The Statute of Anne: Today and Tomorrow

9 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2020 Last revised: 26 Jun 2020

See all articles by Peter A. Jaszi

Peter A. Jaszi

American University - Washington College of Law

Craig Joyce

University of Houston - Institute for Intellectual Property & Information Law

Marshall A Leaffer

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Tyler Trent Ochoa

Santa Clara University School of Law

Date Written: December 1, 2010

Abstract

This essay provides the epilogue to the University of Houston’s Institute for Intellectual Property & Information Law’s 2010 National Conference, “The ©©© Conference: Celebrating Copyright’s tri-Centennial,” in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The conference focused on the Statute of Anne, the first copyright statute ever, anywhere, enacted by the British Parliament in 1710.

Copyright law in the United States, the lineal descendant of the Statute of Anne, has managed to negotiate a course between over-protecting and under-protecting copyrighted matter, and to strike at least a rough balance between the social interest in securing capital investment, on the one hand, and encouraging both innovation and free expression, on the other. What may the future hold?

To enable speculation about the answer to that question, the essay imagines a Rip Van Winkle of copyright law, who dozed off in 1710 and has just re-awoken. The three centuries just past surely would provide our sleeper a rude awakening to the many changes occasioned by human creativity and technological progress.

Perhaps, due to those same factors plus internationalization, the future eventually will bring about copyright’s demise, or at least the passing of U.S. copyright law as we have known it. Yet the authors dare to hope that this unique, if peculiar, body of law will continue in the future, as it has in the past, to discharge its ancient calling: to balance proprietary right and public access for the greater good of society.

Keywords: Statute of Anne, 1710, Rip Van Winkle, technological change, new information technology, internationalization, copyright, copyright course, intellectual property, intellectual property survey

Suggested Citation

Jaszi, Peter A. and Joyce, Craig and Leaffer, Marshall A and Ochoa, Tyler Trent, The Statute of Anne: Today and Tomorrow (December 1, 2010). 47 Houston Law Review 1023 (2010), U of Houston Law Center No. 2020-A-18, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3627740

Peter A. Jaszi

American University - Washington College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

Craig Joyce (Contact Author)

University of Houston - Institute for Intellectual Property & Information Law ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

Marshall A Leaffer

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Tyler Trent Ochoa

Santa Clara University School of Law ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States
408-554-2765 (Phone)
408-554-4426 (Fax)

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