Peter Montgomery wrote:

>Copyright in England anyway, started with the
>Playwright's registry to keep work from being
>stolen. Hogarth was successful in getting it
>transferred to his engravings by claiming they
>were dramas. I realise this is only a small as-
>pect of the matter, and speaks only indirectly
>to plagiarism, but let us not forget that Eliot
>was nothing if not an English scholar of the
>Elizabethan era.
Dear Peter,
    The first English copyright law was The Statue of Anne, passed in
spring 1710.  Hardly the Elizabethan era.

    What Hogarth got transferred was an idea.  The  1735 Hogarth Art (or
The Engraving Copyright Act) was a separate piece of legislation.

    I don't know about the Playwright's registry or Hogarth's claim to
making dramas.  Sound interesting.  Can you point me to some sources?
 In return, I'll suggest Mark Rose's _Authors and Owners: The Invention
of Copyright_.

    Licensing (see Milton's "Aereopagitica") and manuscript ownership
(medieval pecia system) raise related questions to those raised by