Commentary on Star Chamber Decree 1566

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

Research output: Other contribution


A decree prohibiting the publication of any book considered to be contrary to statute, injunction, ordinance and letters patents, as well as banning the importation of such works. This provided the first occasion on which the proprietary interests of the Stationers' Company and the ideological control of the press become explicitly linked.
The commentary describes the background to the Decree and in particular the concern of Elizabeth's High Commission over the influx of Catholic texts from continental Europe. The commentary argues that the Decree is particularly significant in that it formalised, for the first time, the specific link between the interests of the government in regulating and censuring the press and the economic interests of the Stationers' Company. The formal inclusion of the category of ‘letters patents' within the remit of the Decree ensured that works published under a printing privilege now attracted the formal protection of the Star Chamber.
Original languageEnglish
TypeScholarly Commentary
Media of outputOnline
PublisherUniversity of Cambridge
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Please cite as: Deazley, R. (2008) ‘Commentary on Star Chamber Decree 1566', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,


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