Torn between the urge to express themselves and the need to survive, authors have always been at the bottom of the ‘literary food chain.’
Debates about copyright and the early copyright laws did not even mention authors as parties in the discussion. The result was self-publishing, or authors participating in the costs of publishing.
The ‘Statute of Anne’ (1710) is the first legal attempt to regularise the rights to copy books. Recognising (mistakenly) that the free re-printing of books would discourage authors from writing, it granted publishers of books the right to re-print them for 14 years only.
The right of renewal of the copyright was given to the author, but only for 21 years (provided the author was still alive.)
Mary demonstrates here a marked innovative nature, when she’s actually asking for an advance!