# Primary Sources on Copyright - Record Viewer




Copyright Regulations, Madrid (1880)

Source: scanned from Legislación de Propiedad Intelectual (Madrid, Imprenta Nacional, 1881) pp. 35-75

Copyright Regulations, Madrid (1880), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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Chapter 1 Page 1





Authors and Owners


For the purposes of the Copyright Act, the term "works"
covers all produced or capable of publication by means of writing, drawing,
printing, painting, engraving, lithography, stamping,
autography, photography or by any other means
of printing or reproduction known at present
or hereinafter invented.



For the purposes of the Copyright Act, the term "author"
means the person who conceives and gives form
to any scientific or literary work

Chapter 1 Page 2

or who creates and executes any artistic work,
provided he complies with the statutory
            The signature and submission by a
person claiming to be its author shall be
admitted, in the absence of proof to
the contrary. Any controversy about the
falsification or usurpation shall be decided
exclusively by the Courts.
If an application to register a work is pending
and a third party raises a question regarding
its property or propiety, and he lodges a formal
objection to the registration, the registration
shall not be suspended. However such
opposition shall be annotated in the registry
file and certificates issued thereafter
should bear the caption that "an objection
has been lodged".
            In the absence of proof to
the contrary, the one who identifies himself
in scientific and literary works as a translator,
arranger, copyist, maker of extracts or
compiler shall be taken to be so, provided
that there is no stipulation to the contrary
in any international treaty.
            In order to re-cast, copy, extract,
compile, or reproduce original Spanish works,
it is essential to show a written authorisation
given by the author or the owner whose property
right has not yet expired according to the Act.
In the absence of this evidence, they shall not
enjoy the benefit of this law, and the inscription
of their works at the copyright registry
shall have no effects.

            The author of unpublished
works shall be taken to be the person who
publishes those works that were in
manuscript form, not yet published
and addes to them preliminary speeches,
notes, appendices, vocabularies, glossaries,
and other illustrations or the author who
just publishes the manuscript text alone.
            The property rights given to
publishers by virtue of article 26 of the
Act shall continue until evidence is
produced about the identity of the author
or translator previously unknown,
ommitted or concealed. When this proof is
succesfully verified,the author or translator
or his heirs shall substitute the publisher of
the anonymous or pseudonymous
work, replacing them on the contractual
obligations they may have met.
            In the absence of any contracts,
the issue of damages and any other claims
made by interested parties shall be submitted
to experts' reports appointed by the two parties
and, in case of disagreement, to a third expert
appointed by the judge.
            In order to be protected by art. 3
of the Act, it is also necessary:
1.-             For the authors of maps, plans
or scientific designs to declare that such works
are the product of their minds, and sign them,
identifying them with their own identity cards.       

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2.-            For music composers
to comply with similar formalities,
submitting three copies of the work,
if it has been printed. If the work has
been performed but not printed, it is
enough to comply with the conditions
set up in article 36 of the Act, submitting
the copy to the central copyright office
at the Ministry of Public Works.
            All copyright transfers,
irrespective of their value, must be
formalized in a public deed and
recorded in the corresponding register.
The transferee shall not be be protected
by the law if this requirement is not met.
            The expert evidence mentioned
in art 27 of the Act shall be produced in
accordance to procedural (civil) rules,
the outcome of which shall be binding
upon the Courts.
            Additionally, all issues regarding
dramatic and musical works shall be subject
to the provisions specified in the title II of this
Official documents
            If one of the litigants,
or his lawyer, sought to exercise the
right conferred by articles 16,

17 and 18 of this Act, they shall request
the Court concerned, which shall grant
or reject the licence, taking into account
the public interest or family interests and
the provisions established under art. 947
of the criminal procedural Act.
            In proceedings or cases where
the Public prosecutor is or has been involved,
it is essential hear the Finance Minister
and the interested parties before granting
or refusing the corresponding licence.
            In order to access and copy
documents or papers preserved in state
archives, it shall be always necessary an
order of the Ministry to which they depend
or from the Head of the corresponding
department, if he has faculty to do so.
            Permission to publish statutes,
decrees, royal orders, regulations and other
dispositions issued by public authorities and
mentioned in article 28 of this Act may be
granted by the Minister, central department,
or authority that promulgated them, and they
shall consider whether critical annotations,
commentaries and notes deserve such title.
In any case, the date and the source of the
permission shall be duly acknowledged.

