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Le livre technique avant le xxe siècle

 | 
Liliane Hilaire-Pérez
, 
Valérie Nègre
, 
Delphine Spicq
, 
et al.

Cinquième partie - Économie du livre technique

Promoting Technical Knowledge. Printing Privileges and Technical Literature in the early Dutch Republic

Promouvoir des savoirs techniques. Privilèges d’imprimerie et la littérature technique à l’aube de la république des Provinces-Unies

Marius Buning

Résumé

Cet article traite du rapport existant entre les privilèges accordés aux imprimeurs et la littérature technique au début de la République des Provinces-Unies (ca. 1581-1621). L’utilisation des privilèges n’est pas vue comme un élément de censure et de contrainte mais plutôt comme un moyen de mettre en avant un certain type de savoir. Cet article soutient la thèse selon laquelle les privilèges représentaient une forme de validation de la part des autorités, conférant plus de poids à des ouvrages qu’il fallait produire en masse en raison de leur importance pour le grand public. En termes de savoir technique, il s’agissait principalement de manuels de navigation et de manuels scolaires. De plus, cet article montre comment le système de privilèges permettait aux professionnels, issus d’horizons divers, de mettre en scène leurs talents et leurs capacités et, de manière plus générale, leur offrait la possibilité de se rencontrer et d’échanger leurs connaissances.

Texte intégral

Introduction

  • 1 The literature on censorship and privileges is abundant, but see for instance Machiels, J., Privil (...)

1This paper addresses the relationship between printing privileges and technical literature in the early Dutch Republic (ca. 1581-1621). These privileges were the forerunners of what we call “copyrights” today: they were exclusive rights with a limited time frame for the commercial exploitation of a variety of printed materials, such as books, engravings, or globes. All throughout early modern Europe, state authorities consistently deployed privileges as a means to curtail existing ideas.1 Instead of framing printing privileges in terms of censorship and constraint, however, this paper emphasizes the use of printing privileges as a means to promote technical knowledge in the Dutch Republic.

  • 2 Kawohl, F. (2008) “Commentary on the privilege granted by the Bishop of Würzburg (1479)”, in Bentl (...)
  • 3 For an overview, see Schriks, C., Het kopijrecht, 16de tot 19de eeuw: Aanleidingen tot en gevolgen (...)
  • 4 Hoftijzer, P., “Nederlandse boekverkopersprivileges in de 17e en 18e eeuw,” Jaarboek Nederlands Ge (...)

2The emergence of printing privileges went hand in hand with the invention of the printing press in the mid-fifteenth century. As far as we know, Rudolf II von Scherenberg, Bishop of Würzburg, issued the first privilege that prohibited copying a work without permission in 1479.2 The habit then spread fast and widely, and by the mid-sixteenth century there was not a single sovereignty on the European continent where a system of printing privileges was not in place.3 The Dutch privilege system, instead, emerged in the mid-1580s, that is to say, at the height of the Dutch Revolt (ca. 1560-1648). Even if, according to estimations, no more than roughly 1% of the total print production was produced under privilege, there remains no doubt that the system played a vital role in the regulation of the local book trade until the final days of the Republic.4

  • 5 Van Eeghen, I. H., De Amsterdamse boekhandel 1680-1725, vol. 5 part 1, Amsterdam, Scheltema & Holk (...)
  • 6 Groenveld S., “The Dutch Republic, an Island of Liberty of the Press in 17th Century Europe? The A (...)
  • 7 Schriks C., op. cit., p. 1-173. For prints, see Orenstein N., “Sleeping Caps, City Views and State (...)

3Despite its apparent importance, a systematic study of the social impact of printing privileges in the Dutch Republic is still a desideratum. Isabella Henriette van Eeghen drew attention, several decennia ago, to the privileges granted by the States of Holland, and Paul Hoftijzer followed suit by providing a number of very useful papers on the phenomenon of book piracy.5 Simon Groenveld situated the privilege system within the broader framework of censorship and patronage, but his work unfortunately did not take root.6 More recently, Chris Schiks provided a summary overview of legal development of the privilege notion, and Nadine Orenstein discussed the relationship between privileges and prints.7 The importance of printing privileges for the production of technical knowledge has to my knowledge not been studied in detail so far.

