At last, the 1709 Blog ...

Going public at this very moment is The 1709 Blog. 1709 was the year in which, according to at least some opinions, the Statute of Anne 'invented' statutory copyright. This blog proposes to celebrate copyright law in all its glory and with all its little foibles. The team is led by seasoned copyright, media and entertainment specialist John Enser, with support from this year's guest bloggers Ben Challis (Music Law Updates/Glastonbury Festival), Hugo Cox (Penguin) and Amanda Harcourt (Entertainment Rights Management Ltd), and with the assistance of consultant blogmeister Jeremy Phillips.
At last, the 1709 Blog ... At last, the 1709 Blog ... Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 Rating: 5


  1. 1709 may be possibly premature adulation. Lionel Bently, Martin Ketschmer et al seem to believe that 1710 is the correct date.


    I take no position other than that, being unready to say anything profound at this time on the Statute of Anne itself, I'm inclined to side with procrastination and hope that there will be a great conference somewhere in 2010 that will thoroughly consider something other than what the correct date may be.

    Maybe you could conduct a poll to see who thinks which date is correct?

    Meanwhile, I've noted this blog in my Firefox Live Bookmarks.

  2. 1709 is the most commonly known date and it has certain connotations, so I would think that it is the "right" date for blog even if it isn't the correct date, no?

  3. I believe the act was enacted in late 1709 (coming into force the next year). At that time, the year ended in March, so late 1709 might feel like 1710 to us. But it wasn't - it was 1709. The same would apply to other pre-Gregorian calendar anniversaries.

  4. I learned 1709 when I was at university (thanks Dr Hays!). So, when I see a blog called 1709, I immediatelly think of copyright and the Statute of Anne. Good branding...

  5. Here is some detail from Deazley:

    "On 12 December 1709, a consortium of influential stationers submitted a petition to the House of Commons complaining that "divers Persons have of late invaded the Properties of others, by reprinting several Books, without the Consent, and to the great Injury, of the Proprietors, even to their utter Ruin, and the Discouragement of all Writers in any useful Part of Learning".[1] Leave was given to bring in a Bill "for securing to [the petitioners] the Property in Books" and, on 11 January 1710, it was presented before the House for its first reading...."

  6. When Deazley refers to 11 January 1710 he's using New Style dates (i.e. the Gregorian calendar has been retrospectively applied), which is a widely used convention employed by historians. However, the legal date referred to here was 11 January 1709 (1 Jan 1709 was the day after 31 Dec 1709). There's no 'right answer' to this really but to my mind (a) the legal date when the act was enacted was in 1709 as I don't think the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 has retrospective effect; (b) use of New Style dates is only a historians' convention; (c) lawyers have their own convention, short titles, which are titles given to legislation by Act of Parliament. In this case, it makes sense to use the legal and cited date!

  7. Well, Hugo, I'm more confused than ever. According to what looks like a well thought out article on Wikipedia, the difference in calendars should account at most for about 11 days - not a whole year. See:

  8. To Howard -
    I am not an expert, but the point is that, apart from the 11 days difference (in the 18th century - the difference is now 13 days), the Julian calendar used in Britain began the year on 25 March, not 1 January. So 1709 carried on until 24 March 1709, and 1710 did not start until 25 March.

  9. Now I'm beginning to see the light - maybe. Thank you all for your patience! We generally haven’t had to worry about such things in the New World. Ah, the joys, yet perils, of globalization! Now, I will always wonder whether, really, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue...” and whether the Battle of Hastings was in 1066 and whether the Magna Carta was in 1215. Ignorance was bliss.

  10. I would have to agree that 1710 did not actually start until 25 March according to the Julian calendar when it was globalized. This was an excellent point that based on this Columbus did not sail in 1492.


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