Literary and Dramatic Disputes in Shakespeare's Time

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Modern copyright law as we know it did not exist in Shakespeareã s time. Nevertheless, the Elizabethan age saw a high degree of professionalism of theatrical performance, book publishing, and dramatic authorship. When audiences are clamoring for novel entertainments, authorship is becoming a professional activity, and profits are to be made, customs and traditions inevitably arise—as do violations of those customs and traditions. This article discusses the framework of authorship and publishing in Shakespeare’s time and examines some of the disputes that arose and how they were resolved in a context where the legal remedies were limited. Methods from patronage to private guild “courts” to theft to public denunciation to outright violence were employed in attempts to maintain profitable businesses in publishing and theatre.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Dispute Settlement
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2017


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