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William Barley (1565?–1614) was an English bookseller and publisher. He completed an apprenticeship as a draper in 1587, but was soon working in the London book trade. As a freeman of the Drapers' Company, he was embroiled in a dispute between it and the Stationers' Company over the rights of drapers to function as publishers and booksellers. He found himself in legal tangles throughout his life. Barley's role in Elizabethan music publishing has proved to be a contentious issue among scholars. The assessments of him range from "a man of energy, determination, and ambition", to "somewhat remarkable", to "surely to some extent a rather nefarious figure". His contemporaries harshly criticized the quality of two of the first works of music that he published, but he was also influential in his field. After becoming the assignee of the composer and publisher Thomas Morley, Barley published Anthony Holborne's Pavans, Galliards, Almains (1599), the first work of music for instruments rather than voices to be printed in England. His partnership with Morley enabled him to claim a right to the music publishing patent that Morley held prior to his death in 1602. Some publishers ignored his claim, however, and many music books printed during his later life gave him no recognition. (more...)