Origins of Copyright – Part 3 – Advent of the Public Domain

As copyright protections under Anne began to expire, some printers began manufacturing and selling inexpensive copies of books which no longer enjoyed monopoly protection under the Statute, undercutting the prices being asked by the Company of Stationers member print houses. Company printers and booksellers continued to insist on the existence of a perpetual right to copy despite the limitation period in the Statute of Anne. They argued that while protection might be limited under the Statute, some species of eternal common law copyright must exist, and that the Statute did not function to extinguish that right…

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.