Global Copyright
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Global Copyright

Three Hundred Years Since the Statute of Anne, from 1709 to Cyberspace

Edited by Lionel Bently, Uma Suthersanen and Paul Torremans

This innovative book celebrates the tri-centenary of modern copyright, which began with the enactment of the Statute of Anne by the British Parliament in 1709, and was soon followed by other copyright legislation abroad. The Statute of Anne is traditionally claimed to be the world’s first copyright statute, and is thus viewed as the origin of a system of national laws that today exists in virtually all countries of the world. However, this book illustrates that while there is some truth in this claim, it is also important to treat it with caution.
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Closing dinner speech at Lincoln's Inn, 17 June 2009

L. Hoffmann


Closing dinner speech at Lincoln’s Inn, 17 June 2009 Lord Hoffmann* It is a great honour to address this Congress of the Association Littéraire et Artistique which has such a distinguished record of achievements in international copyright, starting with its foundation under the Presidency of no other literary giant than Victor Hugo in 1878, and playing an important role in that remarkable example of international cooperation achievement less than 10 years later, the Berne Convention. But tonight we look back 300 years to 1709, to a very different world, in the reign of Louis Quatorze in France and Queen Anne in England. It was certainly not a world of international cooperation: later this year, on September 11, will be the 300th anniversary of the horrific battle of Malplaquet, between the armies of Louis Quatorze and the allied armies led by the Duke of Marlborough; the bloodiest battle of the eighteenth century, in which the Duke lost over 20,000 men. And yet it was a period of great elegance in which literature and the arts flourished in both England and France. Alexander Pope, the greatest English poet of the eighteenth century, had his first poems published by the enterprising publisher Joseph Tonson just 300 years ago last month; at the age of 21 he became instantly famous. The book trade was flourishing. That was the background to the Copyright Act introduced into Parliament in 1709. The background to the Act is fascinating and I have greatly profited from reading...

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