Act on the Protection of Written Property, Norway (1876)

Source: Love, Anordninger, Tractater, Resolutioner, Kundgjørelser, Departementsskrivelser, Circulærer m.m. for Kongeriget Norge : til Brug for den Lovstuderende. 8 : 1871-1876, Chr. Tønsberg, 1878.

Act on the Protection of Written Property, Norway (1876), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Chapter 1 Page 1

Act on the Protection of Written Property.


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Act on the Protection of Written Property.

8 June.

First chapter.

On reprints

1. The exclusive right to have a text (Skrift) printed or otherwise mechanically reproduced in whole or in part shall belong to its author. 2. Writings which include geographical, topographical, scientific, technical and other similar drawings and illustrations are not to be regarded as works of art in their main purpose. 3. What is prescribed in respect of writings shall also apply to musical compositions. 4. The publisher of a periodical text or of a work (Værk) consisting of independent contributions by different contributors shall be regarded as the author, whether the publication is made by a scientific institute or by a society or by an individual. However, the right to the individual contributions shall remain with their authors, who, unless otherwise expressly agreed, shall be entitled to publish the same in another form one year after the first publication of the contribution. 5. Any person who translates a work (Skrift) from another language shall have the rights of an author in respect of his translation, provided that he has not infringed the provisions of this Act (§15). 6. The author may transfer his rights to others, with or without restriction, by will or testament. In the event of the author's death, the rights to the work shall pass, without regard to the state of the estate, first to his spouse and then, in accordance with the law of succession, to his heirs for life, parents and children by blood. The testamentary heir, as well as any other heir, may also freely dispose of the right to which he is entitled; thus, if the will so authorises, or if, in the event of death, there is no one left among the aforementioned persons entitled to inherit, he may, in the same manner as the author, bequeath his residuary right to others. 7. The exclusive right referred to herein shall be valid for the Author’s lifetime and for fifty years after his death. If the work is authored by several persons, without each one appearing as the author of any particular recognisable part of the same, the protection shall extend to fifty years after the death of the longest living co-author. 8. In the case referred to in § 4, scientific institutions and societies shall enjoy protection for works published by them for fifty years after their first publication. 9. Anonymous and pseudonymous works shall be protected for fifty years after their first publication. If the Author is named before this period by himself or by a person authorised to do so, either in a new edition or by a declaration published in the Norwegian Official Gazette and the Nordic Booksellers' Gazette, the full term of protection stipulated in § 7 shall commence. 10. Works published after the death of the Author shall be protected for fifty years after their first publication. 11. For works which are published in several §§, but which form a whole by virtue of their mutual coherence, the time limit under §§ 8, 9 and 10 shall be calculated from the publication of the last §. If a period of more than three years has elapsed between the publication of any of the individual §§, the fact that the §§ thus separated form a coherent whole shall be disregarded when calculating the time limit. 12. Any infringement of another person's right under these Rules by printing or otherwise mechanically reproducing a writing is prohibited as reprinting. Abbreviations, additions or other


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such alterations shall make no difference, unless they are greater than the reproduction, and shall be regarded as the same writing. 13. In the application of § 12 to musical compositions, arrangements of a piece of music for other, more or fewer instruments or voices and the like are to be considered, but not variations, studies, fantasies, potpourris and other such arrangements, which are to be regarded as independent creations of the mind. 14. The prohibition of reprinting includes: a) the publication, in print or by other mechanical means, of handwritten works, sermons, sermonettes, lectures and similar oral presentations by any person without the consent of the author or of the person entitled to his rights; b) the initiation by the author or the publisher of new editions of a work in conflict with the existing publishing relationship between them; c) the publisher having the edition assigned to him printed in a greater number of copies than permitted by his publishing rights. 15. The translation, without the author's consent, of a text from the written language into one of its dialects or vice versa shall be deemed to be a reproduction to which the prohibition on reprinting applies. For this purpose, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish shall be regarded as belonging to the same language. Similarly, a translation shall be deemed to be a reprint: a) if a previously unpublished text is translated, or b) if a text first published in a dead language is translated into a living language, or c) if a text published simultaneously in several languages is translated into one of these languages. 16. It shall not be considered a reprint: a) if only a few sentences of a literary work or a few movements of a musical work are quoted, even if this is done in a straightforward or unaltered manner; b) when individual poems taken from printed literary works, individual printed poems or other printed writings of lesser extent are included in critical or literary-historical works, or at all in a larger whole which, according to its main content, is an independent scientific work, or, after at least one year has elapsed since the first publication of the work used, in collections taken from the writings of various authors for use in church or school, or in teaching, or for a peculiar literary purpose; c) when poems are printed as texts for musical compositions; d) when individual printed illustrations are included in a literary work, provided that this constitutes the work itself and the illustrations serve only to illuminate or clarify the text, or after its main content as an independent scientific pictorial work, or under the condition mentioned in lit. e) when smaller printed musical compositions are included in a scientific work independent of its main content or, under the condition mentioned in lit. b, in collections of works of different composers for use in church or school or for teaching. With the exception of the case mentioned under (a), the name of the author or composer must always be given, insofar as it has been published. 17. It shall also not be considered a reprint when individual articles or announcements from periodicals, daily newspapers and other public journals are reprinted in other periodicals and public journals, unless they are works of poetic or scientific content, where reservations have been made against reprinting. However, the source must always be mentioned. 18. This Act shall not apply to the publication or printing of proceedings of constitutional, municipal or other public bodies, of the courts and of political and other similar public assemblies. The same shall apply to laws, proclamations, judgments and public


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documents of any kind issued by laws, officials and other public authorities. 19. The prohibition on reprinting shall cease when copies of the last edition of the book have not been available in the usual bookshops for five years. If the book consists of several parts, and a single part is sold out during such a period, the prohibition shall cease in respect of that part. 20. The prohibition on reprinting shall, however, come into force again if the authorised party publishes a new edition before a third party has either published such an edition or has announced in the Norwegian National Gazette and the Nordic Booksellers' Gazette that he intends to publish a new edition which will be published within one year of the first publication of the announcement. 21. Intentional or negligent reprinting, whether for the purpose of distribution at home or abroad, shall be punishable by a fine of ten to one thousand Danish kroner. 22. In the event of wilful or negligent reprinting, whether for the purpose of distribution at home or abroad, the offender shall be liable to pay damages to the injured party, which shall be calculated on the basis of the bookstore price of the last lawful edition, after deduction of the proceeds obtained in accordance with § 25, or, if that method is not applicable because the work has not been previously published or for other reasons, on the basis of similar methods. 23. The offence of reprinting is completed as soon as one copy has been printed. 24. Any person who counterfeits or offers for sale copies of a work which he knows to be a reprint shall be punished in accordance with § 21 and shall also be liable to make good any damage caused by his offence. 25. All copies of reprints which exist in the Kingdom and which are intended for sale shall be delivered to the author of the publication or to those authorised and in his right. If it is established that the delivery of the copies to the plaintiff would jeopardise the rights of third parties, it shall be decided in the judgment that they shall be destroyed by police action or placed in such a form that they cannot be misused. If only part of the alleged work is found to be a reprint, the application of this paragraph shall be limited to the copies of the part in question. 26. The plates, stones, stereotype casts and other such materials intended for the unlawful reproduction and used exclusively for the same shall be destroyed or put in a form that they cannot be misused. 27. Any person who intentionally or negligently fails to indicate the source or the name of the author or composer as required by §§ 16 and 17 shall be fined between one and one hundred Danish kroner. He shall be exempt from any other liability.


Chapter 2.

Unauthorised performance of dramatic and musical-dramatic works.