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            In this part, periodicals
mean daily and weekly newspapers,
magazines and any other type of
printed matter issued one or more
times a day or regularly or irregularly
at stated intervals bearing a permanent
title, whether of scientific, political,
literary or any other nature.
            Newspaper proprietors
who want to secure their rights shall
made explicit the nature of their work
when submitting their declaration to the
copyright office, without prejudice of
the rights belonging to the authors of
articles or works included in these
publications when they have only
granted the right of inclusion.
            The registration made by
newspaper proprietors not only secures
the property over the works submitted
as owners who request an inscription, it
also extends to the property of authors
or their sucessors in title who have not
waived their rights.
            Authors who fell within the
situation mentioned in the preceding article
shall not be required to register their works

If they need to justify their rights, they may
request and obtain a certificate from the
copyright registrar specifying that they have
legallly acquired rights after the registration
of the corresponding newspaper or periodical.
            If making the application mentioned
in the preceding paragraph, the interested party
shall indicate the issue of the newspaper in which
the work whose ownership he desires to certify
was inserted and the copyright registrar shall
issue a special certificate of this work,
identifying it in the appropriate manner
to avoid confusion with any other work.
            No reservation of rights
expressed either in general terms or
in a specific way as a footnote to
each work means that all the material
inserted in newspapers can be reproduced
without authorisation in any other
publication. However, and in any case,
the periodical reproducing something
from another should quote the original
from which it is copied.
            The rule established
in the preceding paragraph is subject to
the following exception in relation to
drawings, lithographies, music and the
rest of artistic works inserted in periodicals
and novels and scientific, artistic and literary
works even when published in serialised
manner or by chapters. These works shall,
without the need of reservation of rights,
be excepted from the rule.
            In order to reproduce or
copy the works mentioned in the preceding
paragraph, authorisation from the

Chapter 1 Page 5

author or translator concerned,
or from the proprietor in the case
that they would have transferred
their works.
Right of Collection
            The right specified
in art. 32 has effect, subject to
any agreement to the contrary,
or when the right to make a
collection has not been expressly
sold to another person.
            If the author or his heirs
has transferred the ownership of his
works but he has not made any explicit
reference to the right of collection, he
or his heirs may collect the works in
a complete or selected edition authorised
by the law. However if the publisher
still has rights in such works and are copies
for sale, they shall not be able to sell them
separately. In this case, the author or
his heirs may only sell or accept
subscriptions of the entire collection
as published by them whether selected
or complete.
Copyright Registration
            Those who seek to enjoy
the benefits of the Act shall include
in their application to the copyright

1.            A submission form on linen
paper signed by the interested party,
where the nature, the circumstances and the
legal concept on which he applies for
registration are indicated.
2.            Three copies of the work
or the part of the work intended to be
registered. If the application refers
to the case mentioned in art 36 of the
Act, a manuscript of the literary work
and another manuscript of the same type
with the melodies and accompaniment
of the musical part.
3.            Submission of works and
periodical collections must be in plain bound
copies signed on the cover page or on the first
issue by the owner of his representative in
the act of inscription and initialed or stamped
each of the sheets or issues they have.
No issue or work in progress shall be accepted
at the registry until the moment in which they
form a volume.
4.            The identity card and the
legalized power of attorney or the simple
authorisation in writing if the submission is
made on behalf of another person.
            Submissions to the copyright
office must include the following information:
            Name, surname and address of
            the applicant
            Title of the work
            Category of work
            Name and surname of author,
            arranger, etc.
            Name, surname and address of

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            Address of the premises
            where the printing or reproduction
            was carried out and the procedure
            Year and place where the printing
            took place
            Edition and number of copies
            Volumes, size and pages
            Publication data, and other enabling data
            availabe to identify the work and to meet
            the regulatory requirements
            All property transmissions and when they
affect copyright shall be minutely recorded
in the respective reference sheet.
For this purpose, the interested party
shall produce adequate and authentic
testimony of the document involved
that shall be kept in the office while
the original shall be returned to the person
who submitted it.
            When the certificate of definitive
inscription is issued, the person who had applied
or someone authorised on his befalf must sign
the receipt in the corresponding book.
            If the original document of inscription
is lost, the interested party may request and
obtain other copies of these certificates issued
upon appropiately-stamped paper. Such certified
copy shall produce the same legal effect
as the original document.

