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The establishment of international copyright in the late nineteenth century was not only a legal process. It was also an editorial quest to understand the concrete reality of copyright laws around the world. This essay traces two publishing projects that fundamentally shaped this quest. The first became the most important collection of copyright laws, Lyon-Caen and Delalain’s Lois françaises et étrangères sur la propriété littéraire et artistique. The simultaneous arrival of a specialised journal on copyright, Le Droit d’Auteur, facilitated the modulation and mapping of international copyright laws. The argument in this essay is that these editorial projects were not just representing international copyright, but actually constituting it. Their most immediate and paradoxical effect was that the search for sources of law was converted into the source of international copyright.