28. The exclusive right to have a dramatic work performed in public belongs to its author or to the person to whom his right has been transferred in accordance with § 6. This exclusive right applies not only to the performance of the work in the original language, but also to the languages into which the author has the exclusive right to translate his work pursuant to § 15. On the other hand, anyone who lawfully translates such a work from another language shall have the rights of an author in respect of his translation. 29. The composer of a musical-dramatic work shall have the same right as provided in § 28. 30. It shall not be considered a performance if the work or parts thereof are presented or performed without stage equipment. 31. If the work is written or composed jointly by several persons, the consent of each of them to its public performance shall be required. However, in the case of musical-dramatic works, the consent of the composer shall suffice, and in the case of dramatic works to which individual pieces of music are set,


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the consent of the author shall suffice. 32. Unless otherwise expressly agreed, the person to whom the author or composer has transferred the right of public performance shall have the right to repeat the performance as often as he wishes, but shall not have the right to transfer to others the right granted to him. 33. Such an assignment by the author or composer shall not prevent him from assigning similar rights to others, even if he has expressly granted an exclusive right to a person who has not performed the work in public for five consecutive years. 34. The right referred to in §§ 28 and 29 shall last for the life of the author or composer and fifty years after his death. In the case of anonymous and pseudonymous works, the term of protection shall be fifty years in the manner specified in § 9, the regular term of protection commencing. 35. Unauthorised public performance of a dramatic or musical-dramatic work shall be punishable by a fine of ten to one thousand Danish kroner if the infringement was intentional or negligent. 36. Accordingly, the guilty party shall compensate the injured party in full for the damage which the injured party may reasonably be deemed to have suffered. The compensation shall in no case be less than the benefit which the guilty party may be deemed to have received after deduction of the separate costs incurred in connection with the unauthorised construction.


Chapter Three.

General provisions.

37. The periods prescribed in §§ 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16 and 34 shall not include the calendar year in which the event giving rise to the commencement of the period occurred. 38. If the Nordic Booksellers' Journal ceases to be published, the King shall determine the manner in which the notices referred to in §§ 9 and 20, cf. § 34, shall be given. 39. The fines laid down in this Act shall be paid to the State Treasury. 40. The Public authorities do not initiate prosecutions for the offences treated herein. Instead, it is up to the person who has been offended by them to initiate legal proceedings. 41. The Publisher shall not be entitled, without express permission, to initiate more than one edition and to make it larger than one thousand copies. 42. In the case of anonymous and pseudonymous works, the publisher or printer named in the work shall be deemed to be authorised to look after the interests of the author. 43. Penalties and damages under this Act (§§ 21, 22, 24, 27, 35 and 36) shall be forfeited if the offence is not reported to the court within two years, calculated in the case of reprints (§§ 21 and 22) and the introduction of reprint copies (§ 24) from the time when the illegal work was first placed on the market, otherwise from the time when the offence was committed. Likewise, the penalty and compensation shall lapse if the offender fails to report the infringement for a period of one year from the date on which he demonstrably became aware of the infringement, or fails to continue to report the infringement for an equivalent period of time. 44. Proceedings for the infringement or destruction of reproductions and the materials referred to in Section 26 which are exclusively intended for unlawful reproduction shall remain open as long as such reproductions or materials are in existence and the reproduced work is protected. 45. This Act shall apply to works of domestic authors or composers and to works published by foreigners. 46. Subject to reciprocity, the provisions of this Law


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may also be extended by Royal Decree, in whole or in part, to works belonging to other countries, provided that they are protected by the laws of their country of origin. 47. This Act shall enter into force at the beginning of next year. It shall also apply, under the legal conditions already established, to writings, drawings, illustrations and musical compositions published before that date, even if they do not enjoy any protection, or do not enjoy the same protection, under the legislation hitherto in force. However, all copies in existence at that time and lawfully printed under the previous legislation should continue to be part of the market. Similarly, it should be possible to complete lawful publications already begun and to use lawfully acquired plates, moulds and stones and stereotype casts even after this Act has come into force. 48. The special privileges and prohibitions granted under previous legislation and still in force shall continue to apply. Similarly, the Act of 13 September 1830 on the prohibition of reprinting of writings to which foreign States have the right of publication shall remain in force with respect to Danish published works until this Act can be made applicable to them in accordance with § 46. On the other hand, §§ 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the Act of 22 May 1875 on access to dramatic and other public performances, etc., shall be repealed, as well as everything else in the hitherto applicable provisions that is contrary to this Act.


Translation by: Merisha Bruncevic


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