High Court of Justice on the Right to Copy of Evangelical Hymns, The Hague (1813)

Source: Het letterkundig eigendomsregt in Nederland: wetten, traktaten, regtspraak: benevens de wetgeving op de drukpers in Nederland en Nederlandsch Indië Vereeniging ter bevordering van de belangen des boekhandels, ’s Gravenhage: Belinfante 1865-1867, I (1865), pp. 91-93; Bijzondere Collecties, Universiteitsbibliotheek van Amsterdam, UBM KVB 6730:1

High Court of Justice on the Right to Copy of Evangelical Hymns, The Hague (1813), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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First Civil Chamber.
Hearing of Monday 11 January 1813.

John Enschede and Son, book printers, residing in Haarlem, appellants, with records of appeal dated 6th November 1812, by ordinance and referral of the President of the Tribunal of first instance in Haarlem, of 23 October 1812, appearing in court with William van der Jagt, Master of Law, their counsel, versus Johannes Allart, bookseller, residing in The Hague, respondent, appearing with Matthys Hendrik van Son, Master of Law, his counsel.

The Court, having heard the parties,

Having heard the Advocate-General Philipse in his advisory opinion, to the effect that the Court in the Judgment would overturn the appeal and furthermore reject the motion of incompetence

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proposed by the appellants in the appeal, and further order that the ordinance and referral given by the President of the court of first instance, sitting in Haarlem, will produce full effect, condemning the appellants to the ordinary fine;
Considering that there is no issue in these proceedings about an administrative act of the Director-General of the book printing and the book trade in the Kingdom, or any other administrative power, but only about the right of property between private persons, of which the review and decision of this nature belong to the ordinary Judiciary, and the respondent is also referred back by the Hon Director-General;
Considering that there are therefore no grounds, on which this Court would reject the decision of this case, or would declare it outside their competence;
Considering that the respondent, by sentencing of the Court of Justice of the former Department of Holland, has been declared to be the lawful owner of the copyright of the evangelical hymns reported in the proceedings from thirty-first July eighteen hundred and seven, and with that judgment, the appellants' claim, to be declared entitled to the printing of those hymns, has been denied;
Considering that the appellants have acquiesced in that judgment, and so it has become final and conclusive;
Considering that the respondent should keep the right obtained in that sentence, as there in no way exist any grounds on which this final and binding judgment even now would not have that full effect or that the respondent should be deprived of his, thereby obtained, right, as the retaining of that right is not in conflict with currently existing laws;

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Considering that even if a later Decree to this effect was present, this could not be retroactively enforced on account of Article Two of the Code of Napoleon;
Considering finally, that in this matter the proceedings in the first instance have been defended by the respondent in accordance with the law;
Overturns the appeal;
Rejects the motion contesting jurisdiction, and orders that the ordinance and referral of the President of the Court of first instance in Haarlem, of twenty third October eighteen hundred and twelve, will produce full effect, and orders the appellants to pay the costs and the fine of the Appeal.


Translation by: Miluska Kooij


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