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The Author’s Due

Printing and the Prehistory of Copyright

The Author’s Due offers an institutional and cultural history of books, the book trade, and the bibliographic ego. Joseph Loewenstein traces the emergence of possessive authorship from the establishment of a printing industry in England to the passage of the 1710 Statute of Anne, which provided the legal underpinnings for modern copyright. Along the way he demonstrates that the culture of books, including the idea of the author, is intimately tied to the practical trade of publishing those books.

As Loewenstein shows, copyright is a form of monopoly that developed alongside a range of related protections such as commercial trusts, manufacturing patents, and censorship, and cannot be understood apart from them. The regulation of the press pitted competing interests and rival monopolistic structures against one another—guildmembers and nonprofessionals, printers and booksellers, authors and publishers. These struggles, in turn, crucially shaped the literary and intellectual practices of early modern authors, as well as early capitalist economic organization.

With its probing look at the origins of modern copyright, The Author’s Due will prove to be a watershed for historians, literary critics, and legal scholars alike.

360 pages | © 2002

History: British and Irish History

Law and Legal Studies: Legal History

Literature and Literary Criticism: British and Irish Literature

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

I The Regulated Crisis of New Media

1. AN INTRODUCTION TO BIBLIOGRAPHICAL POLITICS

Theories of authorship; resisting Foucault;
institutional origins of intellectual property;
Millar v, Taylor; Donaldson v. Becket

2. THE REFORMATION OF THE PRESS:
PATENT, COPYRIGHT, PIRACY

The piracies of John Wolfe; the regulation of
the Elizabethan book trade; guild structure
in transition to capitalism

3. MONOPOLIES COMMERCIAL AND DOCTRINAL

Italics and the genetics of intellectual
propertyl mercantilist protectionsim and
early modern technology, I

INTERCHAPTER: POSSESIVE AUTHORSHIP

II From Protectionism to Property

4. INGENUITY AND THE MERCANTILE MUSE

Mercantilist protectionism, II; Darcy v.
Aleyn; "Intervention" and "Genius"

5. MONOPOLIZING CULTURE: TWO CASE STUDIES

Davenant v. Hurdis; Harington’s toilet
George Wither asserts authorial property

6. PERSONALITY AND PRINT: THE GENETICS OF
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

"Press agency": personhood in book culture;
censorship and intellectual property;
Areopagitica

7. MILTON’S TALENT: THE EMERGENCE OF
AUTHORIAL COPYRIGHT

Restoration press regulation and the rhetoric
of authorship; plagiarism and the Whig
Milton; Swift, Pope, and the Statue of Anne

III The Laughable Term

8. AUTHENTIC REPRODUCTIONS

Shakespeare and international copyright;
modernist technologies of reproduction and
the instituational history of the book; the Wise
forgeries

Notes
Index

Awards

Seattle Public Library: Washington State Book Awards
Shortlist

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