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Zorpheus (857617) writes "While England, France and the USA introduced copyright laws in the 18th century, Germany did not have a effective copyright law until around 1870. Eckhard Hoeffner compared the development in Germany with that in the other countries. From the 18th century on there was a lot of discussion about the need of copyright laws to protect the interests of authors and publishers. Other publishers were selling cheap reprints, decreasing the income for the original books. The arguments were the same as today, that the lower income will lead to less publications, which makes it neccesary to introduce the copyright. In Great Britain, which was the first country introducing a copyright law, publishers then made a good income selling small numbers of expensive books. Buyers were wealthies and aristocrates. In Germany the book market developed much differently. Because the country was split up into dozens of small states, each with its own laws, the introduction of a copyright law was much more difficult. To counter income losses to cheaper reprints, publishers began to sell premium books for the wealthies and paperbooks for the general people. while only wealthy British people could afford books, even common people in Germany were building up their private library. While the British book market was small with only 1000 publications/year, up to 14000 works were published in Germany. There was an explosion of knowledge, which was probably the base of the fast development of Germany during that time. After the copyright law was introduced, publishers increased the prices for books, resulting in a lower number of books sold. Interestingly the income of the Gernan authors became lower than it was before introduction of the copyright. The ideas behind the copyright laws — the protection of the work of the authors leading to higher income and higher number of publications — did not work out. Original article is in German." Link to Original Source