The Statute of Anne was the British response to the Stationers' control over the printed word in 1557. The Crown had empowered the stationers (booksellers, who later became publishers) to find and destroy all books that were determined "seditious, heretical, and schismatical" (Patterson and Lindberg 23), but this early form of censorship was ended with the enactment of the Statue of Anne.
The Statute of Anne was created with the title of "'an act for the encouragement of learning . . .'" (24). It is significant that the intellectual property provision of our U.S. Constitution was modeled after this act, whose purposes were to combat censorship and advance learning.
Patterson, L. Ray, and Stanley W. Lindberg. (1991). The nature of copyright. Athens: University of Georgia Press.