The Reformation of the Press: Patent, Copyright, Piracy

Joseph Loewenstein

in The Author's Due

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2002 | ISBN: 9780226490403
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226490410 | DOI:
The Reformation of the Press: Patent, Copyright, Piracy

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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This chapter addresses the license, patents, and registration. It reports a labor dispute within the Stationers' Company arising in the late 1570s. In order to control competitive pressures within the printing industry, the Stationers' Company developed a system whereby individual members could secure an exclusive right to market a given text—to print it or to have it printed, to distribute the printed text, to sell it or to have it sold. There is the arc of John Wolfe's subsequent career as a professional stationer. Jonsonian authorship is in some ways a byproduct of Wolfe's reformation. Wolfe and his co-conspirators turn out to be the advance guard of a broad-based English movement against monopolistic competition. The entrance to Jacques le Moyne is that it suggests that stationer's copyright sheds in this instance its “internal” character, loses its status as expression of the stationers' corporate identity, and becomes transferable, itself a commodity.

Keywords: printing industry; Stationers' Company; John Wolfe; Jonsonian authorship; reformation; Jacques le Moyne; copyright; license; patents; registration

Chapter.  11122 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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