Research Handbook on the History of Copyright Law
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Research Handbook on the History of Copyright Law

Edited by Isabella Alexander and H. Tomás Gómez-Arostegui

There has been an explosion of interest in recent years regarding the origin and of intellectual property law. The study of copyright history, in particular, has grown remarkably in the last twenty years, with a flurry of activity in the last ten. Crucial to this activity has been a burgeoning focus on unpublished primary sources, enabling new and stimulating insights. This Handbook takes stock of the field of copyright history as it stands today, as well as examining potential developments in the future.
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Chapter 7: Literary property in Scotland in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

Hector MacQueen


Since the Statute of Anne in 1710, copyright legislation enacted in the United Kingdom has applied throughout the United Kingdom. But prior to the Copyright Act 1911 none of that legislation purported to be a complete statement of the relevant law. Issues thus arose about the relationship between the statutory provisions and the rest of the quite distinct laws respectively applying in the different jurisdictions within the United Kingdom. Unlike English law, Scots law had been much influenced by Roman or Civil law before 1710, and although after the Anglo-Scottish Union of 1707 its long-established court system became subject in civil matters to an appeal to the House of Lords in London, this alone did not change the law and its culture. The Statute of Anne was itself very largely a product of the 1707 Union, but for the remainder of the eighteenth century and into the early years of the nineteenth its accommodation with the pre-existing law presented a challenge for Scottish lawyers. This was at both practical and theoretical levels, most notably illustrated by the great case of Hinton v Donaldson in 1773. The challenge was further complicated by awareness of similar struggles taking place in English law, along with doubts about the solutions produced by the English courts.

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