Today in Copyright History: 9/17

It’s Constitution Day!  On September 17, 1787, intellectual property rights were woven into the very fabric of American society with the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia.  The foundation for modern copyright and patent law was laid in Article 1, Section 8, which provides that “[t]he Congress shall have power… to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”  It remains an open question whether copyright was easier or harder to enforce in the 1700s when the most common tool of infringement was a quill pen.