Seven Lectures On the Law and History of Copyright in Books

Seven Lectures On the Law and History of Copyright in Books

by Augustine Birrell


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780343700904
Publisher: Franklin Classics Trade Press
Publication date: 10/17/2018
Pages: 254
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.53(d)

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III. THE STATIONERS' COMPANY AND THE FIRST COPYRIGHT STATUTE. The Stationers' Company was established by charter in 1556. Its history has been compiled, and its register books transcribed and printed, in five handsome volumes by the loving and almost exuberant zeal of Mr. Edward Arber (1875—1894). There you may read at large and at your leisure of the manners and customs of the old printers of London, their courts and apprentices, their wine and wassail. It would be affectation to pretend that the masters and keepers or wardens and commonalty of the mystery or art of stationers were men of profound learning or passion for letters, or that they pursued their trade otherwise than as tradesmen. The leading London booksellers controlled the Company, and what manner of men they were during the 17th and 18thcenturies we know very well. The Dodsleys and the Tonsons, the Lintotts and the Coopers, Roberts, Beckett, Miller, Osborne, we still read their names in our early editions of Prior, and Swift, and Gay, and Collins, and Sterne, or see them all clubbed together on the title-pages of those trade editions of great authors with which we are pleasantly familiar. The bulk of them were worthy men, and if we may believe the garrulous John Dunton, who spent his life among them " exchanging copies," they were honest topers and faithful sons of the Church of England. Cormorants and scamps there were among them, men like Jack Lee 1 and Edward Curll, but taking them one with another, they were decent fellowsand tradesmen in every bone of their bodies. These were the men who looked after the Stationers' Company, which grew rich and prosperous enough. 1 "Mr. Lee in Lombard Street. Such a Pirate,such a Cormorant was never before. Copies, Books, Men, Shops, all was one. He held no propriety,...

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