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The notion of the author as the creator and therefore first owner of a work is deeply rooted both in our economic system and in our concept of the individual. But this conception of authorship is modern. Mark Rose traces its formation in 18th-century Britain - and, in the process, highlights issues still current in intellectual property.;The twin conception of author as owner and work as commodity took shape, Rose shows, in a long, legal and commercial struggle over the nature of literary property that developed after the passage of the Statute of Anne in 1710, the world's first copyright statute. This struggle, which led to the landmark case of Donaldson v. Becket in 1774, engaged many of the leading jurists of the period, including Lord Mansfield and William Blackstone. Classical notions of property were blended with an emergent literary discourse of original genius, and the modern representation of the author as proprietor was produced. ""Authors and Owners"" is an analysis of an important episode in legal history and a contribution to literary and cultural history.