William Billings' Printing Privilege, Massachusetts (1772)

Source: Massachusetts Archives, LVIII, 600.

William Billings' Printing Privilege, Massachusetts (1772), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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Record-ID: us_1772b

Permanent link: https://copyrighthistory.org/cam/tools/request/showRecord.php?id=record_us_1772b

Full title:
William Billings' Printing Privilege

Full title original language:

A bill drafted by the Massachusetts colonial legislature in response to a petition by William Billings. The bill conferred on Billings the exclusive right of printing and selling his book of tunes for seven years. The bill which is the earliest known expression of intent by a legislature in the North American British colonies to grant an author exclusive printing rights in his work was vetoed by the governor and never passed.

Commentary: No commentaries for this record.

  • Silver, Rollo G. 'Prologue to Copyright in America: 1772.' Papers of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia 11 (1958): 259.

  • Crawford, Richard and David P. McKay. William Billings of Boston: Eighteenth Century Composer. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975.

  • Buechner, Alan C. 'Review of William Billings of Boston: Eighteenth Century Composer by David P. McKay and Richard Crawford.' Notes 33. 2nd Ser. (1976): 284-6.

Related documents in this database:
1672: Usher's Printing Privilege

Author: N/A

Publisher: N/A

Year: 1772

Location: Massachusetts

Language: English

Source: Massachusetts Archives, LVIII, 600.

Persons referred to:
Billings, William
George III
Hutchinson, Thomas

Places referred to:
Boston, Massachusetts

Cases referred to:

Institutions referred to:
Massachusetts House of Representatives
Massachussets Governor's Council


authors' remuneration
music publishing
music, protected subject matter
penalties, paid to author(s)
privileges, printing

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