Neustetel: The Reprinting of Books, Heidelberg (1824)

Source: Private Collection

Neustetel: The Reprinting of Books, Heidelberg (1824), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Full title:
The Reprinting of Books from the Perspective of Roman Law

Full title original language:
Der Büchernachdruck, nach Römischem Recht betrachtet

Leopold Josef Neustetel's book on reprinting is a landmark in what can be described as a paradigm shift from property right to personality right within the German debate on justifying a ban on reprinting. Neustetel regards reprinting as an 'injuria' (infringement of another person's rights) within the system of Roman law. An unauthorised reprint is an offence against the author's personality, since a core part of the latter encompasses the right of the author to express himself and to set the boundaries of this expression. Twentieth-century scholars have seen Neustetel as 'the first to deduce copyright from a personality right' (Gieseke). It was, as Martin Vogel puts it, his 'personalistic view of copyright', rather than Kant's essay of 1785, which established the theory of author's rights as 'personality rights' ('Persönlichkeitsrechte') within the German context. Apart from Eduard Gans's important article of 1832, however, we find only few and cursory references to Neustetel's line of argument in the scholarly and legislative literature of the nineteenth century. The commentary gives some details on Neustetel's life and focuses on his concept of reprinting as an 'injuria'.

1 Commentary:

  • Wadle, Elmar, 'Nachdruck als Injurie', in his 'Geistiges Eigentum. Bausteine zur Rechtsgeschichte' (Weinheim: VCH, 1996), 129-144

  • Vogel, Martin, 'Deutsche Urheber- und Verlagsrechtsgeschichte zwischen 1450 und 1850', 'Archiv für Geschichte des Buchwesens' 29 (1978): 1-180

  • Neustetel, Leopold Joseph and Sigmund Zimmern, 'Römisch-rechtliche Untersuchungen für Wissenschaft und Ausübung' (Heidelberg: Carl Groos 1821)

  • Gieseke, Ludwig, 'Vom Privileg zum Urheberrecht. Die Entwicklung des Urheberrechts in Deutschland bis 1845' (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1995)

Related documents in this database:
1785: Kant: On the Unlawfulness of Reprinting
1832: Gans: On the right to perform published stage plays

Author: Neustetel, Leopold Josef (1798-1825)

Publisher: Carl Groos

Year: 1824

Location: Heidelberg

Language: German

Source: Private Collection

Persons referred to:
Grolmann, Karl Ludwig Wilhelm von
Mittermaier, Karl Joseph Anton von
Neustetel, Leopold Josef

Places referred to:

Cases referred to:

Institutions referred to:
Federal Assembly (Bundestag) of the German Confederation

Bavarian Copyright Act 1814

moral rights, divulgation (first publication)
personality theory
property theory, authors' property

Responsible editor: Friedemann Kawohl

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