            Additionally the copyright office shall
issue certificates about the state of works
after an application, and after having received
the reports from the regional copyrigh offices
if these works have such origin. However they shall
always be issued after a petition.
Copyright Office
            The Copyright Office is part of the
Ministry of Public Works and shall use the
necessary books to achieve its aims.
            For this purpose, not only indexes
and supplementary books but also ground books
(libros-matrices) shall be used to record,
in a definitive and ordered manner, according
to the following classification: scientific
and literary works, dramatic and musical works,
works of artistic character other than those
expressly exempted by art. 37 of this Act,
and periodicals.
            The recording of each of the works
submitted shall rigorously follow a chrono-
logical order, and records shall be given
the appropriate number, with a special sheet
in which all circumstances shall be annotated.
            At the provincial copyright
offices, a book of daily entries and a
provisional register with counterfoils,
having a spread sheet

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on which the definitive certificate
is copied shall be kept.
            The registrar shall annotate
in the book of daily entries the works
submitted, issuing a certificate of
inscription when the work and the
corresponding documents meet the
requirements established. This pro-
visional certificate shall be replaced
by the definitive certificate as soon
as it is published in the provincial
official Bulletin.
            The submission of the docu-
ments mentioned in art. 22 shall be
annotated following a strict chronological
order in the book of daily entries at the
Ministry of Public Works, in the provincial
libraries and at High School Libraries in
the capital of provinces where there is
no provincial library. These institutions
shall give a provisional document with
the hour and date of the application,
the number and the rest of circumstances
to identify the work submitted to the
interested party.
            No fee or bonus shall be
payable for this receipt or for
registration at the copyright office.
            All provisional entries made
from applications for registration
shall be recorded in ground books

within thirty days from the date of
the entry.
            When subsequent changes
affecting works submitted in provinces
are recorded in the central copyright
office, this period shall be counted from
the date of entry of the appropriate
semestral report.
            The Gazeta de Madrid shall
issue quarterly a list of works submitted
for registration during such period, leaving
copies of the work submitted at the corresponding
libraries within thirty days following the
publication of the list. The official in charge
at the copyright office shall be responsible
for any failure to carry out the provisions
of this article.
            Officials in charge at the provincial
registries shall bear the same responsibility
and obligation regarding the works deposited
according to art.34 of the Law.
1.             In order to comply with art. 34
of the Act, one of the copies sent by Governors,
shall be deposited at the Ministry of Public
Works whereas another copy shall be given to the
National Library.
2.             The third copy of the scientific and
literary works submitted at the central copyright
office shall be deposited at the library of the
University of Madrid.
3.            The copy of the musical works to be
given to the Ministry of Public Works shall be
sent to the national School of Music and

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This copy shall always be available
to the copyright office in order
to make the necessary authentications
and verifications.
4.             When the registration
concerns works mentioned in the second
paragraph of art. 36 of the Copyright
Act, they shall be given by the General
Directorate of the (corresponding)
branch to the National School specified
there. Likewise these copies shall always
be available to the copyright office
for the purposes set out above.
            Both governors and head of
libraries shall bear the responsibility
for sending the corresponding copies and
their docummentation immediately, in order
to comply with stipulations derived from
international treaties and without
prejudice to the action required by art.
34 of the Copyright Act.
            Spanish representatives abroad
shall accept and admit under receipt,
and immediately send to the Ministry
of Public Works, all the works covered
by the Copyright Act, provided they are
accompanied by the required documents
duly legalized.
            Works submitted following the
procedure stipulated in the preceding
paragraph shall enjoy all legal benefits
from the day and hour of their submission.
            The Ministry of Public Works
shall immediately acknowledge the receipt
to the Ministry of State and shall send
the same day via the same diplomatic channel
the certificate of definitive inscription
for it to be given to the interested party.

            Copyright Book registers
shall be initialled upon their first and
final pages by a civil servant from the
Ministry of Public Works with the approval
from of the head of the General Director
of Public Education and the Civil Governor
of the province in cases regarding the
situation mentioned in the second paragraph
of article 33 of the Copyright Act.The end
of the volume shall follow an appropriate
protocol in which the sheets used and any
other circumstances are declared.
            An enquiry report shall be made
in order to correct any fundamental mistake
or ommission evidenced in the book registers.
The General Directorate of Public Education
shall decide the matter after hearing the
interested party.
            Provincial copyright registries
shall be under the direction and authority
of Civil Governors, who shall be responsible
for the faithful observance of these copyright
            The central copyright office shall
be directed by a civil servant appointed
by the Ministry of Public Works upon
recommendation of the General Directorate
of Public Education.

