The British Copyright Act of 1709 protected proprietors of books and music printed after 10 April 1710 who gave copies to the Company of Stationers in London.
Upon receipt of a copy, usually within days of its first publication, the Stationers' Hall warehouse keeper entered details into a register.
They included the date of registration, the name of the work's proprietor (its author or, if copyright had been transferred, its publisher), and the work's full title, which normally named the composer and the writer of any text and often named the work's performers and dedicatee. Although some publishers put the words 'Entered at Stationers' Hall' on title-pages without actually depositing copies, the information in the registers about the many works that were registered has significant bibliographic value. Because the music entries have not previously been printed and access to them has been difficult, they generally have been ignored by cataloguers and scholars, with the consequence that numerous musical works of this period have been misdated in libraries and reference books. This book makes available, for the first time, the full text of the music entries at Stationers' Hall from 1710 to 1810 and abbreviated details of works entered from 1811 to 1818.
Its value is enhanced by the inclusion of locations of copies of most works, together with indexes of composers, authors, performers and dedicatees, and an explanatory introduction by the compiler.