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Copyright as (Decentred) regulation: Digital piracy as a case study

Dent, C.ORCID: 0000-0002-1801-713X (2009) Copyright as (Decentred) regulation: Digital piracy as a case study. Monash University Law Review, 35 (2). pp. 348-375.


Copyright is a complicated area of law that impacts on the lives and practices of almost everyone in our society. The reach of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) adds to the challenge of encouraging compliance with the law. This article suggests that recourse should be made to an area of legal analysis that has focused on issues of compliance and enforcement – regulatory theory. While much of the work in that area examines the actions of governments and government agencies, a recent idea – that of decentred regulation – accommodates the diverse subject-matters and range of potential users of copyrighted material that are at the heart of the regulatory challenge. The theory, therefore, has the potential for furthering the understanding of how copyright law impacts on those who are subject to it. The argument is that the better the understanding of how copyright operates as a form of regulation, the better the chance of compliance. To assist in the application of the theory, the norms associated with ‘digital piracy’ will be used as an example, chosen because the term has become one of the more widely articulated norms relating to copyright infringement (such as via the anti-piracy advertisements on DVDs) and because the behaviour it seeks to control evidences all the problems that attach to the regulation of copyright.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Law
Publisher: Monash University. Faculty of Law
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