"This is a digital archive of primary sources on copyright from the invention of the printing press (c. 1450) to the Berne Convention (1886) and beyond. The UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded the initial phase focusing on key materials from Renaissance Italy (Venice, Rome), France, the German speaking countries, Britain and the United States. For each of these geographical zones/jurisdictions, a national editor has taken responsibility for selecting, sourcing, transcribing, translating and commenting documents. These include privileges, statutes, judicial decisions, contracts and materials relating to legislative history, but also contemporary letters, essays, treatises and artefacts."
Use "The Timeline Interface" to view the full timeline to look at all the copyrights for a period of 50 year. It is also possible to search by "date" and "place" and the browsing options are "country" (Italy, Germany, Britain, United States), "original language", "person", and "place".
"The national editors’ brief was to limit the selection to 50 core documents for Germany, France and Britain, and to 20 core documents for Italy and the US (these covering only a shorter period). However, the editors have sourced many more contextual documents which are fully catalogued, and linked to the core materials.[...]
The database and website have been designed by Karin Hoehne of Universität Köln, based on the open source Kleio system developed at the HKI Institute (Professor Manfred Thaller). http://www.hki.uni-koeln.de
Following the official launch of the project at Stationers’ Hall in London on 19 March 2008, the URLs for the documents in the archive are permanent."