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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000556.txt from 2000/07

From: Oliver Seely <>
Subj: [kl] Re: Protection racket?
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 10:52:33 -0400


Last week I posted a message in which I claimed the roots of U.S. Copyright
to be found in a "protection racket" during the reign of Queen Anne. The
century and the Queen were wrong and though the protection of London
was a clear objective, the Crown was clearly just as interested in controlling
information available to the public. The date was 1556 and the monarch was
Queen Mary. (Queen Anne's Statute of 1710 was the first English Copyright Law
and it "set the pattern for copyright statutes enacted the next two centuries
in countries throughout the world.")

Here is what I found at

"Serious regulation of publishing started with the chartering of the
Company in 1556.
The preamble states the purpose of the charter (Translated from the Latin by

“The king and queen to all to whom, etc., greeting.

Know ye that we, considering and manifestly perceiving that certain sedition
and heretical books rhymes and treaties are daily published and printed by
divers scandalous malicious schismatical and heretical persons, not only
our subjects and lieges to sedition against us our crown and dignity, but also
to renew and move very great and detestable heresies against the faith and
sound catholic doctrine of Holy Mother Church, and wishing to provide a
suitable remedy in this behalf, of our special grace and from our certain
knowledge and mere motion we will, give and grant for ourselves, the heirs and
successors of us the aforesaid Queen, to our beloved and faithful lieges [list
of 97 printers], free men of the mistery or art of Stationery of our City of
London and the suburbs of the same, the they from hence forth may be in fact,
deed, and name one body by themselves for ever.”

"The Charter continues to give these individuals the exclusive right to own a
printing press and the implements of printing and also the exclusive right to
practice the art of printing. It also give the Stationers Company the
right to
enforce its monopoly by burning the books and presses of its competition and
imprisoning anyone owning a press or found engaged in printing.
The grant allows the Stationers to conduct search and destroy missions on
own outside of other legal processes. It appears that frequently such
proceedings were instituted in conjunction
with the Star Chamber and the Privy Council, under whose order at least one
publisher of illegal
material was publicly disemboweled."

So let that be a lesson to all you users of Finale!! 8-)



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