# Primary Sources on Copyright - Record Viewer




Censorship Instruction for Newspapers, Denmark–Norway, Copenhagen (1701)

Source: Danish National Archives: Danish Chancellery: Instruktionsbøger for kollegier, institutioner og embedsmænd: A90-2, 1698-1730, fol. 104-107.

Censorship Instruction for Newspapers, Denmark–Norway, Copenhagen (1701), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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8 translated pages

Chapter 1 Page 1

[Parts of transcription for pages 1+2 are incomplete].

Instruction, whereby We Frederick the Fourth, by the Grace of God, King of Denmark and Norway... have most graciously commanded all newspapers... to be revised before they may go to press.


Chapter 1 Page 2

1. Our director of the printing office, Johannes Lauerentzen, shall not allow any new newspapers to be published in print, under whatever name, without their prior censorship and approbation by both Severin Rasmussen and Johan Bartram Ernst, as our commissioners. To this end the said Johannes Lauerentzen shall send them each time a copy on writing paper of his prepared newspapers, after he has corrected them from all errors in printing. When the members of the committee have examined it carefully, they shall mark it with their censor’s mark and have him produce an identical copy, printed under his hand,


Chapter 1 Page 3

just as it was censored. If he then prints it, they shall also take a copy for their records before it is published.


2. Whatever shall be deemed advisable to be omitted, added, or otherwise altered in this censorship, it shall remain so, unless our Director of the Printing Press shall himself consider it so, when it shall be reported to our Great Chancellor.


3. Presumably nothing shall be admitted therein which is thought to be likely to injure Us, Our Ministers, or other persons of high rank, as well as Our State, or to cause any particular reflection among foreigners,


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wherefore nothing shall be reported of conferences held here with foreign dignitaries, nor, without special permission, of any other movement or activity on land or sea, much less shall any list of Our fleets, land militia, or artillery be entered without Our most sovereign command.

4. If it is necessary to describe anything that has happened at our court or among our most distinguished ministers and persons of high rank, it shall be written in a summary style, decent and reputable.


5. In the reception of foreign sovereigns and ambassadors, in admissions, treaties,


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and audiences, everything must be carefully observed, as it has been done, so that nothing of it may be quoted to the detriment of our future ceremonies.


6. In the newspapers everything shall be omitted which is likely to offend foreign sovereigns and governments, and especially our friends, relatives, neighbors and allies, or, in general, the envoys, ambassadors and foreign ministers residing at our court, and which might be offended thereby; nor shall any skeptical, contemptuous or insinuating remarks be permitted about any foreign person of high rank.


7. Otherwise, certain things may be said of our known allies and friends which may


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bring them honor and pleasure, provided it can be ascertained from the foreign newspapers received that it has been done in this way, provided nothing objectionable is reported of their participation.


8. In general, the New Journals printed here will be based on the printed or written reports that arrive by postal mail, and this should be done as soon as possible after the mail arrives. The most significant, curious and remarkable contents found therein should be extracted and presented without undue frivolity or recognizable partiality, and using appropriate expressions.


9. Furthermore, that which is not particularly certain should be omitted,


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and not more than one report should be presented if it is supposed to be some special or important news. Likewise, news of no importance, such as the arrival of couriers, constant secret meetings in foreign places, and the like, from which no new information can be learned, may also be omitted.  Similarly, the author's reasoning or other people's discussions about what is happening can be omitted. Speculation about what might happen should be ignored, and only what is reported to have actually happened should be dealt with.


10. If something else is to be introduced and added in place of what has been omitted in this way, it too should first be censored and approved.


Chapter 1 Page 8

[The following two pages are missing from the document scans].


11. In order that every man may have the most humble knowledge of our gracious ordinances as they are published from time to time in print, they should be reported in the newspapers immediately on the next post day after their publication.


12. For the information of our maritime negotiators and other interested parties, what is reported therein about the ships to which our subordinates are known to belong shall be extracted from the foreign notices.


13. Furthermore, the so-called Monthly Reports should contain especially the most noteworthy events of all the preceding messages, and such new information is to be found continuously, from post to post. In general, all reports should be printed in such a character and style that the news can be understood by as many as possible.


14. In the so-called Advertisements, everyone must be allowed to have what he considers important to be made known everywhere, such as large auctions, or anything that may have been stolen, lost, or the like, as long as it is of some importance or value.


15. If the circumstances of the times or any great changes in Europe should require our most gracious orders, we shall communicate our most gracious will through our Great Chancellor after due notice. Written etc.


Copenhagen. dated 19th March 1701.


Translation by: Mersiha Bruncevic


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