Statute of Anne  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Statute of Anne (short title Copyright Act 1709 8 Anne c.19; long title "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned") was the first copyright law in the Kingdom of Great Britain (thus the United Kingdom), enacted in 1709 and entering into force on April 10, 1710. It is generally considered to be the first fully-fledged copyright law. It is named for Queen Anne, during whose reign it was enacted.

Several monographs on copyright date the text to 1709. However, due to changes in the reckoning of the New Year, 1710 would be the correct year of enactment according to the modern calendar.

The Statute replaced the monopoly enjoyed by the Stationer's Company granted in 1556 during the reign of Mary I which, after several renewals, expired in 1695. Under this regime, company members would buy manuscripts from authors but once purchased, would have a perpetual monopoly on the printing of the work. Authors themselves were excluded from membership in the company and could not therefore legally self-publish, nor were they given royalties for books that sold well.

The statute of 1709 vests authors rather than printers with the monopoly on the reproduction of their works. It created a 21 year term for all works already in print at the time of its enactment and a 14 year term for all works published subsequently. It also required that printers provide nine copies to the Stationer's Company for distribution to the English libraries.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Statute of Anne" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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