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Primary Resources on Copyright Law (1450-1900)

June 7, 2010

This is a digital archive of primary sources on copyright from the invention of the printing press (c. 1450) to the Berne Convention (1886) and beyond. The UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded the initial phase focusing on key materials from Renaissance Italy (Venice, Rome), France, the German speaking countries, Britain and the United States.

For each of these geographical zones/jurisdictions, a national editor has taken responsibility for selecting, sourcing, transcribing, translating and commenting documents. These include privileges, statutes, judicial decisions, contracts and materials relating to legislative history, but also contemporary letters, essays, treatises and artifacts.

The national editors’ brief was to limit the selection to 50 core documents for Germany, France and Britain, and to 20 core documents for Italy and the US (these covering only a shorter period). However, the editors have sourced many more contextual documents which are fully cataloged, and linked to the core materials. Document selection has been scrutinized by an international advisory board.

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