Andrew Law's Petition (1781)

Source: Connecticut State Library, Manuscript (Colleges and Schools, 1661-1789), Series I, Vol. II, Document 147.

Andrew Law's Petition (1781), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Full title:
Andrew Law's Petition for Legislative Privilege from the State of Connecticut

Full title original language:

A petition by the musician Andrew Law for an exclusive printing privilege in his book of tunes. The petition was granted by the Connecticut legislature that passed an act awarding Law exclusive printing rights in various tunes for the term of five years. The act is considered the first author's copyright in America. The commentary describes the grant and the circumstances surrounding it. It explains that Law's grant and many of the other individual grants of the states during the first two decades of the Republic were a transitory stage between the traditional publisher's privilege and the modern author's copyright regime.

1 Commentary:

  • Sanjek, Russell. American Popular Music and Its Business: The First Four Hundred Years. Oxford University Press: New York and Oxford, 1988.

  • ____, 'Andrew Law and the Pirates.' Journal of American Musicological Society 13 (1960) 206-223.

  • Lowens, Irving. 'Copyright and Andrew Law.' Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 53 (1959) 150-159.

  • Bugbee, Bruce W. The Genesis of American Patent and Copyright Law. Public Affairs Press: Washington D.C., 1967.

Related documents in this database:
1781: Andrew Law's Privilege
1783: Petition of John Ledyard
1783: Ledyard Petition Committee Report

Author: Andrew Law

Publisher: N/A

Year: 1781

Location: N/A

Language: English

Source: Connecticut State Library, Manuscript (Colleges and Schools, 1661-1789), Series I, Vol. II, Document 147.

Persons referred to:
Law, Andrew

Places referred to:
Cheshire, Connecticut
Hartford, Connecticut
Milford, Connecticut
New Haven, Connecticut

Cases referred to:

Institutions referred to:
Connecticut General Assembly


authors' remuneration
copying, concept of
music publishing
penalties, paid to fiscal authorities
privileges, printing
states, US

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