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Author Birkhold, Matthew H.,
Title Characters before copyright : the rise and regulation of fan fiction in eighteenth-century Germany / Matthew H. Birkhold.
Imprint Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2019.

View online
View online
Author Birkhold, Matthew H.,
Series Law and literature.
Law and literature (Oxford)
Subject Copyright -- Fictitious characters -- Germany -- History -- 18th century.
Fan fiction -- Law and legislation -- Germany -- History -- 18th century.
Law and literature -- Germany -- History -- 18th century.
German fiction -- 18th century -- History and criticism.
Description 1 online resource (307 pages) : illustrations.
Summary How did authors control the literary fates of fictional characters before the existence of copyright? Could a second author do anything with another author's character? Situated between the decline of the privilege system and the rise of copyright, literary borrowing in eighteenth-century Germany has long been considered unregulated. This book tells a different story. 'Characters before Copyright' documents the surprisingly widespread eighteenth-century practice of writing fan fiction literary works written by readers who appropriate preexisting characters invented by other authors and reconstructs the contemporaneous debate about the literary phenomenon. Like fan fiction today, these texts took the form of sequels, prequels, and spinoffs. Analyzing the evolving reading, writing, and consumer habits of late-eighteenth-century Germany, 'Characters before Copyright' identifies the social, economic, and aesthetic changes that fostered the rapid rise of fan fiction after 1750. Based on archival work and an ethnographic approach borrowed from legal anthropology, this book then uncovers the unwritten customary norms that governed the production of these works. 'Characters before Copyright' thus reinterprets the eighteenth-century literary commons, arguing that what may appear to have been the free circulation of characters was actually circumscribed by an exacting set of rules and conditions. These norms translated into a unique type of literature that gave rise to remarkable forms of collaborative authorship and originality. 'Characters before Copyright' provides a new perspective on the eighteenth-century book trade and the rise of intellectual property, reevaluating the concept of literary property, the history of moral rights, and the tradition of free culture.
Based on extensive archival work, Characters before Copyright shows that fan fiction proliferated in the eighteenth century and explains why this phenomenon emerged when it did.
Note Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page (viewed March 12, 2020)
Bibliography Note Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents Introduction -- PART I: The book market, the good reader, and the rise of fan fiction -- The stakes of fan fiction -- Customary norms -- Sanctions and strategies of control -- PART II: Fan fiction in the eighteenth-century literary landscape -- Fictional characters in the eighteenth-century literary commons -- The story continues: an interlude in lieu of a conclusion -- Appendix -- Works cited -- Index.
ISBN 0192567926 electronic book
9780192567925 electronic book
9780198831976 hardback
0198831978 hardback
OCLC # 1097974407
Additional Format Print version: Birkhold, Matthew H. Characters Before Copyright : The Rise and Regulation of Fan Fiction in Eighteenth-Century Germany. Oxford : Oxford University Press USA - OSO, 2019 9780198831976 (OCoLC)1076458933.

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