Primary Sources on Copyright

Primary Sources on Copyright, 1450-1900

This website, initially funded by the United Kingdom Arts and Humanities Council, uses primary source material from Italy, France, Germany, the UK, and the United States to trace the beginnings of copyright. For each of these geographical zones/jurisdictions, a national editor was responsible for “selecting, sourcing, transcribing, translating and commenting documents.” Documents found here include “privileges, statutes, judicial decisions, contracts and materials relating to legislative history, but also contemporary letters, essays, treatises and artefacts.” To get visitors oriented to the immense topic at hand, a compact interactive timeline has been provided. At the bottom of the page visitors should click on “The Timeline Interface” to view the full timeline. Moving the gray vertical bar over each 50 year time segment will show all the copyrights for that 50 year period. A high arc in the time period indicates a lot of activity for that time segment. There are colored dots to indicate the country the material is from, and rolling the mouse over each dot will reveal the full record. The site is loaded with information, and various ways to search for material. Searching by “date” and “place” is one way to search. See the menu on the left side of the page to see the available search and browse options, such as “country”, “original language”, “person”, and “place”.From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2009.

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