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Privilege to the Royal Lithographic Establishment, Madrid (1834)

Source: Archivo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, 1-49-2

Privilege to the Royal Lithographic Establishment, Madrid (1834), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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Chapter 1 Page 1

      of Public Works
            from the kingdom
                              Your Excellency,
            By virtue of the Royal Order of 17 March 1828, an exclusive 10-year privilege
            was granted to the Royal Lithographic Establishment of this Court to print all
            kind of works except those for writing and music. This grant was based on the wish
            to improve (the development of) art in Spain and reimburse the high costs for creating
            the establishment, which was considered reasonable. In spite of these considerations,
            the Fine Arts Royal Academy (San Fernando) argued that there was no inventive object
            in lithography, it was already known in Spain and consequently there was no subject
            matter for such privilege; The issue was further examined at the Congress of Ministers and
            it was agreed and approved by Ferdinand VII, the King, so that it was understood that
            the above privilege was limited to the company for lithographing pictures at the Royal
            Museum, the Royal Academy and other public establishments of this Court. However,
            from this sovereign disposition "an autograph" decree was passed to suspend its effects
            for the time being.
                  This suspension was detrimental to the rights of those dedicated to this art,
            and to its progress. As a result, several entities, the Fine Arts Royal Academy
            (San Fernando) and the Economic Association of Valencia claimed that they
            had been asked for an authorisation to open lithographic establishments in order
            to print maps of La Huerta, irrigation and navigation projects and beautiful original
            pictures held within that province; and although the Director of the Royal Establishment
            requested for training draftsmen and printers throughout the whole kingdom,
            apparently this was not enough for developing the art, or for the jobs
            of many people who were already dedicated to it. Hardly as the Ministry of Public Works
            was created, requests multiplied for permissions to start up establishments identical
            to those already constituted in the Court, already in the provinces. The interested parties
            submitted that general and particular damages would be suffered if foreigners copied
            pictures from the Spanish school and introduced them later on as prints, which the
            Spanish were forbidden to do.
                  Although a certain exaggeration was perceived from some of these
            statements, they did not stop drawint the attention of Her Majesty the Governing
            Queen, who was good enough to take the right decision on fhis point and
            opened a special dossier to be heard at the Royal Board for Development of the Wealth
            of the kingdom and to the management of the Academy of Arts. Both unanimously
            expressed that the art of lithography and all liberal calls are, due to their nature,
            exempt of exclusive privileges, and that the one granted to the Royal Establishment of
            Madrid is incompatible for developing lithography. It should be considered more of a
            special grace than a privilege, which was justly limited by virtue of the Royal Order
            of 25 January 1830. Consequently, it should be renewed so that the Spanish industry
            and the nation, currently dominated by foreigners, can receive the benefit as indicated.
                  As Your Majesty is anxious to provide this to your people, and you are
            are aware of everything the dossier entails, it has been resolved that the privilege
            granted to the Royal Lithographic Establishment of Madrid shall continue and
            it is extended for lithographic pictures at the Royal Museum, at the Academy and
            other public establishments of this Court, as notified in the said Royal Order of
            25 January 1830. In accordance with justice, all inviduals who are dedicated to this
            branch of industry in any town within the monarchy, and who judge it convenient,
            are at liberty to raise whatever they deem fit for all kinds of special works.
                  I hereby notify Your Excellency of the Royal Order for your intelligence
                  and corresponding effects. May God protect you. Madrid 13 March 1834.
                                                Javier de Búrgos.
            Secretary of the Fine Arts Royal Academy of San Fernando

Translation by: Kay Leach


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