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            The central and the provincial
copyright registries shall be open the same
days on which the offices of the Ministry
of Public Works is open. Three hours per
day shall be offered to the service of
the public. This should be announced
in official gazettes, and on the notice
boards at the copyright registries.
            Twenty five years after the
death of the hour, the compulsory
heir who, in accordance with art. 6
of the Copyright Act, is entitled to
acquire the works were assigned by
the person from whom he inherits, may,
subject to the submission of the
documents justifying this claim,
request and obtain registration of
his rights at the copyright registry.
            All the works published after
12 January 1879 shall enjoy the benefits
of the Copyright Act if their authors
and owners meet the requirements
stipulated in the Act and the Regulations.

            Works that, on 12 January 1879,
have not fallen into the public domain,
may also be registered for the period left
until the new terms and benefits of the Act,
provided that the inscription is made
legally and that the time that has already
run is supported with authentic evidence so
the remaining term may be fixed in accordance
with the provisions of the Copyright Act.
            Those who fall within the scope
of paragraph 3 of art. 52 shall also
support their case with similar proof if,
as authors, translators or heirs, they want
to recover works which have passed into the
public domain. When such proof is exhibited
at the registry, an annotation of the right
for the time that still remains and the one
that has already passed after the death of
the author until the new period given by the
Copyright Act shall be recorded.
            Authors or their heirs who are
entitled to recover the copyright and who
fail to register within a period of one
year shall be taken as if they had given
up their rights.

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            Until the Family Council
mentioned in art. 44 of the Copyright Act
is not regulated, it shall be constituted
by the Mayor where the heir has his
residency, and his four most closely related
male relatives, two from his paternal side and
two from his maternal side,living in the same
town or village or in one not more than six
leagues distant.
            When the degree of family relationship
is the same, an elder relative shall be preferred
to the youngest one.
            When the closest relatives of a heir
are located in a town or village which is more
than six leagues distant from his home, the
Mayor shall invite them but cannot oblige them,
against their wishes, to accept the appointment
to become part of the Family Council.
            If there were no sufficient number
of relatives or they would not have accepted
the appointment, the Family Council shall be
constituted by honest neighbours selected
by the Mayor from among the friends of the
parents of the heir.

            The meeting of the Family
Council shall take place in the
Town Hall. A majority of the attendants
is enough to discuss and to decide.
            The Mayor shall always preside
the Family Council. He possesses the
consultative vote and in the event of a
tie, he shall have the casting vote.
He may delegate to the Deputy Mayors.
            Owners who have declared on the cover
page of their works to have done the legal
deposit but have not done so in the term
legally specified, shall incur in the penalty
stipulated in art. 552 ff. of the Penal Code.
            In order to fulfil the obligation
imposed by art. 45 of the Copyright Act,
all book merchants and booksellers shall keep
a record with the name of the publishers and
printers of the works they are selling. If they
fail to comply with this requirement, they
shall be legally responsible.

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Transition from the Old to the New System
            Works which at the time
of the publication of these copyright
regulations have not yet entered the
public domain and which enjoy protection
under the previous legislation do not
need to fulfil the new legal requirements.
However authors and owners who deem
convenient may convert their old inscriptions
into new ones according to these regulations,
provided they specify, in the most precise
manner, and under their sole responsibility,
the dates of the publication and submission
of the work to the old registries, and the
period of time for which the works have
enjoyed the protection of the law.
            The compensation mentioned in
art. 55 of the Copyright Act shall be determined
by the experts appointed by the parties and
a third party appointed by the judge in case
of disagreement between them, in accordance
with the civil procedural rules. However
such compensation shall only refer to the
stock which are submitted and duly supported
by documentary evidence.
            Sucessors in title of authors
to whom, according to art. 28 of the Literary
Property Act (1847), the rights have reverted
or shall revert, may register their rights in

the copyright office in the cases where
art. 52 of the Copyright Act preserves and
recognizes any rights acquired under earlier
            Those who, as a result of the
transfer of a work before 10 June 1847
are entitled to recover rights in accordance
with article of the Literary Property Act
(1847) shall, when they apply for the
registration of their rights, specify
the date of death of the author for
the registrar to be able to indicate
the recovery date of the said rights.
            Those who have acquired literary
property before the Literary Property Act
(1847), or their sucessors in title, who,
within the period of one year, counted in
the manner specified in these regulations,
fail to register their rights within the
period mentioned in art. 29 of such Act
shall lose their rights, and the rights
shall therefore revert to the previous owner.
            The term of one year given in
art. 36 of the Copyright Act to
verify the inscription shall be counted
from the day in which the Gaceta de Madrid
announces that the copyright registries
regulated here have become operative.