  • 8 For an overview of the use of printing privileges as a tool for censorship in the Dutch Republic, (...)
  • 9 The main obstacles for introducing a system of preventive censorship are discussed in Groenveld, S (...)
  • 10 “Dit heeft my dus lange geen octroy of Privilegie doen soecken op mijn boecken, op of ick daer in (...)
  • 11 “[…] geen waerdigheyt ofte meer geloof of credyt”, as quoted in Schriks C., op. cit., p. 117. Comp (...)

4Whereas in other countries the system of printing privileges and licenses soon became closely intertwined with the system of censorship, this was less the case in the Dutch Republic.8 For instance, printers were never systematically obliged to obtain a privilege for their works prior to putting them on the market.9 Yet, censorship was not the only way to influence the public opinion. Various centers of power tried to influence public opinion, not by limiting the amount of information, but instead by promoting the sort of information that they wished to diffuse. It was in this context that printing privileges began to function as a sign that the privilege granting authorities had endorsed the information in print. The Dutch mathematician Robbert Robbertszoon (1563-1630), for example, claimed that he did not need any privilege for his writings since he wished to be held personally accountable for them.10 The privilege became something of a quality mark: a guarantee that the privilege granting authorities had approved of the provided information. This suggestion went so far that, in 1669, the Court of Holland considered it necessary to enunciate that a book privilege no longer provided “any dignity, or more credibility or credit”.11

5The question is then: did the Dutch authorities follow a strategic publication policy with regards to books and images? And what was the impact of the privilege system for the printing industry on the whole? These questions form part of my ongoing research, which is provisionally entitled Privileged Knowledge. The Politics of Print in the early Dutch Republic. This paper offers a sample of that larger project and uncovers, in particular, the significant role of printing privileges in the promotion of technical knowledge. In this context, it should be specified that I use the term ‘technical knowledge’ to denote explicit knowledge needed to obtain a specific result following a set of rules. This definition excludes, for instance, philosophical, historical, or religious knowledge (even if one might contend that certain religious knowledge is required to attain salvation). Technical knowledge consists of ideas or theories that can be verified in practice. In order to limit the topic somewhat, I decided to put the emphasis in the remainder of this paper more on technical books and less on the production of engravings, world maps, or globes.

6The paper is divided in two parts. The first part provides an introduction to the type of technical literature deemed worthy of privilege. The second part discusses the relation between privileges and projects, and uncovers the privilege system as a meeting place where actors from different backgrounds came together to discuss which knowledge was valid and which was not. I will then draw some preliminary conclusions and set out part of a possible future research program.

Printing privileges in the Dutch Republic

  • 12 The Republic consisted of seven provinces with voting rights that were united on the basis of the (...)
  • 13 According to estimations by Hoftijzer, the central authorities gave out 400 privileges in the peri (...)

7The Dutch privilege system as it emerged in the mid-1580s was for the most part a continuation of the system that had existed under Burgundian-Habsburg rule. One of the main differences was, however, that privileges were no longer granted in the name of the King but by the so-called States-General of the United Provinces. The States-General was a remnant of the Burgundian-Habsburg period, whose function was thoroughly reinterpreted after the Dutch abjured Philip II in 1581. Originally a space for negotiations between the Burgundian overlord and the provinces, the States-General soon began to function as the central and coordinating authority, which represented with one vote each of the seven provinces that constituted the Republic.12 Individual provinces also had their own assembly, called the Provincial States, which issued a number of privileges in its own name as well. Nevertheless, the States-General clearly took charge of privilege policies in the first quarter of the seventeenth century, taking over the tasks that had previously fallen under the responsibility of the authorities in Brussels and Spain.13

  • 14 For the amount of privileges granted in the long seventeenth century, see Groenveld S., op. cit., (...)
  • 15 The ban to produce counterfeit copies primarily had a local character. Hence, privileges granted b (...)
  • 16 Copyright law, as well as the associated terminology, differs considerably from nation to nation, (...)

8The republican authorities were relatively liberal with granting privileges, issuing on average about 5 to 10 privileges per year for a wide variety of printed materials, such as books, textile prints, engravings, globes, maps, etc.14 These privileges protected the privilege owner against the reprinting of a work without prior consent. In the case of books, an extract of the privilege had to be published in the front matter, whereas in the case of other materials a reference to the existence of the privilege sufficed (usually in the form of the formula cum privilegio). Violators of the privilege were punished with a monetary fine as well as the confiscation of any counterfeit copies.15 Although printing privileges show in this regard considerable resemblance to our modern notion of copyright, the point was not to safeguard originality.16 Instead, privileges served as a kind of economic guarantees for investments to be made on the part of the publisher, such as the production of copper engravings or translations. By providing publishers with a temporary trade monopoly as a form of security, the authorities made it more likely that a particular project could come of the press.

