Rescript on Post-Publication Censorship, Copenhagen (1773)

Source: Kongelige Rescripter, Resolutioner og Collegialbreve for Danmark og Norge, 6:1: 1766-1776, Gyldendal, 1786.

Rescript on Post-Publication Censorship, Copenhagen (1773), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Rescript, that nothing concerning the state and government, public measures, writings concerning physical confrontation, especially when a person has been assaulted, town rumours and other indecent stories may be printed in the weekly papers.

Full title original language:
Rescr., ang. at i Ugebladene ikke maae indføres noget, som angaaer Staten og Regjeringen, almindelige foranstaltninger, Stridsskrivter, især hvor Personer der ved ved angribes, Bye-Rygter og uanstændige Fortællinger.

Danish and Norwegian legislation concerning censorship and print changed dramatically in the years between 1770 and 1773, following three distinct royal orders issued during and shortly after the German physician Johann Friedrich Struensee’s time in power at the Danish court. The Order of 14 September 1770 abolished, with one swift stroke, the old system of pre-publication censorship by expert readers, and set in motion the world’s most radical experiment in press freedom. Soon, however, Struensee discovered that this experiment was not to his advantage and on 7 October 1771 another royal order restricted press freedom, emphasizing that authors needed to stay within the bounds of law and clamping down on the use of anonymity. Still, conditions continued to be favorable for both authors and printers until Struensee’s downfall in January 1772 and the ensuing reaction. In a third royal order, on 20 October 1773, a new regime of post-publication censorship was put in place, which, combined with a deterring show trial, put an end to the press freedom experiment in Denmark-Norway.

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1773: Rescript on Post-Publication Censorship

Author: Christian VII

Publisher: Gyldendal

Year: 1773

Location: Copenhagen

Language: Danish

Source: Kongelige Rescripter, Resolutioner og Collegialbreve for Danmark og Norge, 6:1: 1766-1776, Gyldendal, 1786.

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Places referred to:

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Ordinance of December 1743

censorship, pre-publication
enlightenment, the
immoral works
privileges, printing

Responsible editor: Marius Buning & Magne Klasson

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