From Maimonides to Microsoft: The Jewish Law of Copyright Since the Birth of Print

Hardcover | March 17, 2016

byNeil Weinstock Netanel

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Jewish copyright law is a rich body of jurisprudence that developed in parallel with modern copyright laws and the book privileges that preceded them. Jewish copyright law owes its origins to a reprinting ban that the Rome rabbinic court issued for three books of Hebrew grammar in 1518. Itcontinues to be applied today, notably in a rabbinic ruling outlawing pirated software, issued at Microsoft's request.In From Maimonides to Microsoft, Professor Netanel traces the historical development of Jewish copyright law by comparing rabbinic reprinting bans with secular and papal book privileges and by relaying the stories of dramatic disputes among publishers of books of Jewish learning and liturgy. Hedescribes each dispute in its historical context and examines the rabbinic rulings that sought to resolve it. Remarkably, the rabbinic reprinting bans and copyright rulings address some of the same issues that animate copyright jurisprudence today: Is copyright a property right or just a right toreceive fair compensation? How long should copyrights last? What purposes does copyright serve? While Jewish copyright law has borrowed from its secular law counterpart at key junctures, it fashions strikingly different answers to those key questions.The story of Jewish copyright law also intertwines with the history of the Jewish book trade and with steadfast efforts of rabbinic leaders to maintain their authority to regulate that trade in the face of the dramatic erosion of Jewish communal autonomy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.This book will thus be of considerable interest to students of Jewish law and history as well as copyright scholars and practitioners.

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Jewish copyright law is a rich body of jurisprudence that developed in parallel with modern copyright laws and the book privileges that preceded them. Jewish copyright law owes its origins to a reprinting ban that the Rome rabbinic court issued for three books of Hebrew grammar in 1518. Itcontinues to be applied today, notably in a rab...

Neil Weinstock Netanel is the Pete Kameron Endowed Chair in Law at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law where he writes and teaches in the areas of copyright, international intellectual property, and media and telecommunications. Prior to joining UCLA, Netanel served for a decade on the faculty of the University of...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:March 17, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195371992

ISBN - 13:9780195371994

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Table of Contents

PrefaceNote Regarding Translation and Transliteration1. Introduction: Microsoft in Bnei Brak2. From Privileges and Printers' Guilds to Copyright3. Rabbinic Reprinting Bans: Between Ktav Da'at and Privilege4. Maharam of Padua versus Giustiniani: Rival Editions of Maimonides' Mishneh Torah5. Rabbinic Reprinting Bans Take Hold6. From a Yiddish Bible to a German Prayer Book7. Internecine Battles and the Slavuta Talmud8. Moving Beyond Reprinting Bans: From Property to the Law of the Sovereign9. The Present-Day Debate: Is Copyright Infringement "Stealing"?BibliographyGlossaryIndex

Editorial Reviews

"From Maimonides to Microsoft is an outstanding achievement, drawing on recent advances in the history of printed books, the academic study of rabbinic law, and comparative legal studies to present a comprehensive overview of the development of a Jewish law of copyright. Netanel offers thefirst thorough discussion of key concepts in Jewish discourse that emerged to contend with the new technology and business of print, which differed so dramatically from the world of manuscript production. His account of contemporary rabbinic debates regarding new digital media further illuminateshow rabbinic traditionalists have grappled with rapid technological change." --Adam Shear, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, and Director of Jewish Studies, University of Pittsburgh, and Founding Convener, Lillian Goldman Scholars Working Group on the Jewish Book, Center for Jewish History