  • 17 For the States of Holland I have made use of a cumulative index of privilege grants (National Arch (...)
  • 18 RSG, vol. 6, p. 664 (16 February 1589); RSG, vol. 13, p. 233 (28 January 1604); RSG, vol. 13, p. 5 (...)
  • 19 For an excellent study of almanacs in the Dutch Republic, see Jeroen Salman, Populair drukwerk in (...)
  • 20 For a discussion of bookkeeping instruction in the Dutch Republic, see Davids K., “The Bookkeepers (...)
  • 21 “[…] een cleyn hantboucxken, inhoudende de gantsche onderrichtinge van ‘t Italiaens bouchouden, ve (...)

9Not all privileges were related to technical knowledge. A lot of the material had to do with politics and religion, such as the production of protestant catechisms or Bibles in the vernacular. An extensive survey of the resolutions of the States-General as well as the States of Holland shows, however, that about 17% of all the printing privileges was directly related to literature that had a clearly defined practical purpose.17 Within that scaffold, a relatively small number of privileges were granted for medical literature. Sometimes, these privileges were granted for individual works. But privileges were also granted for entire oeuvres, such as the privilege for the entire works of Christoph Wirtsung (translated by the medicijn ordinarius of Dordrecht, Karel Baten), or the entire works of Mr. Ambrosius Paré, the “supreme surgeon” (opperste chirurgijn) of the King of France.18 Medical doctors played a significant role in the production of privileged almanacs, too.19 Other topics considered worthy of being privileged were bookkeeping and accounting.20 On 12 July 1604, for instance, the Amsterdam-based teacher Henrick Waninghen obtained a three-year privilege to publish “a small handbook, containing the entire instruction of Italian bookkeeping, decked out with 300 questions and answers”.21

  • 22 De Houtman, F., Spraeck ende woord-boeck, in de Maleysche ende Madagaskarsche talen, met vele Arab (...)
  • 23 De Laet J., Nieuvve Wereldt Ofte Beschrijvinghe van West-Indien, vvt veelderhande Schriften ende A (...)
  • 24 “[…] ofte oock eenighe Kaerten in’t geheel ofte stuck-gevvys, uyt het voors. Boeck te nemen, om by (...)
  • 25 The privilege ended by stating “that it is forbidden to print or publish similar matter from now o (...)

10Clearly, bookkeeping was of crucial importance to the merchants in the Republic. Another topic directly related to mercantile interests was travel literature. Its link with technical knowledge could play out on multiple levels, as in the case of Fredrick Pietersz Houtman, who obtained a privilege for his Malay Dictionary containing the first observations of the southern stars made by western Europeans.22 In other instances, a curious interaction between text and illustration transpired. In 1624, for instance, Joannes de Laet obtained a privilege for his New World or Description of the West Indies: a book that became the standard work of reference on the West Indies in the first half of the seventeenth century23. The privilege issued to De Laet prohibited the reprinting of the book for the duration of twelve years, either in part or as a whole, in big or small format and in whatever language (fig. 1). However, it also prohibited to import copies from abroad and “to take out any maps either in parts or entirely from this book, and to reprint them in other books, without the consent of the aforementioned Johan de Laet”.24 This segment of the privilege is interesting because it shows how – from a legal point of view – the reproduction of maps could be regulated by a book privilege. Furthermore, it provides an impression of how the States-General tried to use privileges to control the type of knowledge that was being produced.25

Fig. 1. Privilege for Joannes de Laet. Joannes de Laet. Nieuvve Wereldt (Leiden, 1625.) Royal Library The Hague, KB 36 G 18.

  • 26 RSG NR, vol. 5, p. 170. On 5 June, the States decided to hand the map back to the supplicant forbi (...)
  • 27 RSG NR, vol. 5, p. 336. See also Orenstein N., op. cit., 2006, p. 318; Weekhout I., op. cit., p. 8 (...)

