This is a freely-accessible, publicly-funded digital archive that collects together significant documents relating to the history of copyright law and practice. The documents have been selected by national editors, with the input of an editorial advisory board. Key documents are, where appropriate, transcribed and translated. The editors have written commentaries, explaining the reasons for selecting documents and their significance. The project was launched in 2008, initially funded by the AHRC in relation to 5 countries. Since 2024 it is supported by the AHRC as UK research infrastructure. The archive now extends to more than 20 (including historical and religious) jurisdictions and over 700 primary source documents. They can be browsed by date/language/jurisdiction, or searched.

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1586* Star Chamber Decree (United Kingdom) Commentary: [1]
1643* The Humble Remonstrance of the Stationers' Company (United Kingdom) Commentary: [1]
1660* Frankfurt Printers' Ordinance (Germany) Commentary: [1]
1660* Decree on Engravings (France)
1663L'Estrange's Considerations and Proposals (United Kingdom)
1690s* Memorandum on the dispute between the Parisian and the provincial booksellers (France) Commentary: [1]
1695Reasons for objecting to the renewal of the Licensing Act (United Kingdom)
1701* Royal letters patent (France) Commentary: [1]
1709Reasons Humbly Offer'd to the Consideration of the Honourable House of Commons (United Kingdom)
1735* Engravers' Copyright Act (United Kingdom) Commentary: [1]
1735The Case of Designers, Engravers, Etchers, &c. (United Kingdom)
1737* Booksellers' Bill (United Kingdom) Commentary: [1]
1744* Code de la Librairie (France) Commentary: [1]
1747* Warburton's Letter from an Author (United Kingdom) Commentary: [1]
1762* Royal declaration on privileges granted to inventors (France) Commentary: [1]
1763* Rules for Printers and Book Merchants' Guild in Madrid (Spain)
1774* Donaldson v. Becket (United Kingdom) Commentary: [1]
1774Booksellers' Bill (United Kingdom)
1776* Gaultier's memorandum for the provincial booksellers (France) Commentary: [1]
1777* Linguet's memorandum (France) Commentary: [1]
1780* 'Pezzana e Consorti' case: supporting documents (Italy)
1780* Dramatic Act (France)
1781* 'Pezzana e Consorti' case: counter-petition and rulings (Italy)
1782Letter from Smith to Webster (United States)
1783* Connecticut Copyright Statute (United States) Commentary: [1]
1783Letter from Joel Barlow to the Continental Congress (United States)
1783Continental Congress Resolution (United States)
1783Ledyard Petition Committee Report (United States)
1784Letter from Noah Webster to James Madison (United States)
1787* Calico Printers' Act (United Kingdom) Commentary: [1]
1790* J.F.F. Ganz's draft for a general ban on reprinting within the whole Empire (Germany) Commentary: [1]
1790* Copyright Act (United States) Commentary: [1]
1791Beaumarchais's petition (France)
1798* Models and Busts Act (United Kingdom) Commentary: [1]
1799Documents concerning the Models and Busts Act (United Kingdom)
1812Petition of the London Booksellers (United Kingdom)
1813Petition of the Printers of London and Westminster (United Kingdom)
1813Petition of the Edinburgh Booksellers (United Kingdom)
1813Select Committee Report: Minutes of Evidence (United Kingdom)
1814* Copyright Act (United Kingdom) Commentary: [1]
1814Parliamentary Debates on the Copyright Act (19 May) (United Kingdom)
1814Parliamentary Debates on the Copyright Act (12 July) (United Kingdom)
1814Parliamentary Debates on the Copyright Act (18 July) (United Kingdom)
1818Select Committee Report: Minutes of Evidence (United Kingdom)
1826Letter from Noah Webster to Daniel Webster (United States)
1826Letter from Daniel Webster to Noah Webster (United States)
1828* Maugham's Treatise (United Kingdom) Commentary: [1]
1831* Copyright Act (United States) Commentary: [1]
1834* Balzac's letter to authors (France)
1834* Privilege to the Royal Lithographic Establishment (Spain)
1837* Royal Order on Music Copyright (Spain)
1837* Senate Report (United States)
1837Petition of British Authors (United States)
1837Memorial of a Number of Citizens of the United States (United States)
1838Memorial of the New York Typographical Society (United States)
1838Memorial of a Number of Citizens of Boston (United States)
1839Parliamentary Debates on the Copyright Bill (27 Feb.) (United Kingdom)
1840Parliamentary Debates on the Copyright Bill (14 Feb.) (United Kingdom)
1841Parliamentary Debates on the Copyright Bill (27 Jan.) (United Kingdom)
1842Parliamentary Debates on the Copyright Act (6 April) (United Kingdom)
1842Parliamentary Debates on the Copyright Act (9 May) (United Kingdom)
1842Memorial of a Number of Persons Concerned in Printing and Publishing (United States)
1843An Address to the People of the United States (United States)
1848Jay, Bryant and Others' Memorials (United States)
1862* Fine Art Copyright Act (United Kingdom) Commentary: [1]
1868* Proudhon: 'Les Majorats littéraires' (France)
1872Correspondence and Papers on Colonial Copyright (United Kingdom)
1882* Danvila’s Copyright Treatise (Spain) Commentary: [1]
1886Correspondence respecting the Copyright Union (United Kingdom)
1887* International Literary Congress in Madrid (Spain)
1890Report on H.R. 10881 (United States)
1896Debate in Congress (United States)
1896The Question of Copyright (United States)