Directive for reciprocal copyright protection within the German Confederation, Berlin (1837)

Source: Max-Planck-Institut für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte, Frankfurt

Directive for reciprocal copyright protection within the German Confederation, Berlin (1837), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Record-ID: d_1837b

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Full title:
Resolution agreed on by the Assembly of the German Confederation regarding common standards for the protection of literary and artistic property against reprinting and unauthorized reproduction, as published in the Prussian Statute Book

Full title original language:
Beschluß wegen gleichförmiger Grundsätze zum Schutze des schriftstellerischen und künstlerischen Eigenthums gegen Nachdruck und unbefugte Nachbildung

The directive of 1837 is the most important of a number of federal resolutions that helped to create a common market and to harmonise copyright laws within the states of the German Confederation. The resolution, which consisted of six articles, provided a minimum protection of 10 years after publication, that could be prolonged by up to 20 years for specific works if the government of a member state of the Confederation so requested. Every work published in any of the member states within the last twenty years was granted full protection for ten years. After several such extensions to the copyright term, the key date of 1837 was indirectly the cause of the German publishing industry boom in 1867, when the copyright for many editions of works by popular authors eventually expired. The commentary gives an overview on the development of copyright agreements within the German Confederation between 1818 and 1869.

1 Commentary:

  • Wadle, E., 'Geistiges Eigentum I' (Weinheim: VCH, 1996)

  • Gieseke, L., 'Günther Heinrich von Berg und der Frankfurter Urheberrechtsentwurf von 1819', in 'Archiv für Geschichte des Buchwesens' 56 (2002) 163-178

  • Gieseke, L., 'Vom Privileg zum Urheberrecht: Die Entwicklung des Urheberrechts in Deutschland bis 1845' (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1995)

  • Brockhaus, H. E., 'Metternich's Plan einer staatlichen Organisation des deutschen Buchhandels', in 'Archiv für Geschichte des Deutschen Buchhandels' 1 (1878) 91-119

Related documents in this database:
1815: Annotated Publishers' Petition to the Congress of Vienna
1827: Treaties on reciprocal protection between Prussia and various German States
1837: Prussian Copyright Act
1846: Handbook of German press legislation
1852: Theory of Reprinting. Presented according to the directives of the German Confederation
1838: Address of Certain Authors

Author: N.N.

Publisher: Gesetz=Sammlungs=Debits=und Zeitungs=Komtoir

Year: 1837

Location: Berlin

Language: German

Source: Max-Planck-Institut für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte, Frankfurt

Persons referred to:
Frederick William III

Places referred to:

Cases referred to:

Institutions referred to:
Federal Assembly (Bundestag) of the German Confederation

Directive of reciprocal protection within the German Confederation (1837)
German Federal Act 1815
German federal directive prohibiting reprinting, 1835

Napoleonic Wars
bilateral agreements, between German lands
book trade
books, protected subject matter
duration, post mortem term
paintings, protected subject matter
public performance
societies, publishers'

Responsible editor: Friedemann Kawohl

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