The Evolution of Copyright
Invention of Movable Type, 1436
Reproduction of previously scarce books initiates concern about the property writes of authors and publishers.
Statute of Anne, 1710
England enacts first copyright law.
U.S. Copyright Act of 1790
Grants 14 year copyrights, with 14 year renewals. First copyright entered for The Philadelphia Spelling Book by John Barry.
Amendment to Copyright Act, 1802
Prints added to protected works.
General Revision, U.S Copyright Act, 1831
Extended copyrights to 28 years, with 14 year renewals, include music.
Fair Use Doctrine , 1841
Concept of “fair use” first applied to the Copyright Act allowing some copying for educational and critical purposes (news, analysis, research).
Amendment to Copyright Act, 1856
Dramatic compositions added to protected works.
Amendment to Copyright Act, 1865
Photographs and photographic negatives added to protected works.
General Revision, U.S. Copyright Act, 1870
Works of art added to protected works. Right to create certain derivative works reserved for author, including translations and dramatizations.
Establishment of foreign copyright relations, 1891
Amendment to Copyright Act, 1897
Music protected against unauthorized public performance.
General Revision, U.S Copyright Act of 1909
Extends renewals to 28 years. Recognizes copyrights to new mediums and certain unpublished works.
Amendment to Copyright Act, 1912
Motion pictures, previously registered as photographs, added to classes of protected works.
Title 17 of the U.S. Code, 1947
Codifies copyright law.
Amendment to Copyright Act, 1953
Recording and performing rights extended to nondramatic literary works.
Universal Copyright Convention (Geneva), 1955
Amendment to Copyright Act, 1972
Limited copyright protection extended to sound recordings first published on or after this date.
General Revision, U.S Copyright Act of 1976
Extends copyright to 75 years or life of author+50 years, protects unpublished works, extends protection to new mediums and technologies and formalizes the fair use doctrine by identifying a four-part judicial test.
Amendment to Copyright Act, 1980
Copyright law amended regarding computer programs.
Visual Artists Rights Act, 1990
Extended protection to visual arts and architectural works.
Copyright Renewal Act of 1992
Eliminates need for formal renewal of copyright.
Digital Audio Home Recording Act, 1992
Protections required for digital audio recordings and clarified the legality of home taping of analog and digital sound recordings for private, non-commercial use.
No Electronic Theft Act, 1997
Set penalties for willfully infringing a copyright for purposes of commercial or private financial gain or by reproducing or distributing.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA)
Created tight boundaries around the reproduction of works on the web. Essentially nullified the “fair use” doctrine within the digital environment.
Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998
Extended terms to 95/120 years or author’s life+70
TEACH Act of 2002 (Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization)
Provided more flexibility in the reproduction of materials to be used in online classes within closed “course management systems” (apart from the public web). Essentially restored the “fair use” doctrine within the digital environment.
Artists’ Rights and Theft Preservation Act, 2005
Allowed for preregistration of certain works being prepared for commercial distribution.