Renewed Swedish Censorship Laws, Stockholm (1684)

Source: Hans Kongl. May:s Stadga och Fordordning Om alla Nyskreffne Wärkz Censerande i Rijket, sa wid Academier och Skolar, som andra Orter innan dhe tryckte warda. Item. Stadfästelse på förra Kongl. Förordningar om thet samma, så och Exemplars inlefwererande til Kongl. Archivum och Bibliotheket aff alt thet som tryckt warder. Sampt Booktryckiarnes Straff som här emot bryta. Dat. Stockholm 5 Julij 1684. Trykt hos Niclas Wanküff, Kongelig boktrykker. Location: The National Library of Sweden.

Renewed Swedish Censorship Laws, Stockholm (1684), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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His Royal Majesty’s Statute and Ordinance Regarding the Censorship of All Newly Written Works in the Realm, both at Academies and Schools, as well as other Places before they are printed. Additionally, Confirmation of previous Royal Ordinances on the same matter, as well as the delivery of copies to the Royal Archives and the Library of all that is printed. Also, the Punishment of Printers who violate this. Dated Stockholm, 5 July 1684.

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We, Carl, by the Grace of God, King of Sweden, the Goths and the Wends, Grand Duke of Finland, Duke of Scania, Estonia, Livonia, Karelia, Bremen, Verden, Stettin-Pomerania, Cassubia, and Wenden, Prince of Rügen, Lord over Ingermanland and Wismar; also Palatine Count at Rhine in Bavaria, to Jülich, Cleve, and Duke of Berg, hereby declare that  we, with great concern, have noticed that there is much abuse taking place withing the printing houses. Both at the universities and in many other places within our realms and its subordinate provinces where printing presses exist. Various publications are being released without prior censorship leading to all manner of disturbances, conflicts, and confusions, and containing many insults

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directed at individuals or their work. What has come to light is both prohibited and entirely unacceptable, as it not only goes against all good order and common customs, but also violates the statutes and regulations that have been issued to prevent such unacceptability. These regulations were first adopted at the University of Uppsala on June 27th, 1655, according to the constitutions established for the university, and later with a wider scope during our years as a minor, by our guardians and the government of these realms on July 15th 1662, as well as the subsequent decree on August 14th 1663, intended to correct all such transgressions. We, ourselves, after our accession to the government, have issued written instructions, both to other authorities and particularly to those of the bishops and consistories where the printing presses are located, and we have reiterated this on November 12th, 1670. So, in order to ensure that such goodly regulations are not neglected but are fully implemented, and so that the benefits

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are achieved through them may be realised and evaluated, we have chosen to hereby reiterate and renew them in every respect. Therefore, all works at the university printing houses and works falling under their supervision must not be printed without first undergoing censorship by relevant departments, or by learned persons who are competent in the matter, just as prescribed in the constitutions previously issued for the University of Uppsala, by our late and highly esteemed father, in God’s memory. Let there be no violation of the law in any way, subject to legal penalties. If any professor or any other person affiliated with the universities wishes to summarise a work that cannot be directly approved for publication under the current censorship rules, it must first be submitted to our chancellery. There, it may be reviewed, censored or, depending on its nature, referred to the appropriate authority with jurisdiction over the subject matter.

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If this concerns other places within these realms where there are printing presses, we wish that the same rules be followed so that printers cannot freely publish whatever they please at their own discretion, with the exception of church and school books.  Instead, they should apply to the Consistory in that location, which can assess what is necessary or beneficial within this area. But when it comes to other works, whether they are of a spiritual or secular nature or have been recently written, they should not be allowed to be printed until they have been approved either by our Chancellery or by individuals specifically appointed to present such books. As for antiquities, they should be examined by the College of antiquities and those authorised. Likewise, bishops, superintendents, presidents of consistories, and other learned individuals in their respective places should carefully oversee what is being printed under their jurisdiction and not permit anything useless, harmful, or offensive to come to light.


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We hereby confirm all that is contained in the regulations issued during our years as a minor in 1662 and 1663, which changes nothing other than words and letters compared to what has been introduced. We have, much to our dismay, noticed that very few copies of all the writings, books, and treatises that have been published since the year 1661 have been delivered to our archive and library, even though it has been strictly prescribed and commanded, and we have now strictly order that everything that has been neglected and overlooked in this matter up to the present day shall be carried out and completed without delay. Printers everywhere are obliged to provide an accurate list and record of everything that has been issued from their workshops since that time and to immediately submit two copies, one to our archive and one to our library, as previously mentioned. But if there


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are no more copies of the works with them, the authors must identify them and, if possible, obtain the missing copies. Failing to comply shall be fined with hundred daler silvermynt.  Additionally, they must require a declaration for every book they publish, and in this way, they are obligated to submit two copies, so that we can not only know what is being published by the printers in these realms, but also detect more quickly if anything that may be considered vainly published comes about in any way, and impose the appropriate fines accordingly. If any book printer dares to print anything without the permission and knowledge of the authorities, they will be punished immediately. Supervision of our chancellery, university chancellors, archbishops, bishops, consistoria, and all others involved in this matter should diligently ensure that it is fully implemented


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