Music publishers' agreement to ban reprinting, Leipzig (1829)

Source: Sächsisches Staatsarchiv Leipzig

Music publishers' agreement to ban reprinting, Leipzig (1829), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Chapter 1 Page 1

with the respectability and firmness that it currently lacks with regard
to security and property rights, to the utmost detriment of the publishers,
the undersigned have come together and, after thorough consideration, agreed
on the following points:


      None of the contracting parties who have signed the present document
shall reprint, fully or partially, the publications owned by another [signer],
neither as individual copies, mixed collections, nor collected editions


      Divided property* will be respected fully, but the German publisher must
ensure that his editions come out at the same time (as far as this is possible)
as those in England and France, and that on the title-page of the copies appearing
abroad his firm's name is indicated as the rights-holder for Germany. However,
in order to avoid all possible conflicts, the contracting parties pledge
themselves not to start with the reprinting [Abdruck]** of a work that has been
published abroad until they are in possession of the title-page,*** and, so as to
preclude any uncertainty, where the ownership rights are shared by several
publishers, the impending publication shall be announced in the Allgemeiner
Anzeiger der Deutschen
and the Musikalische Zeitung of both Leipzig
and Berlin.


      The publishers are to have their right of ownership confirmed in writing by
the composer or by whosoever has the right to sell them a given work. However, a
foreign publisher will not be able to sell his copyright to a German colleague, for
the sake of maintaining the principle of reciprocity. The right of ownership: "Propriété
de l'Éditeur"
is to be indicated on the title-page, and anyone who prints this
declaration without being able to prove its validity shall become liable to a fine of
50 louis-d'or for non-fulfilment of this condition. The fine is to be paid, in accordance
with exchange law, into the poor-box of the place of residence of the violator.


      Compositions which appear in England and France without but have not been
ceded to a publisher for distribution in Germany may continue to be reproduced at
will by reprinting [Abdruck], but from the preceding paragraph it goes
without saying that the declaration: "Property of the publisher" cannot be
included on the title-page.


*) By this is meant "simultaneous publication of a work in several countries"
(Cf. Joel Sachs, "Hummel and the Pirates: The Struggle for Musical Copyright",
The Musical Quarterly, 59 (1973): 31-60 (56))

**) The term Abdruck is deliberately used here in contrast to the close synonym
Nachdruck, which invariably has connotations of 'piracy'. However, the publishers
who signed this agreement were perfectly willing to pirate compositions that
appeared abroad - as long as the rights of no other German signatory were
encroached upon!

***) i.e. to make sure that no fellow signatory was listed there as the rights-holder
for simultaneous publication in Germany (Cf. Sachs's article).

Chapter 1 Page 2


      The contracting parties pledge themselves in the most binding manner to
the content of §§ 1 and 2, and on pain of a penalty for non-fulfillment of
50 louis-d'or which in the case of an infringement they promise to pay into
the poor-box of their place of residence in accordance with exchange law.


      This agreement does not have any retrospective effect: rather, it is to
come into force from the present moment. It should also be mentioned that those
colleagues who do not join the association cannot make any claims whatsoever to
the advantages ensuing from membership or to the provisions for protection
contained in this charter of association. However, they are certainly entitled
to join at a later point, and in that case their adhesion will be announced to
the other contracting parties.


      Since all the contracting parties agree unanimously to honour their commitments
inviolably and to accept all the mutual promises and concessions involved, they
also agree to renounce all the usual excuses that are made in cases of non-fulfillment:
that is, such excuses as having been precipitated or persuaded, or misunderstandings,
errors of judgement, and any others that might be thought up or feigned. In proof of
which the present contract has been drawn up and signed personally by each of the
contracting parties.
                                                                  Thus done at Leipzig, 23 May 1829

C.F. Peters at Leipzig.                                                Breitkopf & Härtel.
Friedrich Hofmeister.                                                on behalf of H. Simrock from Bonn.
Joh. Aug Böhme from Hamburg.                        Fr. Simrock.
August Cranz from Hamburg.                              Fr. Laue from Berlin.
Joh. Pet. Spehr from Braunschweig.                  C.A. Simon from Posen.
Fr. Ph. Dunst from Frankfurt-am-Main.            Ad. Mt. Schlesinger from Berlin.
Gottfr. Mart. Meyer jr. from Braunschw.            C.F. Whistling.
H. A. Probst, signs this on the                                    W=m Härtel on the same proviso
proviso that the declarations specified                        as Herr Probst.
in § 2 can be made privately                                          Carl Brüggemann from Halberstadt.
through letters, and that he is not
obliged to publish them in the newspapers.

Translation by: Luis A. Sundkvist


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