Copyright Act, Washington D.C. (1831)

Source: Library of Congress: 4 Stat. 436 (1831).

Copyright Act, Washington D.C. (1831), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Full title:
An Act to amend several acts respecting copy rights

Full title original language:

The first major statutory revision of U.S. copyright law. The 1831 Act was a result of intensive lobbying especially by Noah Webster and his agents in Congress. The commentary describes the lobbying process and the significant changes introduced by the new Act. These changes included an extension of the copyright term that applied to existing copyrighted works, the granting of renewal rights to widows and children of deceased authors, and the addition of printed music to the subject matter explicitly recognized by the statute.

1 Commentary:

  • Webster, Noah. 'Origin of the Copy-right Laws of the United States.' In A Collection of Papers on Political, Literary and Moral Subjects. New York: Webster & Clark, 1843.

  • Unger, H.G. Noah Webster. The Life and Times of an American Patriot. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998.

  • Micklethwait, David. Noah Webster and the American Dictionary, Jefferson N.C.: McFarland, 2000.

Related documents in this database:
1790: Copyright Act
1802: 1802 Amendment
1826: Letter from Noah Webster to Daniel Webster
1828: H.R. 140 Committee Bill
1828: H.R. 140 Consolidated Bill
1830: Judiciary Committee Report
1831: House Debate
1856: Copyright Act Amendment
1865: Copyright Act Amendment

Author: N/A

Publisher: N/A

Year: 1831

Location: Washington D.C.

Language: English

Source: Library of Congress: 4 Stat. 436 (1831).

Persons referred to:

Places referred to:

Cases referred to:

Institutions referred to:
Judiciary Committee, U.S. Senate
U.S. Congress
U.S. Federal District Courts
U.S. Secretary of State's Office

U.S. Copyright Act 1790, 1 Stat. 124 (1790)
U.S. Copyright Act 1802 (Amendment of 1790 Act), 2 Stat. 171 (1802)

books, protected subject matter
common law copyright
duration, post mortem term
engravings, protected subject matter
maps, protected subject matter
music, protected subject matter
natural rights
patents, for invention
perpetual protection
property theory, authors' property

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