Usher's Printing Privilege, Massachusetts (1672)

Source: British Library 9551.k.10: Nathaniel B.Shurtleff ed., Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England 1661-1674 (Boston, 1853-1854) 4: 527, 559.

Usher's Printing Privilege, Massachusetts (1672), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Record-ID: us_1672

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Full title:
John Usher's Printing Privilege

Full title original language:

The first exclusive printing privilege in the North American British colonies was granted in 1672 by the Massachusetts General Court to the bookseller John Usher. The commentary describes the framework of government's regulation of the printing press in Massachusetts and other American colonies. It surveys the two related aspects of the status of the press as an important but dangerous public resource: censorship and encouragement. The commentary explains that exclusive privileges to printers and booksellers, though sporadic, were not unique to Massachusetts. It concludes with a discussion of the first failed attempt of obtaining an author printing privilege in America at the eve of the Revolution.

1 Commentary:

  • Tebbel, John. A History of Book Publishing in the United States. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1972.

  • Roden, Robert F. The Cambridge Press, 1638-1692. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1903.

  • Reese, William S. 'The First Hundred Years of Printing in British North America: Printers and Collectors.' Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 99 (1989): 337-373.

  • Lehmann-Haupt, Helmut, Lawrence C. Wroth, and Ruth S. Granniss. The Book in America: A History of the Making, the Selling, and the Collecting of Books in the United States. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1951.

  • Bugbee, Bruce W. The Genesis of American Patent and Copyright Law. Washington: Public Affairs Press, 1967.

Related documents in this database:
1772: William Billings' Second Petition
1772: William Billings' Printing Privilege

Author: N/A

Publisher: N/A

Year: 1672

Location: Massachusetts

Language: English

Source: British Library 9551.k.10: Nathaniel B.Shurtleff ed., Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England 1661-1674 (Boston, 1853-1854) 4: 527, 559.

Persons referred to:
Usher, John

Places referred to:
Massachusetts Bay

Cases referred to:

Institutions referred to:
Massachusetts General Court


book trade
law books
music, protected subject matter
penalties, paid to publisher(s)
printing, history of
privileges, printing

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