oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The historical development of civil copyright remedies in selected commonwealth jurisdictions



This article traces the historical development of the remedies available when infringement of rights under copyright occurs. The development in the four commonwealth jurisdictions of England, Australia, Canada and South Africa is briefly stated and compared. The reason for embarking on such an exercise is twofold. Firstly, relief for copyright infringement is traditionally problematic, and has frequently been based on antiquated remedies originating in the division between English common law and equity. A survey of how these remedies originated and developed might therefore be of use to determine which, if any, remain relevant. Secondly, in the South African context, such a survey will assist in determining whether any of these remedies could apply in South Africa, which has a totally different common law to that of the other jurisdictions. The emphasis throughout will therefore be placed on these remedies, rather than on the development of the rights to which they attach.


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