Locke's Second Treatise on Government (selected extracts), London (1690)

Source: Cambridge University Library: Keynes W.1.26

Locke's Second Treatise on Government (selected extracts), London (1690), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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Record-ID: uk_1690

Permanent link: https://copyrighthistory.org/cam/tools/request/showRecord.php?id=record_uk_1690

Full title:
John Locke's Second Treatise on Government (selected extracts)

Full title original language:

Locke's writings on the labour theory of property provided eighteenth century proponents of the concept of copyright at common law (that is, copyright as a natural authorial property right) with a philosophical basis upon which to develop their arguments. The commentary explores the significance of a series of correspondence between John Locke and Edward Clarke, then MP for Taunton, concerning the lapse of the Licensing Act 1662 (uk_1662), and in the run up to the passing of the Statute of Anne 1710 (uk_1710). The commentary argues that, regardless of how Locke's writings on property were subsequently co-opted in the mid-eighteenth century debates as to the nature of copyright, it is doubtful whether Locke himself considered that copyright existed at common law.

1 Commentary:

  • Treadwell, M., 'The stationers and the printing acts at the end of the seventeenth century', in 'The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain', vol. IV (1557-1695), ed. by J. Barnard and D.F. McKenzie (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)

  • Rand, B., The Correspondence of John Locke and Edward Clarke (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1927)

  • Feather, J., 'From Censorship to Copyright: Aspects of the Government's Role in the English Book Trade 1695-1775'. In Books and Society in History. Edited by Carpenter, K.E. (New York and London: Bowker Company, 1983)

  • Deazley, R., On the Origin of the Right to Copy: Charting the Movement of Copyright in Eighteenth Century Britain, 1695-1775 (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2004)

  • Astbury, R., 'The renewal of the Licensing act in 1693 and its Lapse in 1695', The Library, 33 (1978): 296-322

Related documents in this database:
1693: Locke's Memorandum on the 1662 Act
1695: Reasons for objecting to the renewal of the Licensing Act

Author: N/A

Publisher: Amen Corner/Black Swan, Ave Mary Lane

Year: 1690

Location: London

Language: English

Source: Cambridge University Library: Keynes W.1.26

Persons referred to:
Filmer, Sir Robert
Locke, John

Places referred to:

Cases referred to:

Institutions referred to:


Stationers' Company
common law copyright
divine law
labour theory
natural rights
property analogies
property theory

Responsible editor: Ronan Deazley

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