08 December 2005

Copyhold

Copyhold has its origin in mediaeval England. Copyhold was tenure of land according to the custom of the manor, the "title deeds" being a copy of the record of the manor court. In other words, under customary law under a moral economy.

Copyholds were gradually enfranchised (turned into ordinary holdings of land—either freehold or 999-year leasehold) during the 19th century. Legislation in the 1920s finally extinguished the last of them.

Here we wish to reinvigorate the concept of Copyhold by using it as a basis of a new right of access to use and modify information and knowledge which does not rely on copyright, licences or such like. Thus it would be Sui Generis, a form of property-right which gives moral rights to the creator (as author) but crucially no restriction no copies or distribution.

It would be analagous to holding the moral rights in a piece of work (so that you as creator would be attributed) but allow the equivalent of public domain (Res Nullis) use of the work.

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