This year marks the tri-centenary of the © symbol – -legislation enacted during the reign of Queen Anne, the Queen that chair legs have been name after, itself rather curious for as when Queen Anne was crowned the tradition at that time of buckling on a new pair of spurs had to be abandoned for the future Queen’s legs were deemed too fat.
The copyright sign asserts the author’s intellectual rights over his work. Unfortunately the statute of Queen Anne outside the West Front of St Paul’s Cathedral was itself copied. Originally completed in 1712 depicting the Queen with an alluring figure, when in fact at the time of its creation, she was obese. The statue itself was reproduced because by the end of the 19th Century pigeon droppings, coal smog and vandalism had all but finished it off.
[T]he City approached the celebrated sculptor Richard Claude Belt and he duly promised to complete the work within a year. Belt although undoubtedly talented was a bit of a reprobate, he was constantly running up debts and getting into scrapes, and about the time of the Queen Anne commission found him in prison for fraud.
He had spent the money advanced for the commission already, but the City authorities had no intention of throwing that money away, and gained special permission to deliver stone and tools to Belt’s cell, with the result that we can confidently say that the St Paul’s statute of Queen Anne, albeit a rather slim line version, is the only public work of art completed by a convicted prisoner while he was actually in prison.
The British Statute of Anne 1710 is now seen as the origin of copyright law, although many of the legal principles governing intellectual property have evolved over centuries, and it was not until the 19th century that the term intellectual property began to be used, and now with digital technology fierce debate rages upon where intellectual property rights have been infringed when material is copied and shared with others or uploaded on the world wide web for others to read.
You may have noticed that CabbieBlog is only protected by a Creative Commons License allowing anybody to share the site’s content (with a few exceptions) with others as long as an attribution is made to the author. Many in the creative industry, it seems, get too exercised over the copyright of their work. No one could defend downloading industrial amounts of copyrighted data, but equally sharing this material actually promotes many artists’ work. In fact some authors have not only shared their work but produced free podcasts of entire books for the world to consume and share. One of the first authors to share their intellectual property was Scott Sigler who decided to start podcasting his novel Earthcore in March, 2005 as the world’s first podcast-only novel to build an audience for his work. Sigler considered it a “no brainer” to offer the book as a free audio download and attracted over 10,000 subscribers. His approach has paid off and is now regarded as one of the leading sci-fi authors of his generation.
So when you produce a piece of work, don’t go down the Queen Anne route, your image will only be reproduced in due course, but share your work, you could find that your generosity will reap dividends.
Image of Queen Anne’s statute used here can be found on wallyg at flickr, with further background information on the statue and British Statute of Anne 1710.