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Index cards with list of Dickson-Edison copyrights, cards 1 and 2

W.K.L. Dickson, an assistant to Thomas A. Edison, helped Edison develop his first patented motion picture machines: the Kinetograph for recording moving images and the Kinetoscope for viewing them. These cards list some of Dickson’s copyright applications for moving pictures, including the “Edison Kinetoscopic record of sneeze,” number 2887 (card 2).

 

Copyright Office, Library of Congress

Index cards with list of Dickson-Edison copyrights, card 1 Index cards with list of Dickson-Edison copyrights, card 2

Copyrighting Creative Works

The U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress to "promote the progress of ... useful arts." In 1790 Congress passed the first Copyright Act protecting creators' rights to books, maps, and other intellectual property. Congress revised the law in the 19th century to centralize copyright deposits and registrations in the Library of Congress, including foreign works. The influx of materials demanded larger quarters for the nation's library; in 1897 the Library of Congress moved from the U.S. Capitol to its own building, later named the Thomas Jefferson Building.