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Copyright Pocketbooks (1890)

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Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900)
www.copyrighthistory.org
Identifier: s_1890


Commentary on Copyright Pocketbooks (1890-1905)

José Bellido (Birkbeck College, University of London)

Raquel Xalabarder (Universidad Oberta de Catalunya)

Ramón Casas Vallès (Universidad de Barcelona)

Please cite as:
Bellido, J., Xalabarder, R. & Casas Vallès, R. (2011) ‘Commentary on Copyright Pocketbooks (1890-1905)', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org
 
1. Full title

2. Abstract

3.  Professional and useful books

4. Copyright law in your pocket

5. Commonplaces

6. References


 

1. Full title

Copyright Pocketbooks (1890-1905)

 2. Abstract

Copyright pocketbooks mushroomed in Spain throughout the last decade of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. They might be considered irrelevant for copyright academics. In fact, they were minor books with few or no theoretical insights. However, they were suited for the rapid expansion and communication of copyright law among different audiences. The commentary explains their features and their importance for the understanding of the history of copyright law in Spain.

 

3.  Professional and useful books

A variety of copyright pocketbooks proliferated in Spain by the end of nineteenth century. Although we have classed them together, it is obvious that some differences existed among them.[1] However, a closer look reveals their similar genre. Their distinctive and unifying feature was not only their space in an increasing copyright bibliography but also their peculiar address. They professed a different economy of language and they appealed to different sorts of readers than the typical copyright treatise. In fact, their decisive point was that they could not be categorised as copyright treatises.[2] They were not written by prestigious commentators;[3] some of them were not even published by identifiable authors.[4]  Most of them did not provide any commentary to the copyright law at all. The contrast may be put more specifically. If Dánvila y Collado’s masterpiece was a monumental and charismatic book with an impact in Spanish copyright discipline, these textbooks were irrelevant in establishing academic knowledge: they were insignificant. But in placing a considerable degree of importance in their accessibility “to all”, they gained significance and achieved a considerable relevance. Not only did they enjoy immense popularity: their esteem expanded through different publics. They were defined by their “practical” and “immediate” utility.[5] They were books of their time: ephemeral artefacts of an epoch.

  

Their purpose was to bring copyright law to all, and specifically to those professions that could be related somehow to copyright. Although they could appear as a supplement to a journal[6] or as a part of a collection of small books,[7] they were often targeted for “authors, publishers, copyright owners, lawyers, judges”.[8]  Since the market was not exhausted, there were also attempts to sell them to “anyone and any civil servant”.[9] Their network value also resided in their portability and it was precisely this factor which made them attractive to colonial Spanish entrepreneurs.[10] And in order to attract buyers, whether in Madrid or in La Havana, nothing was more striking and eye-catching than their price: they were indeed cheap.[11]

  

4. All copyright law in your pocket

Designed for such varied and potential audiences, being available in the main Spanish cities (Madrid and Barcelona),[12] and, more importantly, in the “provinces”,[13]  what seems interesting is not only their content but their similar style, their analogous exhibiting aesthetic. In comparable and emergent ways, they seemed to constitute knowledge on a different (basic) level. They were described as little volumes (tomitos)[14] and their explanatory notes were indeed small, concise, and succinct.[15] Their remarkable format seemed to follow a concomitant desire. Their printed outcomes were united in an attempt to provide “copyright without complication”.[16]

The technologies to make copyright visible were emphatically similar. Since the suggestion of an “easy” copyright law or their introductory slogan of a “copyright without complication” implied a basic idea, the presentation of a more manageable material was needed. Indeed, these pocketbooks did contain less material. “Less” meant fewer pages, and therefore the erasure of history, theory and law. Nevertheless, it was often claimed that the purpose of these pocketbooks was to compile all copyright law.[17] The ambition to include all copyright by excluding pages could only be achieved if the idea of law was reduced in relation to enforceability.[18] Except for minor embellishments, pocketbooks only imagined copyright law as the law in force. Bringing together the enforceable law and its regulatory development,[19] they often included valid bilateral and multilateral copyright conventions.[20]  They occasionally included some small references to case law but those tiny constellations were always incorporated as showcases and with a caption: proportionality was the rule.[21] Surely, all of these inclusions were suggesting a new relation of the reader to copyright law. The relationship is perhaps more modest,[22] not philosophical but practical.[23] In that handy engagement, there was “no need to discuss principles”,[24] just “facts”. The law was compiled through “indexes”. Indexing copyright law was the way of offering a quick look at the subject matter. Chronological, alphabetical and other types of indexes abound in these tiny books.[25] And the manner in which the matter was presented was often through “extracts”.[26] 

