Commentary on Copyright Act 1814

Ronan Deazley, Martin Kretschmer (Editor), Lionel Bently (Editor)

Research output: Other contribution


Legislation replacing the Statute of Anne 1710 (uk_1710) and providing that copyright in a literary work would last for twenty-eight years from the time of publication, but that ‘if the author shall be living' at the end of that period then the work was to be protected ‘for the residue of his natural life'.
The commentary explores the background to the legislation, and in particular the controversy over the library deposit provision in the wake of the decision in Beckford v. Hood (1798) (uk_1798a). The commentary suggests that the introduction of the reversionary lifetime copyright term had more to do with the opportunistic and timely intervention of one Member of Parliament (Samuel Egerton Brydges) than with any principled or considered position adopted on the part of the legislature.
Original languageEnglish
TypeScholarly Commentary
Media of outputOnline
PublisherUniversity of Cambridge
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Please cite as: Deazley, R. (2008) ‘Commentary on Copyright Act 1814', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,


  • copyright history


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