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            The General Directorate
of Public Education shall, as soon
as possible, take the necessary measures
for the setting up of the copyright
Dramatic and musical works
            Dramatic and musical works
performed in public are subject to all the
rules established in the Copyright Act
and the special rules determined in these
            No work, whether in manuscript or
printed form, may be performed, sung or read
in public without the prior authorisation
given by the owner, even though it may have
been previously performed, sung or
read in some other threatre or hall.
            The Governors, or in places where no
Governor resides, the Mayors, shall order the
immediate cancellation of any performance or
reading of any literary or musical work

announced after the owner of the work or his
representative communicate him that the company
concerned has not been authorised. Cancellation
shall proceed without the need of a request when
the public authority knows that no permission
has been granted.
            The plan or plot of a
dramatic or musical work, as well as its
title, shall be the property of the person
who has conceived or acquired the work.
            As a result, taking the whole
or a part of the title, plot or text
of a literary or musical work, manuscript
or printed, to use it in another dramatic
work shall be punishable as a fraudulent
            No person may, without the consent
of the owner, introduce into parodies, either
in whole or in part, any exact part or any
melody from the parodied work.
            Every author shall keep the right
to amend and re-cast his works, even after
they have been transferred. Mere corrections
shall not have any impact on the contract of
sale that would have been agreed. However,
if the re-casting introduces essential
modifications, he shall therefore be entitled
to receive one third of the royalties generated
by the performance of the work in this re-cast

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            Beyond this case, the re-cast
of a dramatic work that has not entered
the public domain is a fraudulent act.
If the work had entered the public domain,
the arranger (refundidor) or his represen-
tative would receive the corresponding
            Nobody shall, without the consent
of the author, or in the case of a work that
has been transferred, without the consent
of the owner, re-arrange a dramatic work
of an author, even to the extent of changing
its title, the names of the characters and
the setting in order to adapt it to a musical
composition. If any such re-arrangement
takes place abroad, the author of the original
work shall, subject to any matter regulated
by international treaties, be entitled to
collect royalties for perfomances in Spain,
even when the work is in a language different
from that in which it was originally written.
            Additionally the authorisation of
author and the owner shall also be required
to use the plot of a novel or any literary
(non-dramatic) work and to adapt it to a
dramatic work.
            The author who transfers a dramatic
wrok still keeps the right to supervise its
faithful reproduction or performance, but
without prejudice of the same right which the
owner may also exercise in this respect.

            Whether or not an audience
pays for admission, nobody can perform
any literary or musical work, in whole
or in part, in a public place, in any
form other than that in which it was
published but its author or its owner.
            Purely instrumental and dance
music performed in theatres or public places
to which a charge in any form is made for
admission, falls within the scope of art. 19
of the Copyright Act, and shall enjoy the
benefits of the Copyright Act and these
            Co-authors of a dramatic or
musical work who cease to collaborate before
the end of the work, or who agree not to
publish or perform the work after it is finished,
shall be entitled only to dispose the part that
they have individually contributed, subject
to an agreement to contrary.
Acceptance and Peformance of Dramatic
and Musical Works
            The company that accepts to read a new
dramatic or musical work which has not been yet
peformed in any theatre in Spain shall give a
receipt to the person who submitted the work.

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            When a new dramatic or musical
work has been submitted to the company
responsible for a theatre or music hall
designed for public spectacles, such company
shall, whithin twenty days, communicate
the author or the owner, or his representative,
whether or not the work has been accepted for
            If the work submitted is not
accepted, the company shall return the work
within the period mentioned in the preceding
paragraph, without the need for an explanation,
and it shall collect the corresponding receipt.
            Authors and owners of dramatic works
or their representatives shall always keep
the right to claim the return of their literary
or musical works at any time prior to the
final acceptance by a company.
            When a new ork has been accepted by
a companu, the company and the owner shall
reach an agreement by writing as to the time
of performance, which shall be either a specific
date or a slot in a calendar (schedule)
and the arrangement shall be taken to be
applicable for the time the company that
has accepted the work is responsible
for that theatre.
If the company accepts a new work subject to
amendments to be made by the author, this
acceptance shall not be taken to be final until
the company has accepted the amendments.

