Intellectual Property in Ancient Rome
Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity
Intellectual Property Law
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AbstractThe current study concerns concepts of intellectual property in the Roman tradition first century BCE through forth century CE. It complements a previous study published in the Journal of the Copyright Society of the USA (Summer 2002, vol.49, No.4) which dealt with ancient Athenian concepts of intellectual property. The current study as in the earlier study of the Athenian tradition shows that ancient concepts of intellectual property are remarkably similar to modern concepts, as embodied in American case law (Title 17) and guidelines on plagiarism formulated by the modern academic establishment. Our plan of investigation is as follows: First we examine Roman charges of plagiarism or intellectual theft and then compare the grounds on which the charges are made with case law from landmark decisions in American copyright law. Further we discuss these charges in light of the Modern Language Association guidelines on what constitutes plagiarism or literary theft.