I’ve just finished Adrian Johns’ 2009 book, Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates, a 500+ page magnum opus stretching from the 1600s to the present. Johns is a noted University of Chicago historian, and his book is a fascinating and essential read for anyone interested in the history of the term “intellectual property” and development of the modern copyright and patent systems.
Of particular interest:
- The story of the rise of the term “intellectual property” in the 1870s and its connection to patents.
- How the United States once refusing to recognize the copyrights of foreign (mainly British) authors, and gained a reputation as a “pirate nation.”
- Early anti-piracy efforts in 1903, aimed at sheet music reprinters.
Sounds like a good read!
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