April 20, 2010 by Roger Fisher
Roger S. Fisher, Ph.D., J.D. teaches courses at York University on law, humanities and copyright policy. He is a member of the Bar of Ontario and is currently working on a project entitled “Antigone Rests Her Case: Law, Legal Discourses and Discourse Shifting in Sophocles’ Antigone.”
The law has always had an uneasy relationship with copies, from the story of Moses and the golden calf to contemporary instances of copyright being used by private citizens as an indirect means of censorship.1 Moses not only reprimanded the Israelites for making their golden calf, he also smashed the tablets of the law in anger (fortunately he went back and got new copies).2 The Israelites’ offence was making a similitude (copy) of a false god. The question of copying (the narrow focus of the doctrine of copyright) is no longer a question of theology, but it does invoke a broader question of the aesthetics (and uses) of imitation.