Update 2023

On 16/17 October 2023, a copyright history conference took place in Glasgow to celebrate 15 years of Primary Sources on Copyright and mark the following developments:

    Completion of Vatican section (Jane Ginsburg)
    Additions to Portugal/Brazil section (Patricia Akester, Victor Drummond)
    Additions to France on visual arts (Katie Scott)
    Selection of documents for new Scandinavian section (Marius Buning)

Update 2021

Vatican documents were launched on 15 December 2021 at a webinar with editor Jane C. Ginsburg. Users of Primary Sources on Copyright History will also be interested in the Stationers’ Register Online project, digitising the earliest entries (1557-1640) of the copyright registers held by Stationers' Hall.

Update 2018

Jewish Law sources, edited by Neil Netanel, were published in 2016. In 2018, a second editor joined the UK section: Dr Elena Cooper, CREATe, University of Glasgow. Elena Cooper contributed further documents to Ronan Deazley's original UK selection, which illustrate distinct aspects of the history of copyright concerning the visual arts in the late nineteenth century (in the main, 1869-1900). Portuguese sources are under development (edited by Patrícia Akester and Victor Drummond).

Relaunch 2015

On 27 March 2015, we opened the Dutch section of the archive, and introduced a new look of the homepage and navigation, as part of the symposium Copyright History and Policy at the CREATe centre, University of Glasgow.

Relaunch 2012

The Spanish section of the archive, and the new database design were re-launched on 25 June 2012, as part of the annual conference of the International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP).

The original launch of the project at Stationer’s Hall, London in 2008 is documented below:

AHRC Primary Sources on Copyright History Project: Conference
Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th March 2008
Stationers' Hall, London

The first version of the digital archive was launched in 2008 with a two day conference at Stationers' Hall in London.   Keynote Speakers included Professor Mark Rose (University of California Santa Barbara), Professor Laurent Pfister (University of Versailles Saint-Quentin) and Professor Karl-Nikolaus Peifer (Köln University).

An edited volume based on the conference contributions was published with Cambridge based publisher Open Book in 2010: "Privilege and Property, Essays on the History of Copyright" edited by Ronan Deazley, Martin Kretschmer and Lionel Bently. The book (xii + 438pp) is available in paperback (£14.95), hardback (£24.95) and pdf (£4.95) editions, and also accessible online for free.

Programme: Wednesday 19th March 2008

10:00 – 10:15 Welcome Professor Bill Cornish, Emeritus Herchel Smith Professor of Intellectual Property Law, University of Cambridge
10:15 – 10:45Introduction and Demonstration of Resource Professor Lionel Bently, University of Cambridge and Professor Martin Kretschmer, Bournemouth University
10.45 – 11:30 Keynote Speech: The Public Sphere and the Emergence of Copyright: Areopagitica, the Stationers’ Company, and the Statute of Anne Professor Mark Rose, University of California, Santa Barbara
11:30 – 11:45COFFEE
11.45 – 12:30 Keynote Speech: Author and work in the French Print Privileges system Professor Laurent Pfister, University of Paris V
12:30 – 13:00 From the Stationers’ Company Archive Robin Myers, Honorary Archivist Emeritus, Stationers’ Company
14:00 – 15:20 National Editors’ Afternoon (1) Institutions. The Political Economy of Copyright, Dr Oren Bracha, University of Texas (US); From Local to National to International Regimes, Dr Friedemann Kawohl (Germany)
15:20 – 15:40 BREAK FOR TEA/COFFEE
15:40 – 17:30 National Editors’ Afternoon (2) Ideas. Subject Matter, Dr Joanna Kostylo, University of Cambridge (Italy); Originality, Dr Frédéric Rideau, University of Poitiers (France); Derivatives, Dr Ronan Deazley, Birmingham University (UK)

Programme: Thursday 20th March 2008

09:00 – 09:15COFFEE
09:15 – 10:45 Invited Papers: The Significance of Copyright History for Publishing History and Historians, Professor John Feather, Loughborough University; Visualising property in art and law Dr Katie Scott, Courtauld Institute of Art; A mongrel of early modern copyright: Scotland in European perspective, Dr Alastair Mann, Stirling University
10:45 – 11:00 COFFEE
11:00 – 12:30 Invited Papers: Metaphors of Intellectual Property William St Clair, University of Cambridge; Digging up fragments and building IP franchises, Professor Kathy Bowrey, University of New South Wales; Perpetual Copyright: the Venetian Experiment (1780-1789), Dr Maurizio Borghi, Brunel University
12:30– 13:30 BUFFET LUNCH
13:30 – 14:30 Invited Papers: “Neither bolt nor chain, iron safe nor private watchman, can prevent the theft of words”: The birth of the performing right in Britain, Dr Isabella Alexander, University of Cambridge; Les formalités sont mortes, vive les formalités! Copyright formalities in nineteenth century Europe and their significance for current discourse, Stef van Gompel, University of Amsterdam
14:30 –15:15 Keynote Speech: The Return of the Commons - Copyright history as a common source, Professor Karl-Nikolaus Peifer, Köln University
15:15 – 15:45 BREAK FOR TEA/COFFEE
15:45 – 16:30 Open Discussion: A View of Copyright History Introduced by: Professor Lionel Bently and Professor Martin Kretschmer
16:30 – 16.45 Closing Rapporteur Professor Jane Ginsburg, Columbia University
16:45 – 17:00 Launch of the International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property
17:00 Conference Closes

The Research Group is very grateful to the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers for providing Stationers' Hall gratis and to Emmanuel College, Cambridge for sponsorship towards the cost of the conference. The Research Group is also very grateful to Robin Myers and Sue Hurley for curating a unique exhibition (and catalogue) of materials. In particular, this will feature the Stationers' Charter of 1684 and the original parchment copy of the 1710 Statute of Anne.

Conference photos

Bently & Kretschmer with the Stationers' Charter of 1684

Bently & Ginsburg

Robin Myers & Deazley

Pfister, Rideau & Petri

Mark Rose

Cornish & Peifer

Feather & Deazley

Borghi & Bracha

Isabella Alexander

Rideau, Deazley and Bently

Katie Scott

Joanna Kostylo

Friedemann Kawohl

Stationers' Hall