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News Link • Intellectual Property

Copyright Laws Stifle The Free Flow of Information

• Free Press Publications
On May 31, 1790, George Washington signed the first copyright law, Copyright Act of 1790, which extended copyright protection to “the author and authors of any map, chart, book or books ” who were citizens or residents of the United States “for the term of fourteen years from the recording the title thereof in the clerk’s office .” The copyright could be extended for an additional fourteen years, if the author was still living and recorded the work in a similar manner. The entire Copyright Act of 1790 was less than 2 pages long, compared to the current 300 pages of federal statutes and regulations related to copyright law.

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