Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The History of Copyright Registration


This article traces the development of copyright law in commercial prints and labels, looking at the history of the 1874 Act which placed registration of copyrights in the Patent Office (the "unwanted" copyrights because the Library of Congress had no desire for them), as well as the two Supreme Court cases which dealt with this act - Higgins v. Keuffel and Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing. In so doing the development of the scope of copyright law in both the constitutional and normative senses is addressed, specifically the importance of the preamble to the intellectual property clause as a substantive limit of Congressional legislation in the nineteenth century. Statistics are also included, demonstrating the development and use of this copyright law.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

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