Booksellers' Bill, London (1737)

Source: British Library: BS 68/16.(1)

Booksellers' Bill, London (1737), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Record-ID: uk_1737

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Full title:
Bill for the better Encouragement of Learning, and for the more effectual securing the Copies of Printed Books to the Authors or Purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned

Full title original language:

The commentary describes the background to the Bill, and in particular the attempts of the London book trade to secure more extensive legislative protection in both 1735 and 1737. It argues that the 1737 Bill is significant precisely because it was never made into law, and because it did not suit the best interests of the metropolitan booksellers. Instead, the book trade increasingly turned to the courts to further secure their commercial interests, giving rise to what is commonly referred to as the 'battle of the booksellers' throughout the next 40 years.

1 Commentary:

  • Harris, M., 'Scratching the surface: engravers, printsellers and the London book trade in the mid-18th century'. In The Book Trade and its Customers, 1450-1900. Edited by A. Hunt, G. Mandelbrote and A. Shell (Winchester: St Paul's Bibliographies, 1990)

  • Feather, J., Publishing, Piracy and Politics: An Historical Study of Copyright in Britain (London: Mansell, 1994)

  • Deazley, R., On the Origin of the Right to Copy: Charting the Movement of Copyright Law in Eighteenth Century Britain (1695-1775) (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2004)

Related documents in this database:
1737: An Act for the Encouragement of Learning (Draft)

Author: N/A

Publisher: N/A

Year: 1737

Location: London

Language: English

Source: British Library: BS 68/16.(1)

Persons referred to:
George II
Henry VIII

Places referred to:
Great Britain

Cases referred to:

Institutions referred to:
Bodleian Library, Oxford
Court of Chancery
Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh
Gray's Inn
Inner Temple
Lincoln's Inn
Middle Temple
Sion College, London
Stationers' Company
Stationers' Hall
University of Cambridge
University of Edinburgh
University of Glasgow
University of King's College, Aberdeen
University of Oxford
University of St Andrews

Statute of Anne, 1710, 8 Anne, c.19

anonymous works
contracts, regulation of
duration, post mortem term
editions, new
foreign reprints
penalties, paid to publisher(s)
property theory, authors' property
translation, right of

Responsible editor: Ronan Deazley

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