Commentary on:
Wächter: 'Publishing Right' (1857)

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Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900)

Identifier: d_1857


Oscar von Wächter, Publishing Right (Stuttgart, 1857)

Friedemann Kawohl

School of Finance & Law, Bournemouth University, UK


Please cite as:
Kawohl, F. (2008) ‘Commentary on Oscar von Wächter, Publishing Right (Stuttgart, 1857)', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,


1. Full title

2. Abstract

3. References


1. Full title

Oscar von Wächter, Publishing Right, including theories of the publishing contract and of reprinting, in accordance with the existing German and international laws, with special reference to the legislations of Austria, Prussia, Bavaria and Saxony (Stuttgart: Cotta, 1857)


2. Abstract

With its index of 73 pages and extensive footnotes, including detailed references to the primary sources (statutes enacted in the German lands as well as in other countries) and to the secondary literature, this treatise by Oscar von Wächter (1825-1902) is one of the most comprehensive nineteenth-century compendia on copyright.[1] After a historical introduction (pp.1-85), the main part of the book (pp. 89-738) systematically presents basic concepts with reference to German legislation and jurisdiction, as well as a number of earlier treatises. The last section (pp.741-832) gives an overview on foreign jurisdictions, with a particular focus on international treaties.


According to Wächter, the author's right is purely a publishing right that can be completely alienated by means of a publishing contract.[2] This view resembles British and American notions of copyright and was also invoked by Hitzig,[3] Meinert,[4] and Gerber.[5] In this sense it was  the direct opposite of the personalistic approach employed by Neustetel,[6] Bluntschli,[7] and Gareis.[8]


3. References


Books and articles [in alphabetical order]

Dölemeyer, B. and D. Klippel, "Theorie des gewerblichen Rechtsschutzes und Urheberrechts", in F.K. Beier et al (eds), Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht in Deutschland, vol. 1 (Weinheim: VCH, 1991)

Pahlow, L. Lizenz und Lizenzvertrag im Recht des geistigen Eigentums (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2006)

[1] Barabara Dölemeyer and Diethelm Klippel, "Theorie des gewerblichen Rechtsschutzes und Urheberrechts", in Friedrich-Karl Beier at al (eds), Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht in Deutschland, vol. 1 (Weinheim: VCH, 1991), 219, have identified, alongside Wächter's, the following works as the first monographs to focus on copyright in the second half of the nineteenth century: Jolly (d_1852); Christian Friedrich Eisenlohr, Das literarisch-artistische Eigenthum und Verlagsrecht: mit Rücks. auf die Gesetzgebungen (Schwerin: Bärensprung, 1855), which is available online at:


Max Friedländer, Der einheimische und ausländische Rechts-Schutz gegen Nachdruck (Leipzig: Brockhaus 1857), which is available online at:


Carl Friedrich von Gerber, "Ueber die Natur der Rechte des Schriftstellers und Verlegers", Jahrbücher für die Dogmatik des heutigen römischen und deutschen Privatrechts 3 (1859): 359-398, available online at:

<"2084719_03%2b1859">; Mandry (d_1867a); and Peter Harum, Die gegenwärtige österreichische Pressgesetzgebung (Vienna: Manz, 1857), available online at:


[2] See also Louis Pahlow, Lizenz und Lizenzvertrag im Recht des geistigen Eigentums (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2006), 87.

[3] d_1838a.

[4] d_1844a: Franz Wilhelm Meinert, Das Königlich sächsische Gesetz vom 22. Februar 1844 zum Schutz der Rechte an litterarischen Erzeugnissen und Werken der Kunst (Leipzig: Teubner 1844).

[5] See the details above in f.n. 1.

[6] d_1824.

[7] d_1853a.

[8] d_1877.

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