This volume conceives a new history of copyright law that has its roots in a wide range of norms and practices. The essays reach back to the very material world of craftsmanship and mechanical inventions of Renaissance Italy where, in 1469, the German master printer Johannes of Speyer obtained a five-year exclusive privilege to print in Venice and its dominions. Along the intellectual journey that follows, we encounter John Milton who, in 1644 accused the English parliament of having been deceived by the ‘fraud of some old patentees and monopolizers in the trade of bookselling’ (i.e. the London Stationers’ Company).
Later revisionary essays investigate the regulation of the printing press in the North American colonies as a provincial and somewhat crude version of European precedents, and how, in the revolutionary France of 1789, the subtle balance that the royal decrees had established between the interests of the author, the bookseller, and the public, was shattered by the abolition of the privilege system. Some of the essays also address the specific evolution of rights associated with the visual and performing arts.
The volume is a companion to the digital archive Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
Since publication this book has been viewed over 11000 times. Last updated March 2013.
Title: Privilege and Property
Subtitle: Essays on the History of Copyright
Editors: Deazley, Ronan
Publication date: June 2010
Number of pages: xii + 438
Dimensions: 6.14” x 9.21” | 234mm x 156mm
Illustrations: 11 black and white
BIC Subject Codes: LNRC (Copyright law), HBTB (Social & cultural history)
Privilege and Property: Essays on the History of Copyright edited by Ronan Deazley, Martin Kretschmer and Lionel Bently is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
The History of Copyright History: Notes from an Emerging Discipline
Martin Kretschmer, with Lionel Bently and Ronan Deazley
1. From Gunpowder to Print: The Common Origins of Copyright and Patent
2. ‘A Mongrel of Early Modern Copyright’: Scotland in European Perspective
Alastair J. Mann
3. The Public Sphere and the Emergence of Copyright: Areopagitica, the Stationers’ Company, and the Statute of Anne
4. Early American Printing Privileges. The Ambivalent Origins of Authors’ Copyright in America
5. Author and Work in the French Print Privileges System: Some Milestones
6. A Venetian Experiment on Perpetual Copyright
7. Copyright Formalities and the Reasons for their Decline in Nineteenth Century Europe
Stef van Gompel
8. The Berlin Publisher Friedrich Nicolai and the Reprinting Sections of the Prussian Statute Book of 1794
9. Nineteenth Century Controversies Relating to the Protection of Artistic Property in France
10. Maps, Views and Ornament: Visualising Property in Art and Law: The Case of Pre-modern France
11. Breaking the Mould? The Radical Nature of the Fine Arts Copyright Bill 1862
12. ‘Neither Bolt nor Chain, Iron Safe nor Private Watchman, Can Prevent the Theft of Words’: The Birth of the Performing Right in Britain
13. The Return of the Commons – Copyright History as a Common Source
14. The Significance of Copyright History for Publishing History and Historians
15. Metaphors of Intellectual Property
William St Clair
Lionel Bently and Martin Kretschmer are joint project directors of Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900).
William St Clair's The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period is linked, in an online publishing blog, to the current copyright debates and Google's attempted takeover. You can read the post here.
Privilege and Property is a companion to the digital archive Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
"This is a most valuable, sometimes provocative, always interesting contribution to the construction of knowledge of the history of copyright [...] Buy it, read it and copy it to your friends."
(Archive for Copyright and Media Law), Vol 2 (2011)
"...extremely rigorous and thoroughly researched, with an impressive apparatus of bibliographical references."
You can read the full review on page 19 here.
"...I'm intrigued both by the prospect of a good, scholarly read and by the business model on which this title is based. With luck, it should maximise exposure of the contributors to their readers while also capturing a chance to secure some income from reasonable pricing plus a flexible set of options such as only the internet can provide. This could be the ideal Christmas stocking filler for the copyright enthusiast who has everything..."
In the Times Literary Supplement (6 August 2010), Jonathan Bate includes in his article on copyright law, ‘Fair enough?’ a discussion of Privilege and Property.