Copyright History


English Presentation


The book analizes the historical, economic, legal dynamics which prompted the coming to existence of the two basic concepts (and of the two annexed systems of rules) which historically have interpreted the needs to protect the interests associated with the idea of creativity, i.e. the Anglo‐American Copyright and the French Droit d’ Auteur, this latter being the archetype of the copyright models developed later on by the legal systems of continental Europe.


This comparative research is carried out following an approach of law & technology. It purports to show how in the 350 years running from the Gutenberg’s invention to the great Revolutions which closed the Enlightment’ s century, the legal rules  which resulted from this historical process in England (with the 1710 Statute of Queen Anne), France (with the 1791 and 1793 revolutionary decrees), and US (with the IP Clause of the Constitution and the first federal copyright statute) were shaped by (and have been the product of) a relentless functional exchange between two actors.


On one side those (printers, booksellers, publishers, and only later the authors) who, having developed and being in control of the new technology of printing, were willing to exploit its economic potential. On the other the public decision makers (the kings and later the legislative bodies), which, by acknowledging the interests of the formers, could pursue the interests related to their own political agenda (from censorship, to the goal of promoting the advancement of knowledge).


Against this backdrop the comparative history of copyright may reveal new insights to scholars dealing with contemporary intellectual property, but also to scholars interested in the legal problems posed by digital technology, and more generally to anyone who wants to know more about the legal roots of the economics of creativity in the current time of technological transition (from paper to the digital).