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Originally published in 1828, Robert Maugham’s Treatise on the Laws of Literary Property was the first comprehensive examination of copyright laws in Britain.
Maugham was writing at a time when the rights of the ‘scholar’ and the ‘artist’ were under great debate, themes paralleled in the increasingly ‘digital’ literary climate of the 21st century. Dedicated to protecting the rights of the author, Maugham branded the introduction of copyright laws, and the debate surrounding the subject, a ‘great literary controversy’.
His Treatise served to inspire changes in copyright law and provides an accessible, detailed, and thorough discussion of the statutes that governed British authors and publishers in the nineteenth century.