On the Origin of the Right to Copy: Charting the Movement of Copyright Law in Eighteenth Century Britain (1695-1775)

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Hart Publishing, 2004 - 261 pages
Taking as its point of departure the lapse of the Licensing Act 1662 in 1695, this book examines the lead up to the passage of the Statute of Anne 1709 and charts the movement of copyright law throughout the eighteenth century, culminating in the House of Lords decision in Donaldson v Becket (1774). The established reading of copyright's development throughout this period, from the 1709 Act to the pronouncement in Donaldson, is that it was transformed from a publisher's right to an author's right; that is, legislation initially designed to regulate the marketplace of the bookseller and publisher evolved into an instrument that functioned to recognise the proprietary inevitability of an author's intellectual labours. The historical narrative which unfolds within this book presents a challenge to that accepted orthodoxy. The traditional analysis of the development of copyright in eighteenth-century Britain is revealed as exhibiting the character of long-standing myth, and the centrality of the modern proprietary author as the raison d'Ítre of the copyright regime is displaced.
 

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Contents

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Copyright

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Page 245 - An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of printed Books in the Authors or Purchasers of such Copies during the Times therein mentioned...
Page 249 - Action may plead the General Issue and give the special Matter in Evidence...
Page 249 - And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Action or Suit shall be commenced or brought against any Person or Persons...
Page 246 - ... published or exposed to sale, contrary to the true intent and meaning of this Act; the one moiety thereof to the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors, and the other moiety thereof to any person or persons that shall sue for the same, to be recovered in any of Her Majesty's Courts of Record at Westminster, by action of debt...
Page 247 - ... witnesses before the Lord Chancellor or Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of Great Britain, the...

About the author (2004)

Ronan Deazley is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Durham.

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