The following information is a short excerpt from a document produced by the Publishers Association
The printer's imprint is required on 'any paper or book
whatsoever which shall be meant to be published or dispersed' if it comprises
either words grouped together in a manner calculated to convey a message,
or a drawing, illustration or other picture. Hence it is required on most
books and printed publications.
The penalty for omission of the imprint is a fine of up to 25GBP for each copy, and proceedings may be brought in respect of any number of copies.
Those liable are the printer and any person who publishes and disperses, or assists in publishing or dispersing, the offending material. Proceedings may only be commenced with the approval and in the name of the Law Officers, and prosecution must be begun within three months of the date of printing (in the case of the printer) or of the date of publication, sale etc. (in the case of a publisher or distributor).
If the imprint is required by law on a particular piece of printed matter, the printer must add it whether the customer agrees or not. In a case decided in 1822, the omission of the imprint - even by desire of the customer - was held to disentitle the printer to recover payment for the work done, in addition to rendering him liable to the penalty.
Act of Parliament
Printers Imprint Act 1961 - A copy of this Act and a full copy of the document quoted from above are available to download from our "Documents" page.