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1790 __ U.S. federal Copyright Act
Comment : The first US federal Copyright Act is passed under the new US Constitution. Books, maps and charts are eligible and must be registered at the District Court of the jurisdiction within which the author resides. The stated object of the act was the "encouragement of learning," and it achieved this by securing authors the "sole right and liberty of printing, reprinting, publishing and vending" the copies of their "maps, charts, and books" for a term of 14 years, with the right to renew for one additional 14 year term should the copyright holder still be alive. The privilege is granted for 14 years, with the option of renewal for a further 14 years. Much of the Act was borrowed from the 1709 Statute of Anne. The first sentences of the two laws are almost identical. Both require registration in order for a work to receive copyright protection; similarly, both require that copies of the work be deposited in officially designated repositories such as the Library of Congress in the United States, and the Oxford and Cambridge universities in the United Kingdom. The Copyright Act of 1790 applied exclusively to citizens of the United States. Non-citizens and material printed outside the United States could not be granted any copyright protection until the International Copyright Act of 1891. In the 3rd of February, 1831, The US federal Copyright Act is revised to include printed music. The term of copyright is extended to 28 years, plus the renewal period of 14 years. In 1802, Protection of prints is added. In 1831, Protection of musical compositions is added. In 1865, Protection of photographs is added. In 1870, Protection of paintings is added. In 1909, The federal copyright law is revised due to developing technology. In 1976, After 20 years of study, Congress adopts the Copyright Revision Act of 1976. Leaps in technology, including motion picture, phonograph, radio, television and photocopier, had strained previous copyright protections. (Compiled from various sources)
Original excerpt : « Copyright Act of 1790.An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, Charts, And books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned. [...]Sec. 4.And be it further enacted, That the author or proprietor of any such map, chart, book or books, shall, within six months after the publishing thereof, deliver, or cause to be delivered to the Secretary of State a copy of the same, to be preserved.Sec. 5.And be it further enacted, That nothing in this act shall be construed to extend to prohibit the importation or vending, Reprinting or publishing within the United States, of any map, chart, book or books, written, printed, or published by any person not a citizen of the United States, in foreign parts or places without the jurisdiction of the United States.Sec. 6.And be it further enacted, That any person or persons who shall print or publish and manuscript, without the consent and approbation of the author or proprietor thereof, first had and obtained as aforesaid, ( if such author or proprietor be a citizen of or resident in these United States) shall be liable to suffer and pay to the said author or proprietor all damages occasioned by such injury, to be recovered by a special action on the case founded upon this act, in any court having cognizance thereof.Sec. 7.And be it further enacted, That if any person or persons shall be sued or prosecuted for any matter, act or thing done under or by virtue of this act, he or they may plead the general issue, and give the special matter in evidence.Approved, May 31, 1790. »
Urls : http://www.copyright.gov/history/1790act.pdf (last visited )

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