The History of Copyright: A Critical Overview With Source Texts in Five Languages (a forthcoming book by Karl-Erik Tallmo)

Home | E-mail | Quotations



The Statute of Anne, 1710 (1/6)

(transcription below image)

This is the first copyright act in the world, the British Statute of Anne, from 1710. This facsimile is taken from British Library, 8 Anne c. 19. Several monographs on copyright date this text to 1709. However, 1710 is the correct date, see John Feather, The Book Trade in Politics: The Making of the Copyright Act of 1710, "Publishing History", 19(8), 1980, p. 39 (note 3). Transcription from fraktur is available below the image. Words in roman type in the original are formatted here as italics.

Anno Octavo
Annæ Reginæ.

An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by Vest-
ing the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or
Purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein

Whereas Printers, Booksellers, and other
Persons, have of late frequently taken
the Liberty of Printing, Reprinting,
and Publishing, or causing to be Print-
ed, Reprinted, and Published Books,
and other Writings, without the Con-
sent of the Authors or Proprietors of
such Books and Writings, to their
very great Detriment, and too often
to the Ruin of them and their Fami-
lies: For Preventing therefore such
Practices for the future, and for the
Encouragement of Learned Men to Compose and Write use-
ful Books; May it please Your Majesty, that it may be En-
acted, and be it Enacted by the Queens most Excellent Majesty,
by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and
Temporal, and Commons in this present Parliament Assembled,
and by the Authority of the same, That from and after the
Tenth Day of April, One thousand seven hundred and ten, 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 Book-
sellers, 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 four-


Next page

Home | E-mail | Quotations