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November 15, 2007
Pimps & Ferrets: Work on Early Copyright
Copyfight reader Eric Anderson wrote to tell me that he's put his dissertation online under a Creative Commons license. The topic is "Copyright and Culture in the United States, 1831-1891."
The work (which I confess I haven't read yet, at 231 pages) may some day appear as a book but is free to read online now. I'll let Eric speak for himself:
Although generally forgotten today, the nineteenth century US was absolutely rife with copyright-related controversy and excitement, including international squabbling, celebrity grandstanding, new technology, corporate exploitation, and ferocious arguments about piracy, reprinting, and the effects of copyright law.
Then, as now, copyright was very important to a small group of people (e.g. authors and publishers), and slightly important to larger groups (e.g. consumers and readers). However, these various larger groups did have definite ideas about copyright, its function, and its purpose. Many of these ideas are relevant today.
If other readers are doing scholastic work on copyfight-related issues please do send me info and links.
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