Quantifying copyright reversion

Stationers’ Register entry for the transfer of Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, Love’s Labor’s Lost, and twelve other books in 1607 Image: Shakespeare Documented https://shakespearedocumented.folger.edu/file/liber-c-folio-161-recto

At its outset, American copyright provided for 14 years of exclusivity, renewable for another 14 years by the author, but — crucially — not by the publisher. This was a shrewd move by the US Framers, because it meant the publisher had to convince the author to file paperwork.

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