Vad är ett eftertryck?

En studie av författarskap och eftertryckning i det tyska språkområdet under tidigt 1800-tal


  • Jens Eriksson Uppsala universitet


book piracy, authorship, intellectual property, the German language area, early 19th century


Around the turn of the nineteenth century, states within the German language area passed groundbreaking laws against the unauthorized reprinting of books. The authorial rights reforms that swept the region prompted fierce disagreements over concepts such as authorship, piracy and reprinting. How should these terms be defined and implemented? What was an author? How did authorship differ from piracy? Who wielded the power to define the difference? The questions raised by the reform wave echo in current debates about piracy, copyright, and intellectual property. This article explores the history of these controversies with the aim of rethinking the history of German print piracy in the early nineteenth century, a period when unauthorized reprinting is believed to have disapperead from the German language area. Against this view, this article portrays the size of the German reprinting industry as a subject of much dispute. To some, the German language area seemed to be on the cusp of an anarchic infestation of piratical book merchants, while others argued that the German book market had already been purged from disreputable publications. In these discussions, the meaning of words mattered greatly. Those who could control the meaning of terms such as authorship and unauthorized reprinting also assumed the authority to determine whether piratical books had vanished from the German book market.