Copyright Is Like QWERTY: Locked-In and Retrospective

Research output: Contribution to specialist publication or newspaperNewspaper article


The term ‘path dependence’ is generally used to describe the development of technological standards and how they ‘lock in’ a given technical solution. The QWERTY keyboard is often given as an example of path dependence – the fact that the costs of changing the keyboard to a better, more efficient solution, hinders change. The same can be said about much of the copyright legislation today, but then at the expense of privacy and other rights.

Copyright laws keep on being ‘copied’, even though there are seemingly better solutions out there. The industries that depend on copyright are not in favor of change because this would mean that they would lose authority and power, and possible revenue. The worst consequence of this “path dependence” is that copyright interests gain at the expense of everyone’s privacy.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law and Society


  • copyright, Path dependence, lock-in, privacy
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publication or newspaperBlogpost at the weblog TorrentFreak
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Apr 24
Publication categoryPopular science

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