Wednesday, September 18, 2019
 

Why Copyright Owes Much to Mark Twain


Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) poses in his classic white suit, 1905. George Edward Perine, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) poses in his classic white suit, 1905. George Edward Perine, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

On May 7, 1874, Samuel L. Clemens–the American author and humorist known as Mark Twain–wrote to Librarian of Congress Ainsworth Rand Spofford, seeking copyright protection for his pamphlet and its cover design.

Twain became so frustrated by literary piracy that from time to time he considered giving up books to write plays, successfully staging versions of “The Gilded Age,” “Huckleberry Finn,” “The Prince and the Pauper,” “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” and “Pudd’nhead Wilson.”

Read more on Mark Twain and his promotion of copyright protection here.

 

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