This article introduces a special issue of Victorian Periodicals Review on the subject of copyright law and publishing practice in the nineteenth-century newspaper and periodical press. The introduction situates the special issue in relation to recent scholarship that has studied the history of copyright law in relation to the customs and practices of authors and publishers. Using the example of Wyatt v. Barnard (1814), an early copyright case involving periodicals, the introduction discusses some of the features of newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals that created challenges for those who sought to protect them under British copyright law. Some of the important questions were how to register a periodical, what components of a periodical were eligible for copyright, and how best to allocate rights between contributors and publishers. After introducing the essays that make up the special issue—contributed by historians, literary scholars, legal scholars, and digital humanists—the introduction suggests some possibilities for future research.


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pp. 583-596
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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