Tom W. Bell on How Writers Coped Without Copyright


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What would happen if authors and publishers could not count on copyright to protect them from piracy? Tom W. Bell reviews a book that hints at the answer. From the founding of the United States until well into the 20th century, domestic copyright laws generally denied foreign authors any form of legal redress. Yet as the legal scholar Robert Spoo explains in Without Copyrights, writers from other lands developed alternative strategies to recoup the costs of writing, producing, and marketing their works.