 

5. Commonplaces

Copyright law was then read a-historically and “extracted”. There was no attempt to do more; no references to parliamentary discussions or to different theoretical schools. The law was presented “as such”.[27] In their dogmatic assumptions and predicaments, we may consider these publications as pedagogical exercises. Certainly the mission behind the books was not to discuss but to consolidate copyright knowledge in order to deal with it “in practice”.[28] In fact, it is no surprise that another reference that pops up in these books, another actor in these “practical” situations in which copyright law could be found, was that of collecting societies of authors.[29] If Dánvila y Collado did not pay attention to them, collecting societies of authors did begin to acquire a prominent place in these pocketbooks.[30] These tiny books opened a window onto modalities of their ways of associating and their forms of organising their correspondents.

 

 6. References

 

Ansorena, L. Tratado de la Propiedad Intelectual en España (Madrid: Sáenz de Jubera Hermanos 1894)

Castillo y Soriano, J. Manual legislativo de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Romero, 1901) 

Dánvila y Collado, M. La Propiedad Intelectual (Madrid: Imprenta de la Correspondencia de España, 1882) 

García Garófalo y Morales, F. La Propiedad Intelectual e Industrial (Habana: La Propaganda Literaria, 1890) 

García Llansó, A. Manual de la Propiedad Intelectual (Barcelona: Tipografía Luis Tasso, 1901) 

Manual de Legislación y Tratados sobre la Propiedad Intelectual é Industrial (Madrid: San Bernardo 58, 1903) 

Hereza, C. “Antonio Soto y Hernández” in Galvarriato, J. A. Semblanzas Jurídicas (Madrid: Imprenta de J. Lacoste, 1906)  pp. 233-236 

Soto y Hernández, A. Manual de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Góngora, 1902) 

Ureña, R. “Recensión al libro de García Llanso, Manual de Propiedad Intelectual” Revista General de Jurisprudencia y Legislación, volume 101 (1902), p. 197. 

 

 

 

 



[1] For instance, Ansorena’s book was a hybrid in-between a treatise and a pocketbook. See Ansorena, L. Tratado de la Propiedad Intelectual en España (Madrid: Sáenz de Jubera Hermanos) 1894.

[2] “El libro, pues, carece de las condiciones distintivas de un tratado, é inspirado en el deseo de que pueda ser útil á la generalidad” in García Lllanso, A. Manual de la Propiedad Intelectual (Barcelona: Tipografía Luis Tasso, 1901), p. 10.

[3] Antonio Soto y Hernández, Manual de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Góngora, 1902), at v.

[4] Manual de Legislación y Tratados sobre la Propiedad Intelectual é Industrial (Madrid: San Bernardo 58, 1903).

[5] José del Castillo y Soriano, Manual legislativo de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Romero, 1901) at v; García Lllanso, A. Manual de la Propiedad Intelectual (Barcelona: Tipografía Luis Tasso, 1901) p. 10.

[6] For instance, the publishing group behind the Revista de Legislación Universal y Jurisprudencia Española edited the Manual de Legislación y Tratados sobre la Propiedad Intelectual é Industrial (Madrid: San Bernardo 58, 1903).

[7] For instance, the Biblioteca Económica de Bolsillo was the major editorial project of pocketbooks from which the following copyright specimen was published: Antonio Soto y Hernández, Manual de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Góngora, 1902).

[8] José del Castillo y Soriano, Manual legislativo de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Romero, 1901) at v.

[9] José del Castillo y Soriano, Manual legislativo de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística, (Madrid: Romero, 1901) at v.

