Under previous copyright laws, the author only had rights to their work for a maximum of either the life of the author or twenty-eight years. The preceding decades, however, had seen increasing pressure for a change in the law, and MP Thomas Talfourd had presented versions of his copyright bill to the House of Commons every year since 1837. This new legislation emphasised the author's intellectual property, extending authorial rights to forty-two years from publication, or seven years after after death, whichever was longer. Longer copyright was opposed by adherents of free trade, including T. B. Macaulay, but strongly supported by many writers, including Charles Dickens.
Editors. "Long copyrights introduced". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 August 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=4834, accessed 19 December 2014.]