All Change for the Digital Economy: Copyright and Business Models in the Early Eighteenth Century
23 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2014
Date Written: October 1, 2010
This article argues that, contrary to contemporary assertions that today's debates over copyright are the product of outdated business models being threatened by innovators, this struggle between competing economic interests and different business models has existed since before the Statute of Anne was passed in 1710. Examining features of the eighteenth century book trade, and some of the early litigation that arose under the Statute of Anne, the paper draws out a number of features of continuity between the eighteenth century and modern times, as well as emphasizing points of difference. It looks at the way that early interpretations of the legislation sought to mediate between different interests in the operation of copyright law, as well as the ongoing role played by so-called 'copyright industries' in shaping that law.
Keywords: copyright, history, eighteenth century, business models, legal history
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation