Copyright in Transition


Copyright in Transition



This chapter examines the evolving infrastructure of copyright doctrine from 1880 to 1940 that facilitated developments in the publishing industry. Although these legal changes seem to have chiefly served publishers, their justification was rooted in appeals to the rights of authors. This chapter calls attention to the important role played by a by-product of the Romantic period, the mystification of creative activity, especially writing, which triggered the modern view of authorship as an essentially solitary and originary stage in the process of book production. It was this evolving attitude toward the creative process that led to some of the key legal arrangements needed to support and sustain consolidation of the publishing trade. Significant changes in the law included the judicial articulation of the “work-for-hire” doctrine, the passage of legislation ushering in international copyright relations between the U.S. and the rest of the world, and the rise of the doctrine of “substantial similarity.” All three developments contributed to the expansion and consolidation of the book trade by providing a firmer legal foundation for the effective assertion of publishers’ claims to the literary productions of individual writers.

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copyright law


Intellectual Property Law | Law

Copyright in Transition