Copyright Laws

Copyright was invented with the intention to restrict access to information or to promote controlled information.

The origin of copyright law in most European countries lies in efforts by the church and governments to regulate and control the output of printers.

In 1559 the Index Expurgatorius, or List of Prohibited Books, was issued for the first time.

While governments and church encouraged printing in many ways, which allowed the dissemination of Bibles and government information, works of dissent and criticism could also circulate rapidly. As a consequence, governments established controls over printers across Europe, requiring them to have official licences to trade and produce books.

The licenses typically gave printers the exclusive right to print particular works for a fixed period of years, and enabled the printer to prevent others from printing the same work during that period. The licenses could only grant rights to print in the territory of the state that had granted them, but they did usually prohibit the import of foreign printing.

The republic of Venice granted its first privilege for a particular book in 1486. It was a special case, being the history of the city itself, the ‘Rerum venetarum ab urbe condita opus’ of Marcus Antonius Coccius Sabellicus”. From 1492 onwards Venice began regularly granting privileges for books.The Republic of Venice, the dukes of Florence, and Leo X and other Popes conceded at different times to certain printers the exclusive privilege of printing for specific terms (rarely exceeding 14 years) editions of classic authors.

The first copyright privilege in England bears date 1518 and was issued to Richard Pynson, King’s Printer, the successor to William Caxton. The privilege gives a monopoly for the term of two years. The date is 15 years later than that of the first privilege issued in France. Early copyright privileges were called “monopolies,” particularly during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, who frequently gave grants of monopolies in articles of common use, such as salt, leather, coal, soap, cards, beer, and wine. The practice was continued until the Statute of Monopolies was enacted in 1623, ending most monopolies, with certain exceptions, such as patents; after 1623, grants of Letters patent to publishers became common.

The earliest German privilege of which there is trustworthy record was issued in 1501 by the Aulic Council to an association entitled the Sodalitas Rhenana Celtica, for the publication of an edition of the dramas of Hroswitha of Gandersheim, which had been prepared for the press by Conrad Celtes .According to historian Eckhard Höffner indicated that there was no effective copyright legislation in Germany in the early 19th century. Prussia introduced a copyright law in 1837, but even then authors and publishers just had to go to another German state to circumvent its ruling.

In England the printers, known as stationers, formed a collective organisation, known as the Stationers’ Company. In the 16th century the Stationers’ Company was given the power to require all lawfully printed books to be entered into its register.

Only members of the Stationers’ Company could enter books into the register. This meant that the Stationers’ Company achieved a dominant position over publishing in 17th century England (no equivalent arrangement formed in Scotland and Ireland). The monopoly came to an end in 1695, when the English Parliament did not renew the Stationers Company’s power.

In pre-revolutionary France all books needed to be approved by official censors and authors and publishers had to obtain a royal privilege before a book could be published. Royal privileges were exclusive and usually granted for six years, with the possibility of renewal. Over time it was established that the owner of a royal privilege has the sole right to obtain a renewal indefinitely. ( again control of information). In 1761 the Royal Council awarded a royal privilege to the heirs of an author rather than the author’s publisher, sparking a national debate on the nature of literary property similar to that taking place in Britain during the battle of the booksellers.

The Berne Convention was first established in 1886, and was subsequently re-negotiated in 1896 (Paris), 1908 (Berlin), 1928 (Rome), 1948 (Brussels), 1967 (Stockholm) and 1971 (Paris). The convention relates to literary and artistic works, which includes films, and the convention requires its member states to provide protection for every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain. The Berne Convention has a number of core features, including the principle of national treatment, which holds that each member state to the Convention would give citizens of other member states the same rights of copyright that it gave to its own citizens (Article 3-5).

Today national copyright laws have been standardised to some extent through international and regional agreements such as the Berne Convention and the European copyright directives. Although there are consistencies among nations’ copyright laws, each jurisdiction has separate and distinct laws and regulations about copyright. Some jurisdictions also recognize moral rights of creators, such as the right to be credited for the work.

Copyrights are exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. Copyright does not protect ideas, only their expression or fixation.

In most jurisdictions copyright arises upon fixation and does not need to be registered. Copyright owners have the exclusive statutory right to exercise control over copying and other exploitation of the works for a specific period of time, after which the work is said to enter the public domain.

Uses which are covered under limitations and exceptions to copyright, such as fair use, do not require permission from the copyright owner. All other uses require permission and copyright owners can license or permanently transfer or assign their exclusive rights to others.

Index Librorum Prohibitorum

The Index Librorum Prohibitorum (English: List of Prohibited Books) was a list of publications deemed heretical, or contrary to morality by the Sacred Congregation of the Index (a former Dicastery of the Roman Curia) and thus Catholics were forbidden to read them.

The 9th century witnessed the creation of what is considered to be the first index, called the Decretum Glasianum, but it was never officially authorized. Much later, a first version (the Pauline Index) was promulgated by Pope Paul IV in 1559, which Paul F. Grendler believed marked “the turning-point for the freedom of enquiry in the Catholic world”, and which lasted less than a year, being then replaced by what was called the Tridentine Index (because it was authorized at the Council of Trent), which relaxed aspects of the Pauline Index that had been criticized and had prevented its acceptance.

