Basel Printers' Statute, Basel (1531)

Source: Staatsarchiv of Basel-Stadt. 'Erkanntnisbuch' StABS, Ratsbücher B 4, p. 96 recto and verso

Basel Printers' Statute, Basel (1531), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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[p. 96: main details of the decree]



      In the year 1531, on Saturday 28 October, both the old
and the new City Councils have adjudged - since there have
been tensions amongst the printers of the City of Basel, with
one often reprinting the books and works published by another,
thereby causing losses to the latter - that hereafter no
printer of this City of Basel shall reprint another's works
and books during the space of three years after these have
been published and printed; and likewise that no printer
shall print anything that could be harmful [or disadvantag-
eous] to the City of Basel; all this on pain of a fine of
one hundred Rhenish guilders, which will without fail be
levied, as a fair indemnification, from anyone who violates
this. Moreover, henceforth no printer, neither by himself
nor by the mediation of others, may try to persuade another
printer's employees, no matter whether these be editors,
typesetters, printers etc., to leave their employer and
come to work for him instead, the purpose of this regulation
being that no-one is to be hindered in the publication of
the works which he has undertaken; then, those who violate
or flout this, and against whom legal proceedings are
instituted, they shall not be allowed to get away scot-free
by the gentlemen of our Council, but will, rather, be
punished in accordance with the nature of their offence.

      And whereas there has been a private law-suit between
Valentin Curio and Andreas Cratander, since Andreas Cra-
tander has ventured to reprint Valentin's Lexicon Graecum

[left margin, added later, probably in the eighteenth
century, judging from the handwriting]

Concerning printers:
None shall reprint
the work of another;
and nor shall he
print any forbidden
work or anything
dishonourable or
shameful, on pain of
a fine of 100 Rhenish


[p.96: main details of the decree]



      Anno etc XXXI uff samstag den XXVIII octobris haben beyd
alt und nüw rhet erkannt, diwyl ettwas spans under den
druckern dieser statt Basell von wegen das ie einer dem andren
sine biecher und werck nochgetruckt hatt, der ander dar
durch zu schaden gefiert worden, das dan hinfür kein
drucker dyser statt Basell, dem andren sine werck unnd
biecher in dryen joren den nechsten, noch dem dy ussgangen
und truckt worden, nochtrucken, des glichen auch nichts
das einer statt Basell verletzlich [oder nochteylig] sin mag trucken soll,
alles by der peen hundert rinischer guldin, dy von einem
jeden, der das überfert oder fürgott zu rechter buss unablesslich
gnomen sollen werden; Zu dem so soll ouch kein trucker
hinfüro einer, dem andren sin gesind es sigen correctores,
setzer, trucker oder andere, in den werken abstellen mit
innen selb oder durch ander das sy von dem by dem sy sind,
unnd zu im komen, reden oder reden lassen, damit keiner
an den wercken und dem das er ze trucken fürgnomen,
verhindert werd, dan welcher das uberschrit und verachten
wird, und von im zu clag komen, den wollen unsere herren
je noch gestalt der sachen ungestrafft nit hingon lassenn.

      Und als dan ein sonderen span zwüschen valentin
curio und andrea cartander gwesen, in dem das
andreas cartander im valentin den allexicon grecum

[Left margin, added later, probably in the eighteenth
century, judging from the handwriting]

Der trucker halb
keiner soll dem andern
sein Werkh nachdruckhn
auch sonst kein verbot-
enes oder den stand
schimpf= oder schädliches
werkh drukhen
bey Straf 100 G Rheinisch


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