Commentary on Defoe's Essay on the Regulation of the Press (1704)

Ronan Deazley, Martin Kretschmer (Editor), Lionel Bently (Editor)

Research output: Other contribution


Treatise in which Daniel Defoe sets out his arguments concerning the importance of maintaining a free press, as well as the need to provide for a statutory protection to prevent the ‘press-piracy' of published books.
Defoe sets out various public interest arguments concerning the encouragement of learning, industry and the arts, in support of his case for the introduction of copyright legislation. The commentary describes part of the background to the passing of the Statute of Anne 1710 (uk_1710), in particular: the various unsuccessful attempts to reintroduce an alternative to the Licensing Act 1662 (uk_1662); Defoe's public writing on the need for, and social value of, copyright protection; and the influence of his writings in providing the Company of Stationers with a new rhetorical strategy with which to lobby parliament and secure the passing of the Statute of Anne.
Original languageEnglish
TypeScholarly Commentary
Media of outputOnline
PublisherUniversity of Cambridge
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Please cite as: Deazley, R. (2008) ‘Commentary on Defoe's Essay on the Regulation of the Press (1704)', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,


  • copyright history

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