Venetian Decree on Privileges for New Books and Reprints, Venice (1603)

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Venetian Decree on Privileges for New Books and Reprints, Venice (1603), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Full title:
Decree adopted in the Most Excellent Senate on 11 May 1603. With an injunction of the Most Excellent Commissioners of the University of Padua, concerning the Guild of Printers and Booksellers.

Full title original language:
Parte presa nell' eccellentissimo Conseglio di Pregadi. 1603. Adì 11. Maggio. Con una Terminatione delli Eccellentissimi Signori Reformatori dello Studio di Padoua, in materia dell' Arte de' Stampatori & Librari.

The resolution adopted on 11 May 1603 by the Venetian Senate was the first attempt at a general regulation of the book trade and privilege system. In addition to provisions for ensuring the quality of printing in Venice (which, as the preamble laments, had latterly been in decline), this decree enforced a deposit requirement (to the Library of St Mark's) and also ordered that anyone wishing to publish a new work had to obtain a licence (censorship approval). This licence was then to be submitted to the Presidents of the Guild who would award a privilege for the appropriate term (depending on the nature of the work). The privilege became void, however, if printing of the work did not start within a month of its award and/or if the publication was carried out abroad. The main concern underlying this decree - to maintain the quality of Venetian book production and to stem the emigration of printers to places offering higher wages - would also inspire similar regulations in France and the German lands.

Commentary: No commentaries for this record.

  • Richardson, Brian, 'Printing, writers and readers in Renaissance Italy' (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999)

Related documents in this database:
1660: Frankfurt Printers' Ordinance
1665: French book trade regulations
1517: Venetian Decree on Press Affairs
1780: 'Pezzana e Consorti' case: supporting documents

Author: N/A

Publisher: Antonio Pinelli

Year: 1603

Location: Venice

Language: Italian

Source: N/A

Persons referred to:
Pinelli, Antonio

Places referred to:

Cases referred to:

Institutions referred to:
Biblioteca Marciana (Library of St Mark's), Venice
Riformatori dello Studio di Padova (Venetian Board of Governors for the University of Padua)
University of Padua
Università di Stampatori e Librai (Venetian Guild of Printers and Booksellers)
Venetian Collegio (cabinet of government), in the Doge's palace
Venetian Council of Ten
Venetian Inquisition
Venetian Senate

Venetian decree on privileges for new books and reprints (1603)

Università di Stampatori e Librai (Venetian Guild of Printers and Booksellers)
censorship, pre-publication
foreign reprints
guild regulation
licensing, Approbation

Responsible editor: Joanna Kostylo

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