Title page of pirated edition of 'Don Juan' published by William Benbow, 1822 [Library shelfmark: KK.7/2].
The first edition of Lord Byron's 'Don Juan' was published by John Murray in an expensive edition costing £1 15S 6d.
Because of its controversial nature, the work was published anonymously, without author or publisher's name.
In keeping his name off the title page of 'Don Juan' Murray lost control of the copyright, and unauthorised pirated copies of the poem soon began to appear.
The London publisher William Benbow sold much cheaper editions of 'Don Juan'. His 1822 edition of cantos I-V cost only two shillings. Benbow named his bookshop 'The Byron's head', and therefore, for the first time, Byron's name appeared on the title page of 'Don Juan'.
Responding to the increase in fake copies, Murray sought legal advice on whether the Lord Chancellor would agree to grant an injunction against pirates.
In 1822, after the publication of three more cantos of 'Don Juan', Murray ceased to publish Byron's works. Radical publisher John Hunt published cantos VI to XVI of 'Don Juan'. The poem was uncompleted on Byron's death in 1824.
After Byron's death, Murray was able to purchase the rights to the whole — incomplete — work.