|Country||Kingdom of England|
|Publisher||The Stationers' Company|
The Stationers' Register was a record book maintained by the Stationers' Company of London. The company is a trade guild given a royal charter in 1557 to regulate the various professions associated with the publishing industry, including printers, bookbinders, booksellers, and publishers in England. The Register itself allowed publishers to document their right to produce a particular printed work, and constituted an early form of copyright law. The company's charter gave it the right to seize illicit editions and bar the publication of unlicensed books.
For the study of English literature of the later sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries—for the Elizabethan era, the Jacobean era, the Caroline era, and especially for English Renaissance theatre—the Stationers' Register is an crucial and essential resource: it provides factual information and hard data that is available nowhere else. Together with the records of the Master of the Revels (which relate to dramatic performance rather than publication), the Stationers' Register supplies many of the certain facts scholars possess on the works of William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and all of their immediate predecessors, contemporaries, and successors.  It is also an invaluable source of information about ephemeral publications, such as popular broadside ballads, of which no printed copies survive. 
By paying a fee of 4 to 6 pence, a bookseller could register his right to publish a given work. One example: the Stationers' Register reveals that on 26 November 1607, the stationers John Busby and Nathaniel Butter claimed the right to print "A booke called Master William Shakespeare his historye of Kinge Lear, as yt was played before the Kinges maiestie at Whitehall vppon Sainct Stephens night at Christmas Last, by his maiesties servantes playinge vsually at the Globe on the Banksyde." (They paid sixpence.) 
Enforcement of regulations in this historical era was never as thorough as in the modern world; books were sometimes published without registration, and other irregularities also occurred. In some cases, the companies of actors appear to have registered plays through co-operative stationers, with the express purpose of forestalling the publication of a play when publication was not in their interest. 
In 1710, the Copyright Act or Statute of Anne entered into force, superseding company provisions pertaining to the Register. The company continued to offer some form of registration of works until February 2000.[ citation needed ].
The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers, usually known as the Stationers' Company, is one of the livery companies of the City of London. The Stationers' Company was formed in 1403; it received a royal charter in 1557. It held a monopoly over the publishing industry and was officially responsible for setting and enforcing regulations until the enactment of the Statute of Anne, also known as the Copyright Act of 1710. Once the company received its charter, "the company’s role was to regulate and discipline the industry, define proper conduct and maintain its own corporate privileges."
Thomas Thorpe was an English publisher, most famous for publishing Shakespeare's sonnets and several works by Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson. His publication of the sonnets has long been controversial. Nineteenth-century critics thought that he might have published the poems without Shakespeare's consent; Sidney Lee called him "predatory and irresponsible." Conversely, modern scholars Wells and Taylor assert their verdict that "Thorpe was a reputable publisher, and there is nothing intrinsically irregular about his publication."
Humphrey Moseley was a prominent London publisher and bookseller in the middle seventeenth century.
John Benson was a London publisher of the middle seventeenth century, best remembered for a historically important publication of the Sonnets and miscellaneous poems of William Shakespeare in 1640.
William Jaggard was an Elizabethan and Jacobean printer and publisher, best known for his connection with the texts of William Shakespeare, most notably the First Folio of Shakespeare's plays. Jaggard's shop was "at the sign of the Half-Eagle and Key in Barbican."
Valentine Simmes was an Elizabethan era and Jacobean era printer; he did business in London, "on Adling Hill near Bainard's Castle at the sign of the White Swan." Simmes has a reputation as one of the better printers of his generation, and was responsible for several quartos of Shakespeare's plays. [See: Early texts of Shakespeare's works.]
Thomas Creede was a printer of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, rated as "one of the best of his time." Based in London, he conducted his business under the sign of the Catherine Wheel in Thames Street from 1593 to 1600, and under the sign of the Eagle and Child in the Old Exchange from 1600 to 1617. Creede is best known for printing editions of works in English Renaissance drama, especially for ten editions of six Shakespearean plays and three works in the Shakespeare Apocrypha.
Robert Allot was a London bookseller and publisher of the early Caroline era; his shop was at the sign of the black bear in St. Paul's Churchyard. Though he was in business for a relatively short time – the decade from 1625 to 1635 – Allot had significant connections with the dramatic canons of the two greatest figures of English Renaissance theatre, William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson.
William Aspley was a London publisher of the Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Caroline eras. He was a member of the publishing syndicates that issued the First Folio and Second Folio collections of Shakespeare's plays, in 1623 and 1632.
John Smethwick was a London publisher of the Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Caroline eras. Along with colleague William Aspley, Smethwick was one of the "junior partners" in the publishing syndicate that issued the First Folio collection of Shakespeare's plays in 1623. As his title pages specify, his shop was "in St. Dunstan's Churchyard in Fleet Street, under the Dial."
Richard Hawkins was a London publisher of the Jacobean and Caroline eras. He was a member of the syndicate that published the Second Folio collection of Shakespeare's plays in 1632. His bookshop was in Chancery Lane, near Sergeant's Inn.
Andrew Wise, or Wyse or Wythes, was a London publisher of the Elizabethan era who issued first editions of five Shakespearean plays. "No other London stationer invested in Shakespeare as assiduously as Wise did, at least while Shakespeare was still alive."
Thomas Millington was a London publisher of the Elizabethan era, who published first editions of three Shakespearean plays. He has been called a "stationer of dubious reputation" who was connected with some of the "bad quartos" and questionable texts of Shakespearean bibliography.
John Waterson was a London publisher and bookseller of the Jacobean and Caroline eras; he published significant works in English Renaissance drama, including plays by William Shakespeare, John Fletcher, John Webster, and Philip Massinger.
Thomas Pavier was a London publisher and bookseller of the early seventeenth century. His complex involvement in the publication of early editions of some of Shakespeare's plays, as well as plays of the Shakespeare Apocrypha, has left him with a "dubious reputation."
William Leake, father and son, were London publishers and booksellers of the late sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. They were responsible for a range of texts in English Renaissance drama and poetry, including works by Shakespeare and Beaumont and Fletcher.
Thomas Heyes was the publisher-bookseller who published the first quarto edition of William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, in London, in 1600. He traded from 'St Paul’s Churchyard at the sign of the Green Dragon’.
James Roberts, was an English printer who printed many important works of Elizabethan literature. F. G. Fleay says that "he seems to have been given to piracy and invasion of copyright".
Hyder Edward Rollins was an American scholar and English professor. He was a prolific author of articles and books on Elizabethan poetry, broadside ballads, and Romantic poets. He was an internationally recognized scholar on John Keats, and he edited the authoritative two-volume edition of Keats' letters.
Thomas Judson was an Elizabethan printer, best known for printing William Jaggard's first two editions of The Passionate Pilgrim (1599), which Jaggard attributed to William Shakespeare.