European Legal Studies Center
The rise in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries of a professional class of writers stimulated authors' demands for better remuneration from their writings. The increase in authors who sought to live from their work, rather than from patronage or personal fortune, likely provided at least one impulse for the author-protective provisions of the 1710 Statute of Anne. Under the regime of printing privileges that preceded the Statute of Anne, authors generally received from publisher-booksellers a one-time payment, made when the authors surrendered their manuscripts for publication. Authors whose works enjoyed particularly high demand might negotiate additional payments for new editions or for new printings of a work that had done well, or they might extract a higher price per sheet for their next work, but neither law nor custom generally assured authors remuneration reflective of their works' sales. As a result, few authors participated in the continued success of their works.
Lionel Bently & Jane C. Ginsburg,
"The Sole Right ... Shall Return to the Authors": Anglo-American Authors' Reversion Rights from the Statute of Anne to Contemporary U.S. Copyright,
Berkeley Tech. L. J.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/552