            The calendar shall be observed
regarding the new works to which it has been
made applicable. Works from the repertoire
shall be considered to be outside its application
and companies shall always reserve the right
to perform them when they deem convenient
to their interests.
            Theatrical companies shall keep a
register, in which they shall record the
date of acceptance of each new work and the
conditions agreed with the respective authors
or owners.
            Any company accepting a new work
shall, at its own expnse, make the necessary
copies for its study and performance, and shall
return the original to the author before the
rehearsals. The author or the owner shall
check and and initialise one of the completed
and numbered copies. Such copy shall taken to
be the authentic one in case of legal proceedings.
            Beyond this case, and in accordance with
articles 2, 7, and 21 of the Copyright Act, nobody
shall be able to reproduce, copy, hire or sell
a dramatic or musical work without the autorisation
of the owner, even if the works in question have not
been printed or performed in public.

Chapter 1 Page 15

            The composer or the owner
of a new musical work shall give
the theatrical company a complete
instrumental score that shall be
returned to him after the end of the
theatrical season, unless there is
an agreement to the contrary.
            The author or the owner of
a new work which has been accepted
is obliged to authorise the performance
in the theatre which has accepted it,
unless the theatrical season ends before
work is produced or unless the company
fails to fulfil its corresponding
obligations. In those cases, the author
or the owner may withdraw the work,
without prejudice to any compensation
involved and without the company being
able to object it.
             In the absence of an agreement
to the contrary, or unless the author
or the owner have been released from the
obligations of the agreement with the first
company, the author or the owner of a new
work which has been accepted by a theatre
shall not be able to have his work performed
in any other theatre in the same locality
during the theatrical season.
            The theatrical company
shall have the right to set the schedule,
the dates and rehearsal times.

            The author shall always keep the
right to select the actors to perform the work,
and to direct the rehearsals with the stage director.
He also has the right to be off stage during
all performances of his work.
            Nothwithstanding art. 86 of
these regulations, posters and programmes
of the performances shall advertise the
works with their true titles,without
additions or suppressions, and with the
names of the authors or translators.
Those who fail to comply with this
requirement face a fine, which may
be imposed by the Governor, or in
places where no Governor resides,
by the Mayor. Additionally the
mentioned requirements shall be
observed in the case of works which
have entered the public domain
and it shall not be possible to
announce such works solely under
generic titles such as “tragedy”,
“drama”, “comedy”, “zarzuela”,
“dramatic sketch”, “vaudeville”, etc.
            The making of the poster, in
relation to the new work, belongs to
the author or authors. They may prohibit
or insist upon the publication of their
name before the first performance.

Chapter 1 Page 16

            Companies may not change, add,
or ommit parts of the text without the authorisation
of the authors.
            Unless otherwise provided, the
company shall not be under obligation to use
the customes or scenic effects beyond those
in the possession of the theatre, provided they
are not contrary to the distinctive and historical
character of the dramatic work.
            Unless a new work is absolutely
hated by the the public after its first performance,
companies are under the obligation of giving at
least three consecutive performances of it.
            Companies shall pay a compensation
to the owners of dramatic or dramatico-musical
works or their representatives if they refuse
to perform the new work which has been
accepted by them or if they have failed to
do so within the time agreed except in the
case of a work included in the schedule but
there was no time for its performance
during the theatrical season. This compensation
shall be 250 pesetas for dramatic works
in one act, 500 pesetas for works in two acts
and 750 for works in three or more acts.

            If an owner withdrew a new work
accepted during the theatrical season, failing
to meet the stipulated obligations, shall also
compensate the company and shall re-imburse
the costs incurred by the theatrical companies
in order to put it on stage, supported with
the corresponding evidence. Theatrical
companies and owners of dramatic
works shall be subject to any liability
resulting from failure to fulfil their respective
contractual obligations.
            The owner of a dramatic or
musical work may withdraw it from the
theatre in which it is performed when the
company fails to pay the corresponding
royalties at the day when it was due.
            If the work belongs to two
or more owners, any of them may adopt
that measure, subject to what it is
stipulated in article 49 of the
Copyright Act.
            The author of a literary work
that has been performed in public, and that
prohibited its further performance solely
because it offends his moral or political
feelings shall previously compensate the
owner if

