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J.F.F. Ganz's draft for a general ban on reprinting within the whole Empire, Mainz and Fulda (1790)

Source: Retrospektive Digitalisierung wissenschaftlicher Rezensionsorgane und Literaturzeitschriften des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts aus dem deutschen Sprachraum, http://www.ub.uni-bielefeld.de/diglib/aufklaerung/index.htm.

J.F.F. Ganz's draft for a general ban on reprinting within the whole Empire, Mainz and Fulda (1790), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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            Chapter 1 Page 3 of 11 total

for the harmfulness of reprinting            407

community. Habit and necessity also lend weight
to the mediocre scholar; the opportunity for
healthy competition and comparison between
writers disappears, and the mediocre author
takes the place of the outstanding one. The
flourishing of the sciences is replaced by
study of what is merely fashionable; brochures
push out larger works; libraries fall out
of fashion; the writer is reduced to the level
of a common mercenary: all these are direct
consequences of tolerating reprinting.

§. 3

      Given these so self-evident reasons for
the harmfulness of reprinting, it is incredible
that princes who are noted for their insights
and love of justice nevertheless grant a
sanctuary to reprinters in their territories.
However, it is clear that their good Christian
faith has been taken in by false pretences of
a legitimate self-defence against the rising
price of books, and of the need to recourse to
just measures of repression. However, it is only
because of the danger of reprinting that the
prices of books have risen and continue to do
so daily. If the evil can be uprooted, though,
then its fatal consequences will also disappear.
The cries of some who look with envious eyes at
the prosperity of their more diligent colleagues
have no relevance whatsoever here. The wholesale
book trader, or he who trades solely with his own
in-house publications, selling them for cash, is
equivalent to the first-hand manufacturer in other
branches of commerce. The less he is restricted,
the less encroachments he has to suffer, the
cheaper can he sell his products, as a result of
which both retail booksellers and the public
will benefit. No monopoly is conceivable here,
since, in view of the fact that there is great
competition amongst publishers and retail book-

[Col. 2]

sellers, that trader will be the most sought after
who has acquired the reputation of offering a wide
selection and who has been able to defend this
reputation. In an unrestricted state, where there
is protection against acts of piracy, several
traders can attain this goal at the same time.
The encouragement of a large number of factories,
whose products are also of good quality, acts as
a stimulus for improvements and attracts buyers,
as well as leading to cheaper articles. It is
therefore simply a false pretence to claim
that reprinting prevents books from becoming more
expensive, not to speak of the incomparably
poorer print and paper quality used by reprinters.
In southern Germany booksellers are generally
wholesalers and retail booksellers at the same
time. They suffer doubly from the acts of piracy
committed by reprinters. Therefore, if a prince
privileges or protects a reprinter in his realm,
the result of this is that the other booksellers
in his lands who are honest people will little
by little be forced into ruin. If one were to
accept the principle that the end justifies the
means, then all security of ownership would cease;
then crimes of all kinds, which are condemned by
morality and punished by positive law, could be
used as self-defence. The benefits which a reprinter
or a gang of such robbers bring to a state are
transient. The source from which they draw their
water must eventually dry up, and then they will
have no option but to wear each other out amongst
themselves. There is no state in all of Germany
in which all the books are reprinted that the
subjects and servants of the prince need for their
official duties and their leisure. The prince
himself - and all of our princes protect and
respect scholarship - does not buy any reprints, but


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