From the Writer’s Almanac:
It was on this day in 1790 that Congress enacted the United States copyright law. The law gave authors exclusive rights to publish and sell maps, charts, and books for a period of 14 years, with a chance to renew the copyright for another 14 years. There have been many changes to the U.S. copyright law since 1790. In the 19th century, copyrights became available for photographs, paintings, drawings, and models. In 1909, musical rolls for player pianos became covered by the law. In the last 30 years, copyright law has expanded to include cable TV, computer software, tapes, CDs, DVDs, and MP3s.
Eric Faden, of the Media Education Foundation, explains Copyright and Fair Use in this bizarre video:
the view gets a little slanted at the end. What do you think of his spin? Are copyright laws out of control?