Chapter 1 Page 17

the work had been transferred, and to the
co-authors or co-owners, if any. In the case of
a musical work, the composer shall also keep
the right to use his music in another work.
            Any disagreement that may arise
between co-owners of a dramatic or musical work
regarding the conditions of acceptance or the
way to be performed in any theatre or hall
intended to be used for public spectacles shall
be decided by majority vote of the owners if there
were more than two. If there are no more than
two co-owners, they shall nominate a panel of
four writers or composers of music, and the
governmental authority shall nominate a fifth
member who shall preside as president. This panel
shall decided in an amicable manner. When an
owner fails to comply with the decision of the
majority in the first instance, or with the decision
of the panel in the second instance, the matter
shall be decided by the courts.
            Unforeseen circumstances in which
the company may cancel the contract with the
approval of the competent authority are the
(1) plague, (2) earthquakes, (3) national mourning,
(4) public disorder compelling suspension of
performances, (5) the banning of a work by the
authorities in the interests of public order or
as the result of a judicial decision relating
to the work.

Fire or destruction of the building shall also be
considered an unavoidable circumstance
justifying the cancellation of contracts.
Performance rights of dramatic
and musical works

            Performance rights of dramatic
and musical works shall be taken as a deposit
on behalf of the theatrical companies and such
companies shall keep the royalties at the daily
disposal of the owners of the works or their
            If the owners or their representtives
have not yet fixed the copyright tariffs at the time
of giving authorisation for the performance of the
work, these shall be as follows:
            Original dramatic works in one act,
             3 per cent.
             Original dramatic works in two acts
             7 per cent.
            Original dramatic works in three or more
            acts, 10 per cent
            For the first three performances, double
            royalties shall be payable.
            Adaptations of old theatrical works,
            arrangements, imitations, and translations shall generate
            one half of the above royalties.
            Rights in dramatico-musical works are the
same as the rights in dramatic works, one half being in
respect of the libretto

Chapter 1 Page 18

and the other half in respect of the
music. No differentiation shall be
made between originals and translations.
            Literary compositions of
substantial length, whether in prose or verse,
the reading of which is advertised in posters
as an integral part of a performance other
than a part of a memorial celebration, shall
generate the same royalties as those produced
by original dramatic works in one act.
            Operas, oratorios and similar
works of poetry in music by Spanish authors
or by foreigners living in Spain shall produce
the same royalties as original dramatic works,
even when the libretto is translated or arranged.
Such royalties shall be distributed in the
following manner: two thirds to the author or
owner of the music and one third to the author
or owner of the libretto.
            Musical works of purely instrumental
music which have not entered the public domain
shall produce the following royalties: for the
performance of a major symphony or fantasia in
three or more movements, three per cent;
three per cent, for an original overture, one per cent;
for a short original dance (“divertissement”)
in one act, either Spanish or foreigner, one per cent.
Unless a lump sum has been agreed, other classes
of instrumental or vocal music performed at concerts,
circuses or public dances, as well as

preludes, accompaniments to melodrama,
and isolated songs shall, for the purpose
of royalty payments, be assessed in relation
to the preceding rates according to their
length and artistic importance.
            The performance of musical
works at religious and military ceremonies,
serenades and civil solemn acts where the
public may attend gratis shall be excluded
from the royalty payment but they cannot
be performed without the prior authorisation
of the owner and in the form in which they
were published by the owner. The infringers
shall be subjected to the penalties specified
in the Penal Code, and according to article
25 of the Copyright Act, they shall pay the
corresponding compensation.
            The percentage to be received
by owners of dramatic and musical works
shall be assessed in relation to the total proceeds
of each performance, taking into account
the value of subscriptions and any increase in booking
charges and issue of tickets but without considering
any special concession the companies may give
when they sell the tickets at a lower price than
that announced to the public in general.
            A exception shall be made in relation
to any reduction the company may grant to subscribers.

Chapter 1 Page 19

            In lieu of a percentage, owners
of dramatic or musical works shall be able
to fix a specified sum as royalty payment in
relation to each theatrical performance in those
theatres that prefer this way of payment.
            After a request of an interested
party, provincial Governors or, in places where
no Governor resides, the Mayor, shall, in addition
to the provisions stipulated in article 49 of the
Copyright law, order the deposit of the proceeds
derived from the sale of tickets in order to pay
the outstanding debt that the company may
have in respect of copyright royalties, after
having satisfied the royalties of the works
performed on any particular night.
            The author of a dramatic or
musical work shall have the right to request,
without charge, two of the best seats at
each perfomance of his work. No more than
two seats may be requested, even when the
work has been written in collaboration by
two or more authors. The day of the premiere
he shall be entitled to a first class box with
capacity to six persons or to six first
class seats.

