Today in Copyright History: 5/31

225 years ago, on May 31, 1790, the first federal copyright law was enacted under Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 (the Copyright Clause) of the new U.S. Constitution, which empowers Congress “[t]o 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.”  The Copyright Act of 1790 protected books, maps, and charts for a term of 14 years, with the privilege of renewal for another 14 years.  Because the U.S. Copyright Office did not yet exist, copyright registration was made in the U.S. district court where the author or proprietor resided.  Reposted from the History of Copyright Timeline at the U.S. Copyright Office.

 Public domain, via the U.S. Copyright Office ( ).

Public domain, via the U.S. Copyright Office (