# Primary Sources on Copyright - Record Viewer
Kant: On the Unlawfulness of Reprinting, Berlin (1785)

Source: Retrospektive Digitalisierung wissenschaftlicher Rezensionsorgane und Literaturzeitschriften des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts aus dem deutschen Sprachraum, http://www.ub.uni-bielefeld.de/diglib/aufklaerung/index.htm.

Kant: On the Unlawfulness of Reprinting, Berlin (1785), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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            Chapter 1 Page 3 of 15 total


Now, the reprinter of a book is someone who conducts the business of
another person (the author's) etc. Therefore, he is obliged to give
up to the author or to his assignee (the publisher) etc.

Proof of the major premise.

            Since the intruding agent is illegitimately acting in the
name of another person, he has no right to the profit which results
from this business; rather, it is the person in whose name the former
is carrying on the business, or another assignee to whom that person
has entrusted it, who owns the right to appropriate this profit to
himself as the fruit of his property. Moreover, given that this agent
injures the possessor's right by his unauthorised intrusion into
another's business, he must of necessity give compensation for all
the damage [thereby caused]. This belongs without question to the
basic notions of natural right.

Proof of the minor premise.

            The first point of the minor is that in the process of
publishing the publisher is conducting someone else's business [on
that person's behalf] - Here everything depends on the concept of
a book, or any piece of writing in general, as the work of the author,
and on the concept of a publisher as such (who may either have been
empowered [by the author] or not, as the case may be). That is,
whether a book is a commodity which the author - be it directly or
through the


( 405 )

      Nun ist der Nachdrucker ein solcher, der
ein Geschäft eines andern (des Autors) u.s.w.
Also ist er gehalten, diesem oder seinem
Bevollmächtigten (dem Verleger) u.s.w.

Beweis des Obersatzes

      Da der sich eindringende Geschäftträger
unerlaubter Weise im Namen eines andern handelt,
so hat er keinen Anspruch auf den Vortheil, der
aus diesem Geschäfte entspringt; sondern der,
in dessen Namen er das Geschäft führt, oder ein
anderer Bevollmächtigter, welchem jener es
anvertrauet hat, besitzt das Recht, diesen
Vortheil als die Frucht seines Eigenthums sich
zuzueignen. Weil ferner dieser Geschäftträger
dem Rechte des Besitzers durch unbefugte
Einmischung in fremde Geschäfte Abbruch thut,
so muß er nothwendig allen Schaden vergüten.
Dieses liegt ohne Zweifel in den
Elementarbegriffen des Naturrechts.

Beweis des Untersatzes

      Der erste Punkt des Untersatzes ist: daß
der Verleger durch den Verlag das Geschäft
eines andern treibe. - Hier kommt alles auf
den Begriff eines Buchs oder einer Schrift
überhaupt, als einer Arbeit des Verfassers,
und auf den Begriff des Verlegers überhaupt
(er sei bevollmächtigt oder nicht) an: ob
nämlich ein Buch eine Waare sei, die der
Autor, es sei mittelbar oder


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