February 24, 2008 | By Fred von Lohmann

CopyrightHistory.org: Copyright Before 1900

The copyright geeks among you will be interested in an impressive historical project underway in the UK, sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Housed at CopyrightHistory.org, the project is self-explanatorily entitled "Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900)."

The project kicks off with a conference on March 19-20 at the Stationers' Hall (still held by the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers) in London. I wish I could go!

This two day conference is the culmination of a research project involving the creation of a digital resource concerning the history of copyright in five key jurisdictions; France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the US, for the period before 1900. The project involves the selection of certain key documents, their digitisation, transcription, and translation. The project will create a free electronic archive of primary sources from the invention of the printing press (ca1450) to the Berne Convention (1886): in facsimile and transcription, translated and key word searchable. The documents will include statutes, materials relating to legislative history, case law, tracts, and commentaries. Editorial headnotes will provide context.

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