2020. July 14., Tuesday

II. WIPS on metaphors and copyright law

The InfoCopy Student Research Group organized the II. WIPS (Workshop on Intellectual Property Law in Szeged) on February 8, 2018. The keynote speaker of the event was Stefan Larsson, lecturer of the University of Lund. He has introduced the essence of his book "Conceptions in the Code", which was published by the Oxford University Press in 2017.


Stefan Larsson is one of the leading legal sociologists in Sweden, who has recently focused his research on the effects of the development of digital society on law (norm) and technology (code). As a part of that he wrote and published his book "Conceptions in the Code" by the Oxford University Press. In his book and on his presentation on the WIPS, he has discussed the effects of the terminology (metaphors) used by the society on the development of law. In his view, it is very hard to talk about the law without metaphors and if we do not talk about it as a "tangible system". Larsson has discussed this concept via the analysis of copyright law, with a special focus on the famous (or notorious) The Pirate Bay case of Sweden. Larsson has noted that the reference to file-sharers as "pirates", who are "thieves" of the ownership interest of copyright holders inevitably leads to disproportionate treatment of persons sued by rightholders. He has noted in his presentation that this treatment is not necessary. The legal concepts shall react on the changes of the society. Hence he has analyzed the changes of the concept of property. Referring to Karl Renner, he has noted that property has not changed radically in terminological meaning in the last centuries; however, its content has been significantly expanded in several waves. Larsson has explained why he believes that such a change might occur again in the light of the social and technological changes in the 21st century.


As a part of the WIPS, Péter Mezei, Associate Professor of the Szeged Law School has explained his own understanding of metaphors and their use in the context of file-sharing. Furthermore, he has reflected on several pieces of Larsson's book. Associate Professor Mezei has discussed examples for the misunderstanding of technological changes by notable judges, or the most recent challenges of the so-called digital exhaustion doctrine.

In sum, the members of the audience have seen a provocative workshop, having importance for the practical side of law as well. The WIPS series will continue in May 2018 with the visit of Professor Emeritus Rainer Oesch from Helsinki, Finland.