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Concentrating the Entire Printing Business in the Members of the Stationers Company (May 4, 1557)


To check the spread of the Protestant Reformation, On May 4, 1557 the Catholic Queen Mary and King Philip granted a royal charter to the Worshipful Company of Stationers of London, thereby concentrating the entire printing business in the hands of the members of the Stationers Company.

"The Stationers' charter, establishing a monopoly on book production, ensured that once a member had asserted ownership of a text (or "copy") no other member would publish it. This is the origin of the term 'copyright'. Members asserted such ownership by entering it in the "entry book of copies" or the Stationers' Company Register."

The Stationers Company charter was confirmed two years later by Queen Elizabeth, but this time with the goal of suppressing Catholicism.