The Life of an Author: Samuel Egerton Brydges and the Copyright Act 1814

Ronan Deazley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The history of literary copyright in nineteenth century Britain is dominated - understandably perhaps - by a preoccupation with the passing and impact of the Copyright Amendment Act 1842, so ably lobbied for by Sir Thomas Noon Talfourd. This article, however, draws attention away from the 1842 Act towards the Copyright Act 1814, the first legislative provision within British copyright law to introduce a lifetime term of protection for the author. Why and on what basis did the legislature do so?
In bringing a renewed attention to this often overlooked legislative measure, we consider the context and logic that underpinned to grant of a copyright term that was tethered to the life of the author. In doing so, we might also find a useful prism through which to look afresh at current copyright debates concerning the appropriate nature and scope of copyright protection in the 21st century.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Pages (from-to)809-846
Number of pages38
JournalGeorgia State University Law Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • copyright
  • copyright history
  • copyright policy
  • copyright duration
  • samuel egerton brydges


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