The 20th and final edition appeared in 1948, and the Index was formally abolished on 14 June 1966 by Pope Paul VI.

The Sacred Congregation of the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church later became the Holy Office, and since 1965 has been called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Congregation of the Index was merged with the Holy Office in 1917, by the Motu Proprio “Alloquentes Proxime” of Pope Benedict XV; the rules on the reading of books were again reelaborated in the new Codex Iuris Canonici. From 1917 onward, the Holy Office (again) took care of the Index.

The aim of the list was to protect the faith and morals of the faithful by preventing the reading of theologically, culturally, and politically disruptive books. Books thought to contain such errors included works by astronomers such as Johannes Kepler’s Epitome astronomiae Copernicanae, which was on the Index from 1621 to 1835, and by philosophers, like Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. The various editions of the Index also contained the rules of the Church relating to the reading, selling and pre-emptive censorship of books—editions and translations of the Bible that had not been approved by the Church could be banned.

 

Some of the scientific theories in works that were on early editions of the Index have long been routinely taught at Catholic universities worldwide; for example, the general prohibition of books advocating heliocentrism was only removed from the Index in 1758, but already in 1742 two Minims mathematicians had published an edition of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica (1687) with commentaries and a preface stating that the work assumed heliocentrism and could not be explained without it.The burning at the stake of Giordano Bruno, whose entire works were placed on the Index in 1603, was because of teaching the heresy of pantheism, not for heliocentrism or other scientific views. Antonio Rosmini-Serbati, one of whose works was on the Index, was beatified in 2007. Some have argued that the developments since the abolition of the Index signify “the loss of relevance of the Index in the 21st century.”

Rosmini’s works, Of the five wounds of the Holy Church and The Constitution of Social Justice (see Works below), aroused great opposition, especially among the Jesuits ( a sect that modified the history introducing time errors and ommissions), and in 1849 they were placed upon the Index.Rosmini at once declared his submission and retired to Stresa on Lago Maggiore, where he died.

Of the Five Wounds of the Holy Church presupposes an analogy between the Holy Wounds suffered by the Lord’s natural Body pierced on the cross, and His mystical body, the Church, pierced by the sins and errors of men in the ages of Christian history.

The five main evils of his contemporary Italian Church correspond, in Rosmini’s view, to the five wounds of the hands, feet, and side of the Divine Redeemer. Beginning with the wound in Jesus’ left hand, he likens it to the lack of sympathy between the clergy and people in the act of public worship, which he sees as a result of a lack of adequate Christian evangelical teaching. This is to be accounted for by the wound in the right hand — the insufficient education of the clergy, their secularisation and their alienation from scripture and their bishops. This again was both caused and perpetuated by the great wound in the side, which pierced the Heart of the Divine Sufferer, and which Rosmini sees as a parallel for the divisions among the Bishops, separating them from one another, and also from their clergy and people, forgetting their true union in the Body of Christ. The wound of the right foot is compared to the civil power of the Bishops making them into worldly schemers and politicians, more or less intent on selfish interests. The wound of the left foot is compared to events of the feudal period, when the freehold tenures of the Church were treated as fiefs by an overlord, or suzerain, who saw in the chief pastors of the flock of Christ only a particular variety of vassals or dependants.

In 1998 he was named by Pope John Paul II in the encyclical Fides et Ratio as one of the greater Christian thinkers.

List of authors and works on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum

This is a selected list of the authors and works appearing in the final published edition of the Index in 1948, with later additions until the Index was discontinued in 1966.

