47 Hous. L. Rev. 793 (2010-2011)
The Statute of Anne and the Great Abridgement Swindle

handle is hein.journals/hulr47 and id is 811 raw text is: ARTICLE
Ronan Deazley*
This special edition of the Houston Law Review has been
commissioned with a view to marking-and celebrating-the
tercentenary of the Statute of Anne 1710.'
There are many things that we know about the Statute of
Anne with reasonable certitude. We know that it was prefaced by
a period of sustained lobbying on the part of the book trade. For
example, a number of influential members of the book trade
submitted a petition to Parliament on December 12, 1709,
complaining about the unauthorised reprinting of books to the
great injury of the Proprietors, even to their utter Ruin, and the
Discouragement of all Writers in any useful Part of Learning.
We know that on January 11, 1710, a bill was introduced in the
House of Commons in response to this petition and that less than
three months later, on April 5, 1710, the act that is now
commonly referred to as the Statute of Anne was passed.' We
know that the Act that was passed on April 5th differed in many
respects from the bill that was first introduced in January 1710.4
We know, for example, that the bill for securing the Property of
Copies of Books to the rightful owners thereof' became an act for
the Encouragement of Learning, by Vesting the Copies of printed
*  Glasgow Law School, University of Glasgow. I am grateful to the participants of
The @@@ Conference: Celebrating Copyright's tri-Centennial (a Symposium organized by
the University of Houston Law Center's Institute for Intellectual Property and
Information Law) and Isabella Alexander for their comments upon an earlier draft of this
paper. The usual conditions apply.
1. Statute of Anne, 1710, 8 Ann., c. 19.
2. 16 H.C. JOUR. (1709) 240.
3. Id. at 260, 396.


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