Copyright Law Established on This Day in 1710

April 10, 2014
Amy Wilson
Common Sense Media
San Francisco, CA
CATEGORIES Digital Citizenship, Digital Literacy

The Writer's Almanac, produced by American Public Media and hosted by Garrison Keillor, today reminds us that it was on this day in 1710 that the first law regulating copyright was established in Great Britain. It marked the first time that authors could truly own their work. The original act was called the Statute of Anne and read, in part:

.. [T]he 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,... 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;...

Celebrate this historic day by teaching one of our lessons on creative credit and copyright, or show our latest Copyright and Fair Use Animation video!