Posts Tagged ‘Statute of Anne’

Paine-Taking Work

Posted in On This Day on April 5th, 2018 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

Since this day in 1710, this posting is protected–at least in Britain–by copyright. The Statute of Anne, named for someone whose reading was limited to brandy labels, established the first protection of a writer’s rights to his work.  Now Facebook might sell my name to brandy advertisers and Russian prostitutes named Anne, but Mark Zuckerberg cannot claim to have written this.

Unfortunately, the law did not protect Thomas Paine. “Common Sense” may have been a best seller, and at an exorbitant price of two shillings, but Paine was not seeing any money. Most of the sales were of bootlegged editions; and Paine had limited legal recourse. Nine of the colonies had no copyright laws. Four did,however, and their courts would have judged in his favor. However, he also would have been convicted of treason. At least, he could have afforded to custom order his gallows from Chippendale.

So thanks to the Statute of Anne, I–definitely and for the next 75 years or so–wrote this.