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Chapter 1. Patents, Copyrights, and Trad... > The History of Copyrights

The History of Copyrights

Copyright law originated in England. Before the year 1710, there was a monopoly on printing presses and therefore heavy censorship. That year, however, Parliament ratified the Statute of Anne to address mounting concern about ownership and censorship. This act gave the authors of works a 14-year term of fixed protection that could be renewed and extended.

American Copyright Law Was First Seen in the Copyright Act of 1790

The following timeline is presented by the Association of Research Libraries, Washington, DC as noted at http://arl.cni.org/info/frn/copy/timeline.html. The timeline is a work-in-progress and said to be frequently updated. The original author recognizes Stanley Katz, Director, Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, for reading and offering valuable advice on this timeline.


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