[10] Francisco García Garófalo y Morales, La Propiedad Intelectual e Industrial (Habana: La Propaganda Literaria, 1890).

[11] Antonio Soto y Hernández, Manual de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Góngora, 1902), at iii.

[12] La Ilustración Artística, Barcelona, Aug. 19, 1901, p. 552 [review of  García Llansó, A. Manual de la Propiedad Intelectual (Barcelona: Tipografía Luis Tasso, 1901)]

[13] Backcover of Manual de Legislación y Tratados sobre la Propiedad Intelectual é Industrial (Madrid: San Bernardo 58, 1903).

[14] Antonio Soto y Hernández, Manual de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Góngora, 1902), at iv.

[15] José del Castillo y Soriano, Manual legislativo de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Romero, 1901) at vi.

[16] García Garófalo y Morales, F. La Propiedad Intelectual e Industrial (Habana: La Propaganda Literaria, 1890) p. 10.

[17] Antonio Soto y Hernández, Manual de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Góngora, 1902), at v.

[18] José del Castillo y Soriano, Manual legislativo de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Romero, 1901), p. 17 (“Ley vigente de propiedad literaria y artística”).

[19] José del Castillo y Soriano, Manual legislativo de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Romero, 1901), p. 17 (copyright law) and p. 36 (copyright regulations); Antonio Soto y Hernández, Manual de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Góngora, 1902), p. 1 (copyright law) and p. 22 (copyright regulations).

[20] José del Castillo y Soriano, Manual legislativo de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Romero, 1901), p. 73-78 (Italy); pp. 79-87 (France); pp. 88-97 (United Kingdom); pp. 99-104 (Belgium); pp. 108-113 (Salvador); pp. 114-121 (Colombia); pp. 122-141 (Berne); 142-145 (Montevideo); pp. 146-153 (Costa Rica); pp. 154-159 (Guatemala); pp. 160-166 (Mexico). Antonio Soto y Hernández, Manual de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Góngora, 1902), p. 57 (Berne), p. 178 (France), p. 186 (Italy), p. 191 (United Kingdom), p. 201 (Belgium, Portugal and Salvador), p. 202 (Colombia, Montevideo, and Guatemala), p. 203 (Costa Rica, Mejico, Cuba and Porto Rico), p. 204 (Argentina, Paraguay, Venezuela), p. 205 (Peru, Ecuador and United States).

[21] Antonio Soto y Hernández, Manual de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Góngora, 1902), p. 146 (“Por no dar proporciones impropias á este Manual, sólo insertamos las sentencias del Tribunal Supremo, tanto civiles como criminales, que contienen doctrina más interesante [...])”.

[22] Antonio Soto y Hernández, Manual de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Góngora, 1902), at iii.

[23] José del Castillo y Soriano, Manual legislativo de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Romero, 1901) at vii.

[24] José del Castillo y Soriano, Manual legislativo de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística, (Madrid: Romero, 1901) at v.

[25] José del Castillo y Soriano, Manual legislativo de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Romero, 1901), p. 177 (índice cronológico de disposiciones); p. 275 (índice de trabajos contenidos); p. 277 (índice alfabético de materias y nombres).

[26] Antonio Soto y Hernández, Manual de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Góngora, 1902), at iv.  José del Castillo y Soriano, Manual legislativo de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Romero, 1901) p. 2 (“frases y opiniones sobre su concepto y circunstancia”).

[27] See, e.g. Revista contemporánea Año XX Tomo XCIV Volumen V – June 15, 1894, p. 556.

[28] La Correspondencia de España, June 20, 1894, p. 2 [Ansorena’s book as a practical tool]

[29] Antonio Soto y Hernández, Manual de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Góngora, 1902), pp. 207-224.

[30] “Antes de dar término á este pequeño libro consagrado á la propiedad intelectual y al derecho porque la misma se rige, consideramos oportuno dedicar unas páginas á la reciente asociación de autores españoles [...]” in Antonio Soto y Hernández, Manual de la Propiedad Literaria y Artística (Madrid: Góngora, 1902), p. 207.


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