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Literary Copyright Reform in Early Victorian England
The Framing of the 1842 Copyright Act


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Part of Cambridge Studies in English Legal History

  • Date Published: March 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521174503

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About the Authors
  • Talfourd's first Copyright Bill was presented in 1837, and the public and Parliamentary controversy it provoked is reflected in contemporary pamphlets, correspondence, and hundreds of petitions presented to Parliament, as well as in the changing aims of the bill itself. In addition to the expected debate as to the nature of literary property and the economic effects on the publishing trade, discussion of copyright law raised broader questions; the relative values of literature and science, the importance of public education, the dangers of monopolies, and the nature of public interest. In a period of social, political and technological upheaval, these were incendiary matters. Talfourd audaciously demanded not only a considerable extension of copyright term, but also international protection. This book explores and sets in context the making of the Copyright Act 1842, using it to illuminate enduring issues and difficulties in the legal concept of intellectual property.

    • Was the first account of the making of the 1842 Copyright Act
    • Sets the act in its legal and historical context, with particular relation to the contemporary radical political agenda
    • Offers thorough-going analysis of the many bills from 1837 onwards which formed the bases of the act
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    • Winner of the Yorke Prize

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521174503
    • length: 314 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 140 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: the 1842 Act - passage and position
    Copyright - its nature and history
    Talfourd and his aims
    Conflicting rationales
    2. Petitions and copyright: Petitioning - parliamentary history and background
    forms and formalities
    volume and subjects
    3. Critics in Parliament: The Radical nexus
    Political cross-currents
    4. Critics in the book trade I: print workers and their allies: Printers
    Master Printers
    The dispute spreads - journeymen 1839–40
    The process of diffusion
    Associated trades
    Other print-related specialisms
    Supporters of cheap print
    Camp followers
    5. Critics in the book trade II: publishing and publishers: the book trade and authors
    Cheap publications: the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge
    Cheap Publications - the book trade
    Co-operation and organisation
    The campaign against the bills
    Publisher's petitions
    Other means of protest
    6. The campaign in the daily press
    London dailies
    The Times
    The Morning Chronicle
    The Morning Post
    Evening Papers
    The Globe
    The Courier
    7. Authors and the beginnings of authors' organisations: Southey
    Wordsworth: campaign manager
    The making of the case for the bill: petitions in favour
    The argument in the periodicals
    9. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Catherine Seville, University of Cambridge


    • Winner of the Yorke Prize

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