PRIMARY SOURCES

ON COPYRIGHT

(1450-1900)

Commentary on:
Privilege granted to Luís Vaz de Camões (1572)

Back | Commentary info | Commentary
Printer friendly version
Creative Commons License
This work by www.copyrighthistory.org is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Luís Vaz de Camões (born circa 1524/25, died on 10th June 1580, which is the Day of Portugal, Camões, and the Portuguese Communities) is Portugal’s great national poet, author of Os Lusíadas. 

The national epic poem entails 10 cantos in ottava rima, amounting to 1,102 stanzas, describing, at both a historical and a mythological levels, Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the sea route to India.

It celebrates the courage, enterprise and glorious deeds of the Portuguese and their victories over men and forces of nature, also invoking the Olympian gods who gather to discuss the fate of the expedition.

The work was published in 1572 with the permission of both King D. Sebastião and the Inquisition.

Once the Inquisition was established in Portugal and censorship became the norm (in 1536) the activity of printmakers was closely monitored, with each book requiring a printing authorization issued by the Church.

To ensure compliance lists of forbidden books were drafted and printed under the guidance of the head of the Portuguese Inquisition (Inquisidor Geral).

In practice, both the Church and the Monarch closely supervised all printing activity, persecuting and punishing authors and printmakers, censoring pages and withdrawing books from sale where they saw fit.

In this environment books would display a dedication and invocation of a patron and/or a royal privilege, to protect both authors and printmakers.

Thus, both the printing privilege and the authorisation of the Inquisition are present on the first edition of Os Lusíadas, as well as an introduction, invocation and dedication to King D. Sebastião.

Commentary by Patricia Akester

 

 



Copyright History resource developed in partnership with:


Our Partners


Copyright statement

You may copy and distribute the translations and commentaries in this resource, or parts of such translations and commentaries, in any medium, for non-commercial purposes as long as the authorship of the commentaries and translations is acknowledged, and you indicate the source as Bently & Kretschmer (eds), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900) (www.copyrighthistory.org).

You may not publish these documents for any commercial purposes, including charging a fee for providing access to these documents via a network. This licence does not affect your statutory rights of fair dealing.

Although the original documents in this database are in the public domain, we are unable to grant you the right to reproduce or duplicate some of these documents in so far as the images or scans are protected by copyright or we have only been able to reproduce them here by giving contractual undertakings. For the status of any particular images, please consult the information relating to copyright in the bibliographic records.


Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900) is co-published by Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, 10 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DZ, UK and CREATe, School of Law, University of Glasgow, 10 The Square, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK