Kramer: Rights of Writers and Publishers, Heidelberg (1827)

Source: Private Collection

Kramer: Rights of Writers and Publishers, Heidelberg (1827), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Full title:
The Rights of Writers and Publishers

Full title original language:
Die Rechte der Schriftsteller und Verleger

Wilhelm August Kramer (1798-after 1846) was matriculated as a law student at Heidelberg University on 22 October, 1825. Kramer assumes an author's 'property' in the 'writing' ('Schrift'), i.e. 'an utterance, which, delimited by specific words and permanently represented by visible characters, contains a complete thought'. Even a single sentence is an object of copyright, and similarly in the case of a translation. As a result of this focus on the 'writing', Kramer succeeds in including music by means of an analogy between musical notes and written characters. As a consequence of his strict property approach, Kramer in principle acknowledges no termination of intellectual property, if not specified by the government. In Kramer's system the author has a strong position vis-à-vis the publisher, who is 'obliged to distribute the writing only within the circle which the author has indicated to him' and is not authorised to change the work as provided in the manuscript. Although no other juridical book or article was published under his name, Kramer's book on copyright was quite important throughout the 1830s.

1 Commentary:

  • Wadle, Elmar, 'Geistiges Eigentum' (Weinheim: VCH, 1996)

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

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

Related documents in this database:

Author: Kramer, Wilhelm August

Publisher: C.F. Winter

Year: 1827

Location: Heidelberg

Language: German

Source: Private Collection

Persons referred to:
Binder, Nicolaus
Dammert, Johann Ludewig
Kramer, Wilhelm August

Places referred to:

Cases referred to:

Institutions referred to:


author/publisher relations
moral rights, integrity
music, protected subject matter
property analogies
property theory
property theory, authors' property

Responsible editor: Friedemann Kawohl

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