Commentary on Star Chamber Decree 1586

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

Research output: Other contribution


A decree prohibiting the publication of any book contrary to statute, injunction, ordinance and letters patents, as well as any ordinance set down by the Company of Stationers. The formal protection of the Star Chamber was extended not only to books protected under royal printing privileges (see: uk_1566) but to books printed in contravention of the internal regulations of the Stationers' Company itself, further enhancing the significance of ‘stationers' copyright'.
The commentary describes the background to the decree, in particular the religious controversies of the 1570s and 1580s, as well as the dissatisfaction within the general printing trade during this period at the manner in which a number of the printing privileges granted by Elizabeth resulted in the monopolistic control of commercially lucrative works within the hands of a few stationers only. The commentary also details the efforts of the dominant members of the Stationers' Company to influence the substance of the decree and further augment their control over the internal operation of the book trade.
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 1586', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,


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