Regulations and Rules for the Printing Industry in Sweden, Stockholm (1752)

Source: Kongl. Maj:ts Nådige Förordning Och REGLEMENTE För Boktryckerne i Riket. Gifwit Stockholm i Råd-Camaren then 12. Aug. 1752. SIDERHOLM, Tryckt uti Kongl. Tryckeriet, Hos Directeuren PET. MOMMA.

Regulations and Rules for the Printing Industry in Sweden, Stockholm (1752), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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We, Adolph Fredrik, by the grace of God, King of the Swedes, the Goths, the Wends, and others, etc., etc., etc., heir to the throne of Norway, and Duke of Schleswig Holsten, etc., etc., do make it henceforth known such as We have been informed by those in our service that there have been various abuses of, and much disorder in, the printeries of the Realm, and that this has led to a difficult and deteriorating situation, as well as hindered the creation and progress of Literature and the book trade. We have therefore, in part to promote such, and in part to establish a better order between the printeries themselves and their workers, found it appropriate to gracefully issue and establish the following Articles:


As concerns the establishment of a Book Printers’ Society

§. 1.

All Book Printers in this Realm who now own, or intend in the future to establish their own printery, shall be obliged to establish a Community or Society, which is to hold public meetings, as often as needed, in Stockholm,


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in those locations which are most suitable for these purposes. Members of our and the Realms’ Chancellery-College, which oversees the printeries, shall chair these meetings. All Book Printers from the provinces, who are able to attend, have a right to participate and have their voices heard. Those unable to do so, can have their affairs represented by a delegate from one of the printeries operating in the city.

§. 2.

Since this Society is principally responsible for supervision of the book printers, so that all be carried out in an orderly fashion and that the craft may continue to develop and improve in the Realm, We grant the Society the authority to settle minor disputes that may arise between the Book Printers themselves or their workers, with respect to poor work performance or damages. The Society may also impose fines on the offenders, in minor cases among companies, in accordance with the paragraphs set out herein, and they may receive financial assistance from the relevant authorities in these matters. The monies obtained through these fines shall be to the Society’s account as a source of income to cover the necessary costs for the services of notaries, correspondence, and all other necessary expenses. The Notary


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is responsible to keep diligent records of all such receipts and expenses and present a report annually at the last public meeting. Any surplus in excess of costs shall be used in a manner beneficial to all Book Printers, as decided by the Society at the meeting and as the Society deems suitable.

§. 3.

The Book Printers’ Society is responsible to us and the Royal Chancellery (Cancellie-Collegio) for its activities and to this end it should keep diligent Records that can be presented upon request.

§. 4.

No Printer of Books in Stockholm shall, without good reason, fail to attend the meetings of the Printing Society, as organised in accordance with §. 1. The first failure to attend shall attract a fine of two (2) Daler Silvermynt. Thereafter, the fine shall be doubled for each subsequent absence. Should the Society deem it necessary to call in a Printer of Books from the provinces to attend, that summons shall be taken as mandatory. If he fails to attend, the Society shall decide on an appropriate fine in accordance with the circumstances. Insofar as the first-mentioned finable offence is concerned,


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neither may anyone leave the meeting during the deliberations without the consent of the others present, and following such the absentee shall accept their conclusions and their concurrent decisions. The decisions and agreements reached within the Society may not be disclosed to any other party or person on pain of a fine of six (6) Daler Silvermynt for the first offence – to be doubled for each subsequent offence.

§. 5.

Letters received by the Society may not be opened by anyone other than the person entrusted to do so by the Book Printers at the meeting, and any other person who does so shall be fined four (4) Daler Silvermynt. Should any person conceal any such letters or refrain from reporting any written information to the Society that he should report, he shall be fined twelve (12) Daler Silvermynt, the amount of the fine to be divided between the informant and the Society’s treasury. The same fine shall be imposed on anyone who writes anonymously in the name of the Society, without having been asked to do so, and such person shall also pay compensation for any damage caused to any other person as a result.



As concerns the establishment of new Book Printeries

§. 1.

We have been informed by those in our service of the establishment of a greater number of book printeries in the Realm


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than is necessary to provide sufficient work for its employees. It is, therefore, our gracious will that no further Book Printery shall be established without an application for permission to do so, and a convincing case being presented for the operation and maintenance of such an enterprise without detriment to the existing printeries. As such, any such application pertaining to the book printing industry, or anything that in any way affects this industry, must be presented to the Society so that its members may have the opportunity to present their opinions and recommendations prior to any decision being made.

§. 2.

Whosoever wishes to become a Printer of Books by the subsequent establishment of a Printery, shall give notice thereof and present good reasons for doing so in accordance with the preceding paragraph, and no person shall thereafter charge them with any fees for privileges or benefits, by whatever name called, under penalty of a fine of fifty (50) Daler Silvermynt. Instead, they shall pay the sum of twenty (20) Daler Silvermynt only for their membership in the Society. If he is the Printer’s Son or an Apprentice who has come to own a Printery through inheritance or marriage, he shall pay


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only ten (10) Daler Silvermynt. Widows of Book Printers may also operate the Printeries of their deceased spouses without paying a fee to the Society, provided they remain unwed and fit to operate the enterprise in an appropriate manner.



As concerns the settlement of transactions for and between Printery Owners

§. 1.

All Book Printers shall from the outset submit to the Society a record of their published books already printed, where it is also clearly stated which of these have received our gracious Privilege. Thereafter, they shall, every six months, submit such a record regarding everything they have printed either in their own or in any other printery, during the preceding six months, or which is in the course of being printed. The Society shall be responsible every six months for the compilation and publication of a reliable Catalogue of everything that is printed in this Realm based on these records.

§. 2.

Those Book Printers and Publishers who wish to be granted our gracious Privilege for any Book or Text must show proof that its Manuscript is complete or if it


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is a work that is to be published in instalments, then at least the first such instalment must be complete. As soon as the Privilege is granted, its recipient must immediately register it with the Society and announce it in the public newspapers. Should they neglect to do so, they themselves shall be liable for any damages or loss arising therefrom.


§. 3.

No one may attempt to reprint the Books and Tracts which have received our gracious Privilege, according to the conditions set forth therein. Likewise, no one may presume to publish minor works of ten or twelve sheets, even if they are published without Privilege, if a Manuscript has already been published. Violation will result in a fine of ten to twenty Daler Silvermynt, depending on the circumstances, and all distributed Copies will be confiscated. If a Privilege has expired, or if such a minor text which has been published without Privilege, becomes rare due to of its circulation, another person may publish it, provided that the previous publisher or the rightful owner, who should have been allowed to publish first, does not do so. Those that wish to publish a translation of a text, with or without Privilege, shall rapport this to our and the Realms’ Chancellery-College and provide proof of their work. After permission to publish