            All companies shall keep a book
with numbered pages, each of which shall be
marked with the seal of the Civil Governor, or
that of the Mayor in places where no Governor
resides. This book shall be entitled “Register
of Tickets” (Libro de entradas) and it shall
record the total proceeds from subscriptions
and other receipts for each performance night.
The book may be examined by the owner
or his representative, at his convenience,
whenever his works are being performed
in theatres where the royalties are payable
on a percentage basis.
            Any error that may be found
in this book mentioned in the preceding
article and that may be prejudicial to the
owner of literary or musical works in terms
of copyright collection shall be taken to
be an aggravating circumstance of fraud.
            The company shall be obliged
to produce a statement verified by the
theatrical cashier setting out the total receipts,
including subscritpions. Theatres which pay
a fixed amount for each performance shall be
excluded from this obligation.

Chapter 1 Page 20

            The owners of dramatic or
musical works, or their representatives, may
also check daily the record of tickets and
the counterfoils issued by theatres.
Those theatres that pay a fixed sum for each
performance shall be relieved from the obligation.
If the author or owners deeem it necessary,
they may stamp the tickets to secure
their interests.
            In the theatres in which the
performance right is assessed on the basis
of the percentage of the product of the tickets,
the theatrical companies may give the unsold
tickets away, communicating this to the
owners of the works.
            In that event, the nominal
value shall not taking into account for
the payment of royalties.
            The rights of the co-authors
are the same whatever their part played in the
conception, development or writing of the
work, unless otherwise provided.
            The same shall apply to the
co-authors of musical works in respect of
their contribution to the composition.

            Authors or owners of a libretto
and music of a new dramatico-musical work
shall decide previously and before its
acceptance in a theatre, whether the author
of the music may freely print and record
the lyrics of the music or he should follow
the conditions required by the libretto.
Unless otherwise stipulated, the author
of the music may print or transfer it
separately or together with the lyrics.
            In respect of dramatic or
musical works performed in public,
the scenary and other accessories of
scenic nature shall not give their authors
any right to be considered collaborators.
            Cafés and cafés-teatros are subject
to the Copyright Act and to the police regulations
governing such premises.
            These premises shall also be
subject to the payment of royalties that the
owners of dramatic or musical works or their
representatives may fix when issuing the
preliminary authorisation requested.

Chapter 1 Page 21

            Such companies cannot
avoid the payment of royalties for
the performance of works because
the admission ticket is subsumed
in the price of the drinks sold in
the premises.
            Choral societies, casinos,
and amateur associations constituted
in any form enabling pecuniary contri-
butions for their subsistence to be
collected, whether by periodic payments
or a single fixed sum, shall be subject
to the provisions stipulated above.
When the activites of such entities
take place in public theatres, they
shall pay royalties in the similar manner
as the way these theatres pay, and shall
be subject to the regulations applicable
to them.
            Publishers or managers of
dramatic or musical works, or their repre-
sentatives , shall be taken to be authorised
representatives of the works so far as
concerns relations with theatrical companies
and local authorities. In order to declare
their capacity to act, it shall be enough
to produce a nomination or declaration
by the said owners.
            Such publishers or managers, as
representatives of the owners, may authorise
or not companies for the performance of works.
The shall publicise copyright tariffs for the
performance of works in each theatre.

They may request the competent authority to
order the cancellation or the guarantee
mentioned in art. 48 of the Copyright Act.
            They shall also be entitled to
check that posters accurately state the titles
of works and the names of authors, to inspect
the number of tickets sold and the account
books, to collect royalties due to owners
of dramatic or musical works, not only from
public theatres but also from café-theatres,
choral societies, casinos and amateur societies
constituted in any form but in which pecuniary
monetary contribution mediates.
            The shall enjoy in theatres and music-
halls the same privileges, advantages and
rights granted to authors and owners where
where they reside but they shall only be
entitled to one single free first-class seat,
even when two or more works from their
repertoire are performed on the same night.
            Finally, they shall insist upon
precise compliance with the Copyright
Act and the Theatrical Regulations.
            Civil Governors, and in places
where there is no Civil Governor, the Mayor
shall decide all issues arising from the
application of these regulations
between companies organising public
spectacles and authors, actors,
artists and their employees. Effect shall
be given to these decisions without
prejudice to future claims.
            Madrid, 3 September 1880.-
Approved by HM.- Lasala.

Translation by: José Bellido, based on previous translation published in "Copyright laws and treaties of the world" (Paris : UNESCO ; Washington, D.C: Bureau of National Affairs, 1956)


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