘League of Nations in spirit’.

Malte Zill studied Historical and Systematic Musicology as well as Law at the University of Hamburg and is now pursuing his PhD at the University of Music and Theatre in Munich under Prof. Dr. Friedrich Geiger on the topic of "Die STAGMA im ‚Dritten Reich‘ – Die Instrumentalisierung des musikalischen Urheberrechts im europäischen Kontext". He received scholarships from the Doctoral Program in the Humanities at the University of Hamburg as well as the German Historical Institute in Rome and is currently funded by the Ettersberg Foundation for European Dictatorship Research. He is also active as a musician, instrumental teacher, and band coach.


Published Dec. 2, 2021 9:38 AM - Last modified Dec. 10, 2021 9:00 AM