On May 31, 1790, Congress passed the first copyright law in the US. The Copyright Act of 1790 [PDF] established a means for individuals to seek copyrights for maps, charts and books for up to 14 years. Establishment of the act followed the passage of Great Britain's Statute of Anne in April 1710. The first copyright granted under the Copyright Act was for the Philadelphia Spelling Book in June 1790. Today, the US Copyright Office grants copyrights to individuals and corporations for most forms of artistic and printed works that qualify as original works of authorship.
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