Royal Commissioners' Report, London (1878)

Source: ProQuest: Parliamentary Papers (1878) xxiv, C.2036

Royal Commissioners' Report, London (1878), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Report of the Royal Commission on Copyright, 1878, xxiv, C.2036

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The first major governmental review of the national, colonial, and international copyright regime. The commentary explores the background to the Royal Commission and in particular the efforts of the Association for the Protection of the Rights of Authors in lobbying for law reform. The commentary also explores the extent to which debates about free trade and monopoly commended the attention of the Commissioners and provided a challenge to the dominant conception of copyright - that is, copyright as a property right. The Report affirmed that copyright should continue to be regarded as a property right, and acknowledged the need for reform and consolidating legislation. Beyond that, however, the Commissioners were in considerable disagreement as to copyright's purpose and proper scope, with few of the Report's major recommendations receiving the unanimous support of the same.

1 Commentary:

  • Seville, C., The Internationalisation of Copyright Law: Books, Buccaneers and the Black Flag in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006)

  • Saint-Amour, Paul K., The Copywrights: Intellectual Property and the Literary Imagination (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2003)

  • Feather, J., Publishing, Piracy and Politics: An Historical Study of Copyright in Britain (London, Mansell, 1994)

Related documents in this database:
1878: Royal Commission on Copyright: Minutes of Evidence
1879: Copyright Consolidation Bill
1837: Senate Report
1896: The Question of Copyright

Author: Royal Commission

Publisher: N/A

Year: 1878

Location: London

Language: English

Source: ProQuest: Parliamentary Papers (1878) xxiv, C.2036

Persons referred to:
Amos, Sheldon
Bain, Alexander
Barry, Charles, Jr.
Benedict, Sir Julius
Bethell, Richard, 1st Baron Westbury
Blaine, Delabere Roberton
Bourke, Robert, Baron Connemara
Byron, George Gordon, 6th Baron Byron of Rochdale
Cairns, Hugh McCalmont Cairns, 1st Earl
Charles II
Cooke, Josiah Parsons
Cooke, Mordecai Cubitt
Courtenay, William Reginald, 11th Earl of Devon
Cross, Richard Assheton, 1st Viscount Cross
Daldy, Frederick Richard
Dicey, Edward
Erle, William
Eyre, George Edward
Farrer, Thomas Henry, 1st Baron Farrer
Froude, James Anthony
Gavard, Charles
Herschell, Farrer, 1st Baron Herschell
Holland, Sir Henry Thurstan, 1st Viscount Knutsford
Huxley, Thomas Henry
Hyde, Edward, 1st Earl of Clarendon
Jenkins, John Edward
Jenkyns, Sir Henry
Jones, John Winter
Lyttelton, George William, 4th Baron Lyttelton
Macaulay, Thomas Babington
Mallet, Sir Louis
Manners, Lord John James Robert
Mansfield, William Murray, 1st Earl
Marey, Etienne Jules
Maudsley, Henry
Morrill, Lot Myrick
Pettigrew, James Bell
Putnam, George Haven
Rose, Sir John
Rosebery, Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of
Schmidt, Eduard Oscar
Smith, William Henry, Jr.
Spencer, Herbert
Spottiswoode, William
Stanhope, Philip Henry, 5th Earl Stanhope
Stephen, Sir James Fitzjames
Stewart, Balfour
Story, Joseph
Tennyson, Alfred, 1st Baron Tennyson
Trollope, Anthony
Tyndall, John
Vogel, Hermann Wilhelm
Whitney, William Dwight
Wodehouse, John, 1st Earl of Kimberley
Wolff, Sir Henry Drummond
Wood, William Page, 1st Baron Hatherley
Woolner, Thomas
Young, Sir Charles Lawrence

Places referred to:
Great Britain

Cases referred to:
Abernethy v. Hutchinson (1825) 1 H. & TW. 28
Cary v. Kearsley (1804) 4 Esp. 168
Cocks v. Purday (1846) 2 Car. & K. 269
Coleman v. Wathen (1793) 5 D. & E. 245
Cox v. Land and Water Journal Company (1869) LR 9 Eq. 324
D'Almaine v. Boosey (1835) 1 Y. & C. 288
Donaldson v. Becket (1774) 4 Burr. 2408, 2 Bro. P.C. 129
Duke of Queensbury v. Shebbeare (1758) 2 Eden 329
Folsom v. Marsh (1841), Cir. Ct. Mass.
Jeffreys v. Boosey (1854) 4 HLC 815
Low v. Routledge (1865-1868)
Mayall v. Higbey (1862)
Millar v. Taylor (1769) 4 Burr. 2303
Murray v. Elliston (1822) 5 B. & Ald. 657, The Times, 4 May 1822
Prince Albert v. Strange (1849), 1 Hall & T., 18 L.J. Ch. 120
Reade v. Conquest (1861) 9 CB (NS) 755
Sweet v. Benning (1855) 16 C.B. 459

Institutions referred to:
Appleton & Co., American publishing firm
Bibliothèque nationale de France
Board of Trade
Bodleian Library, Oxford
British Museum
Cambridge University Library
Colonial Office, London
Court of Sessions, Scotland
Eton College
Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh
G. P. Putnam & Sons, American publishing firm (est.1866)
House of Commons
House of Lords
Royal Commission on Copyright
Royal Institute of British Architects
Royal Society of Arts (RSA)
Stationers' Company
Stationers' Hall
Trinity College, Dublin
U.S. Senate
University and King's College of Aberdeen
University of Cambridge
University of Edinburgh
University of Glasgow
University of Oxford
University of St Andrews
Westminster School
Winchester College

Anglo-French Copyright Treaty 1851
Belgian copyright legislation
Canadian Copyright Act, 1868, 31 Vict., c.54
Canadian Copyright Act, 1875, 38 & 39 Vict., c.53
Copyright Act for the German Empire 1870
Copyright Act, 1775, 15 Geo.III, c.53
Copyright Amendment Act, 1842, 5 & 6 Vict., c.45
Copyright in Prints and Engravings (Ireland) Act, 1836, 6 & 7 Will.IV, c.59
Dramatic Literary Property Act, 1833, 3 & 4 Will.IV, c.15
Dutch Law of 25 January 1817, relating to literary and artistic property
Engravers' Copyright Act, 1735, 8 Geo.II, c.13
Engravers' Copyright Act, 1766, 7 Geo.III, c.38
Fine Art Copyright Act, 1862, 25 & 26 Vict., c.68
Foreign Reprints Act, 1847, 10 & 11 Vict., c.95
French Literary and Artistic Property Act 1866
Indian Act 1847 (Act XX: 'An act for the encouragement of learning in the territories subject to the government of the East India Company')
International Copyright Act, 1844, 7 & 8 Vict., c.12
International Copyright Act, 1852, 15 & 16 Vict., c.12
Italian Copyright Act 1865
Licensing Act, 1662, 13 & 14 Car.II, c.33
Portuguese Copyright Act (18 July 1851)
Publication of Lectures Act, 1835, 5 & 6 Will.IV, c.65
Russian Council of State decree (1857), extending duration of p.m.a. term
Sculpture Copyright Act, 1814, 54 Geo.III, c.56
Spanish Copyright Act (10 June 1847)
U.S. Copyright Act 1870, 16 Stat. 198

books, protected subject matter
common law copyright
dramatic works, protected subject matter
engravings, protected subject matter
free trade
international agreements, bilateral
music, protected subject matter
oral works, protected subject matter
paintings, protected subject matter
photography, protected subject matter
sculpture, protected subject matter
translation, right of
translations, protection of
unpublished works

Responsible editor: Ronan Deazley

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