Origins of Copyright – Part 2 – The Statute of Anne

The Author of any Book or Books already Printed, who hath not Transferred to any other the Copy or Copies of such Book or Books, Share or Shares thereof, or the Bookseller or Booksellers, Printer or Printers, or other Person or Persons, who hath or have Purchased or Acquired the Copy or Copies of any Book or Books, in order to Print or Reprint the same, shall have the sole Right and Liberty of Printing such Book and Books for the Term of One and twenty Years, to Commence from the said Tenth Day of April, and no longer; and that the Author of any Book or Books already Composed and not Printed and Published, or that shall hereafter be Composed, and his Assignee, or Assigns, shall have the sole Liberty of Printing and Reprinting such Book and Books for the Term of fourteen Years, to Commence from the Day of the First Publishing the same, and no longer.

Origins of Copyright – Part 1 – Letters Patent

In 1499, what is believed to be the first English patent was awarded by King Henry VII to a Flemish man, John of Utynam, for a method of manufacture of stained glass. The patent awarded its holder a twenty year monopoly on the process within the borders of England. In the years following, the crown granted a great many of these patent monopolies. Historically, letters patent cannot be seen to be completely analogous to modern patent law, which grants a time-limited monopoly to the inventors of novel technologies. Letters patent were issued by the crown to favoured subjects – or those willing to pay for the privilege…