The Statute of Anne 1710
Queen Anne (1665–1714)
The right of ownership in a creative work, often known as the right to duplicate it or copyright, generally belongs to the author or creator, but he or she can assign, license, or sell it.
Authors and other creators, on the other hand, haven’t always had statutory protection for their work. Prior to Gutenberg’s invention of moveable type and the printing press, documents were generally copied by hand by monks serving as scribes for the Church.
“The age of ‘authorship,’ as former Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin characterized it, had not yet come.” Following the introduction of commercial printing in England, Mary I granted the Stationers’ Company, a long-standing trade guild, a royal charter in 1557, granting them a publishing monopoly. Individual printers of the Stationers’ Company, not the authors of the books it produced, were recognized as the rights-holders in the works under the law.