Words in Copyright Act vs Time
I have run some numbers on how the size of the (Australian) Copyright Act has changed over the past century or so. With one exception, these numbers were generated automatically from electronic versions of the legislation. Before counting the words I stripped out the table of contents and everything from “The Schedule” on. This is because a bigger Act automatically means a larger table of contents and an older Act means more notes about when sections came into force, were repealed etc. The one exception is the Copyright Act of 1905, a word count for which was estimated by manually counting words on 3 pages, generating an average per page and multiplying by the number of pages. There are a couple of versions of the Act from between 1905 and the 1970s which are not plotted (as I don’t have access to a full copy of them) but everything I could find from 1970 on is there.
The Statute of Anne (1709) has about 2,500 words in it. It took roughly 200 years to reach 7,500 (in our 1905 Act). For your reference, the NSW Conveyancing Act 1919 No6 (which actually does deal with property) has about 82,000 words (ie about the number of words added to the Copyright Act in the last 10 years). We might speculate whether there will be enough paper in the world to even print the Act in 20 years’ time.
Here is the period from 1992
And, for a laugh, the BSAA reported piracy rate (from the annual reports produced by IDC etc) overlaid. I would not want to endorse the BSAA numbers as they don’t seem to me to be well founded and any variation in them can easily be explained by changes in IDC’s sampling procedures/calculation methods. In addition, they are advocacy documents so need to be taken with a grain of salt.
It is hard to see any relationship between the amount of legislation and the reported rate of piracy (which seems to be in a long term, albeit slow, decline). To the extent there is a relationship, the reported rate seems to lead changes in legislation.