Commentary on International Copyright Act 1844

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

Research output: Other contribution


Legislation replacing the International Copyright Act 1838 (uk_1838) and providing that the British monarch could, by Order in Council, grant to foreign authors both copyright protection for works of literature, drama, music and art, as well as performance rights for dramatic pieces and musical compositions. The document contains the following associated material: Bill to amend Law relating to International Copyright 1844 (uk_1844a).
This Act addressed perceived inadequacies of the International Copyright Act 1838 (uk_1838) by expanding upon both the subject-matter and the nature of the rights that might be included in a reciprocal copyright arrangement with a foreign state. It also specifically linked the protections that foreign authors would enjoy within Britain to existing domestic copyright legislation. Following this legislation Britain successfully negotiated a series of bilateral international copyright treaties the first of which was concluded with Prussia in May 1846.
The commentary locates the Act within existing legislative provisions designed to address the problem of the market for cheap foreign imports of British books. It suggests that, regardless of the existence of stringent measures targeting unlawful foreign imports, the British government regarded a system of international copyright protection as integral in both addressing the import issue and in fostering a more secure overseas market in the interests of the British book trade.
Original languageEnglish
TypeScholarly Commentary
Media of outputOnline
PublisherUniversity of Cambridge
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Please cite as: Deazley, R. (2008) ‘Commentary on International Copyright Act 1844', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,


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