Banned Name Works Ref.
1600 Bruno, Giordano Opera omnia [a]
1626, 1657, 1658,
1659, 1672
Grotius, Hugo Opera omnia theologica;
De Imperio summarum potestatum circa sacra (pub. 1647);
Annales et historiae de rebus belgicis (pub. 1657);
+6 more
[b]
1645 Browne, Thomas Religio medici; the religion of a physician [c]
1649 Hobbes, Thomas Opera omnia [d]
1657, 1789 Pascal, Blaise Lettres provinciales (1657);
Pensées (pub. 1670), with notes by Voltaire
[e]
1659 Calvin, John Lexicon iuridicum iuris caesarei simul et canonici [f]
1663 Descartes, René Meditations (1641);
Les passions de l’âme (1649);
Opera philosophica. Donec corrig.;
+4 more
[g]
1667 Leti, Gregorio Opera omnia [h]
1668 Bacon, Francis De dignitate et augmentis scientiarum libri IX. Donec corrig. [i]
1676 Montaigne, Michel de Essays [j]
1679, 1690 Spinoza, Baruch Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1677);
Opera posthuma
[k]
1684 Eriugena, Johannes Scotus De divisione naturae libri quinque diu desiderati [l]
1689, 1707, 1712 Malebranche, Nicolas Traité de la nature et de la grace (1680);
Traité de morale (1684);
+4 more
[m]
1694, 1758 Milton, John Literae pseudo-senatus anglicani, Cromwellii reliquorumque perduellium nomine ac iussu conscriptae (1676);
Paradise Lost (1667)
[n]
1703 La Fontaine, Jean de Contes et Nouvelles [o]
1717 Maimonides ‘Tractate on Idolatry from the Mishneh Torah with notes by Dionysius Vossius [p]
1729 Addison, Joseph Remarks on Several Parts of Italy (1705; revised 1718) [q]
1734, 1737 Locke, John An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689);
The Reasonableness of Christianity, as Delivered in the Scriptures (1695)
[r]
1738 Swedenborg, Emanuel Principia (1734) [s]
1742 Berkeley, George Alciphron, or The Minute Philosopher [t]
1743 Defoe, Daniel The Political History of the Devil (1726) [u]
1744 Richardson, Samuel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740) [v]
1751, 1762 Montesquieu Lettres Persanes (1721);
De l’esprit des lois (1748)
[w]
1752, 1753, 1757,
1761, 1762, 1765,
1766, 1768, 1769,
1771, 1773, 1776,
1779
Voltaire Candide (1759);
Traité sur la tolérance (1763);
Lettres philosophiques (1733; revised 1778);
+38 more
[x]
1758, 1804 Diderot, Denis Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (1751–72);
Jacques le fataliste et son maître (pub. 1796)
[y]
1758 d’Alembert, Jean le Rond Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (1751–72) [z]
1759, 1774 Helvétius, Claude Adrien De l’Esprit (1758);
De l’homme, de ses facultés intellectuelles et de son éducation
[aa]
1761 Hume, David Opera omnia [ab]
1762, 1766, 1806, Rousseau, Jean-Jacques Émile, ou de l’éducation (1762);
Du contrat social (1762);
Julie, ou la nouvelle Héloïse (1761)
[ac]
1764 Kollár, Adam František De originibus et usu perpetuo potestatis legislatoriae circa sacra apostolicorum regum Ungariae (1764) [ad]
1766 Beccaria, Cesare Dei Delitti e delle pene (1764) [ae]
1783 Gibbon, Edward Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776–1788) [af]
1815, 1840, 1859,
1863, 1866, 1896
Michelet, Jules 6 titles [ag]
1817 Darwin, Erasmus Zoonomia; or The Laws of Organic Life (1794) [ah]
1819 Sterne, Laurence A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy (1768) [ai]
1827 Condorcet, Nicholas de Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind (1794) [aj]
1827 Kant, Immanuel Critique of Pure Reason (1781; revised 1787) [ak]
1828 Stendhal Omnes fabulae amatoriae [al]
1834, 1837, 1838,
1841, 1843, 1846,
Lamennais, Hugues Felicité Robert de 7 works [am]
1834 Casanova, Giacomo Mémoires [an]
1835 Bentham, Jeremy Deontology, or The science of morality (1834);
+3 more
[ao]
1836 Heine, Heinrich Reisebilder;
De l’Allemagne;
De la France
[ap]
1840 Sand, George Omnes fabulae amatoriae [aq]
1841 Balzac, Honoré de Omnes fabulae amatoriae [ar]
1849 Gioberti, Vincenzo Opera omnia [as]
1852 Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph Opera omnia [at]
1856 Mill, John Stuart Principles of Political Economy (1848) [au]
1859, 1860, 1863,
1866, 1869, 1877,
1881, 1882, 1884,
1891, 1892,
Renan, Ernest 19 titles [av]
1863, 1880 Dumas, Alexandre (fils) Omnes fabulae amatoriae;
La question du divorce
[aw]
1863 Dumas, Alexandre (père) Omnes fabulae amatoriae [ax]
1864 Comte, Auguste Cours de philosophie positive [ay]
1864 Flaubert, Gustave Madame Bovary (1856);
Salammbô (1862)
[az]
1873 Larousse, Pierre Grand dictionnaire universel du XIXe siècle (1866–76) [ba]
1876 Draper, John William History of the Conflict between Religion and Science (1874) [bb]
1894 Zola, Émile Opera omnia [bc]
1911, 1928, 1935,
1939
D’Annunzio, Gabriele Omnia opera dramatica;
Omnes fabulae amatoriae;
+3 more
[bd]
1914 Bergson, Henri Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience;
Matière et mémoire; essai sur la relation du corps à l’esprit;
L’évolution créatrice
[be]
1914 Maeterlinck, Maurice Opera omnia [bf]
1922 France, Anatole Opera omnia [bg]
1931 van de Velde, Theodoor Hendrik Het volkomen huwelijk (1926) [bh]
1948 Sartre, Jean-Paul Opera omnia [bi]
1952 Gide, André Opera omnia [bj]
1952 Moravia, Alberto Opera omnia [bk]
1953 Kazantzakis, Nikos The Last Temptation of Christ (1955) [bl]
1956 de Beauvoir, Simone The Second Sex (1949);
The Mandarins (1954)