Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Intellectual Property Journal



First Page



copyright, copyright theory, property theory, intellectual property, copies of copyright works

Last Page



Copyright laws throughout the world are copyright holder centric and present a very fragmented source to comprehend the rights of users, and in particular of consumers owning copies of copyrighted works. Although in recent years, a growing number of commentators have worked towards defining the place of users in copyright law, little attention has been devoted to the nature and justifications of copy ownership of copyrighted works. This paper applies property and copyright theory to define and justify the existence of copy ownership of copyrighted works. It seeks to carve out in clearer terms the place of copy ownership legally and normatively, to offer a counterbalance to a predominant copyright holder centric approach to copyright law. Part One of this paper lays the theoretical framework of property and copyright theory. Part Two applies the theoretical framework to define the nature of the copy of a copyrighted works as well as its justifications. It explores the ramifications of copyright acting as a property-limitation rule to copy ownership, and how copy ownership can also act as a property-limitation rule of copyright.

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