Licensing to print books in Europe

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Date: 1501, 1535, 1585, 1643, 1679

Region: Europe

Subject: Religious

Medium: Literature


Artist: Various writers

Confronting Bodies: The Church, The Royalty

Dates of Action: 1501, 1535, 1585, 1643, 1679

Location: Rome, France, England,

Description of Artwork: Printed books

The Incident: 1501 Rome: Pope Alexander VI issued a bull against unlicensed printing. 1535 France: Francis I issued an edict prohibiting the printing of books.

1585 England: The Star Chamber assumed the power to confine all printing to London, Oxford and Cambridge, to limit the number of printers, to prohibit all unlicensed publications and to enter houses in search of unlicensed presses or books.

1643 England: Licensing act passed by the Long Parliament. 1660 Reaffirmation of the edict of 1637.

1679 Licensing act expired, to be renewed for an additional seven years in 1685.

1967 Denmark: Press censorship against obscenity ended.

Results of Incident: 1535 France: penalty of death. 1637 England: Prohibition of the importation into England of books deemed injurious to religion, the Church or the government. 1643 England: Licensing act provoked John Milton's "Aeropagitica".

1695 Licensing act ended in England.

1765 Search for and seizure of authors for libel declared illegal.

1967 Denmark: as a result it was later claimed in surveys that interest in pornography was being shown more by foreign visitors than by Danes.

Source: Banned Books 387 B.C. to 1978 A.D., by Anne Lyon Haight, and Chandler B. Grannis, R.R. Bowker Co, 1978.