11The sense of control becomes even clearer if we turn our attention to the maps of territories under Dutch control. Especially around 1621, when fighting broke out again after the end of the Twelve years Truce between the Republic and the Spanish Habsburgs, the authorities exercised restraint to privilege any material that could provide information to the enemy. On 4 June 1621, for example, the surveyor Frans Floriszoon van Berckenrode petitioned for a ten-year privilege for a map of the rivers Maas and Waal. After showing a sample copy, the 3States-General decided to buy the plates, patterns and prints for a reasonable price and to forbid the supplier to disseminate additional copies.26 On 11 November 1621, the surveyor of Flanders, Pieter Gilliszoon asked for a privilege for his map “made after the art of geometry” (na de conste van de geometrie) showing the conquered areas in Flanders. The States-General, however, decided to take the map out of circulation because of the wartime conditions, and it had the mapmaker swear not to make any additional copies.27 Clearly, the authorities sought to maintain strict supervision on the type of knowledge put in circulation.

  • 28 National Archives, The Hague, States-General, 1.01.02, inv. no. 12301, fol. 43r (9 April 1614). Me (...)
  • 29 A translation of the subtitle of Metius’ teaching manual can be useful to get an idea of the inten (...)

12Conversely, issuing a privilege meant a certain endorsement. It is all the more interesting, then, to observe that most privileged material related to practical mathematics (mathematicae mixtae) and, in particular, to textbooks and navigation manuals. In 1614, for example, Adriaen Metius, who held the first full-time chair for mathematics in the Republic, obtained a privilege for the publication of a manual explaining how to use a celestial and a terrestrial globe.28 The booklet not only contained many examples of the use of globes, but it also included a treatise on the art of navigation as well as a guide on how to use and fabricate sundials and maps29 (fig. 2).

  • 30 For a useful overview of mathematical schooling in the Dutch Republic, see Davids K., “Ondernemers (...)
  • 31 RSG NR, vol. 4, p. 296 (7 November 1619).
  • 32 RSG NR, vol. 5, p. 90 (23 March 1621). Lastman, Cornelis Jansz., De schat-kamer, des grooten see-v (...)

13The production of privileged teaching materials was directly related to the intensification of mathematical schooling in the Republic.30 Besides the schools that had been founded in 1600 both at the University of Franeker and the University of Leiden, where teaching was carried out in the vernacular, a number of writers whose work was privileged ran private mathematical schools. One of those writers was Robbert Robbertszoon, a navigation teacher in Amsterdam, who obtained a ten-year privilege for the publication of his method to “swiftly multiply and divide” (cort te multipliceren ende divideren).31 Another example was that of Cornelis Jansz Lastman, a self-published author who worked as the examiner of future navigation officers in the service of the Dutch East Indies Company. In 1621, Lastman obtained a twelve-year privilege for his Treasure Trove of the Art of Navigation, a highly influential teaching manual that was still discussed by Dirck Rembrandtsz van Nierop at the end of the seventeenth century.32 The privilege functioned in this case as a stamp of approval: by privileging the teaching methods of specific authors, the authorities made it more likely that these methods would be introduced and accepted as normative.

Fig. 2. Illustration from the Institutiones Astronomicae & Geographicae. Adrianus Metius, Institutiones astronomicae et geographicae (Amsterdam, 1614). University of Amsterdam Special Collections, O 63-427.

Privileges, projects and encounters

  • 33 An enumeration of all the documents related to this topic would fall outside the scope of this pap (...)
  • 34 It was, in fact, not until 1686 before the States-General decided to no longer grant privileges fo (...)
  • 35 Koeman C., The History of Lucas Janszoon Waghenaer: And his “Spieghel der Zeevaerdt”, Lausanne, Se (...)
  • 36 Waghenaer L., Teerste deel vande Spiegel der zeevaerdt, Leyden, Christophe Plantijn for Lucas Jans (...)
  • 37 “[…] d’ééne inhoudende de geheelde Oistersche ende Westersche zeevaert ende d’andere begrypende de (...)
  • 38 RSG, vol. 6, p. 665, note 1.

14Next to the promotion of existing knowledge, privileges could also prompt innovation. he possibility of obtaining a privilege served, on the one hand, as an inducement to solve persistent challenges, such as the problem of longitude determination.33 On the other hand, the authorities could spur innovation by supporting promising projects well in advance of their actual publication.34 A well-known instance was the privilege for the Mariner’s Mirrour composed by Lucas Janszoon Waghenaer (1534-1606), who described himself as “a simple citizen and pilot at sea”.35 Although produced under a ten-year privilege issued on 7 May 1580, the first edition of Wagenaer’s atlas of the seas finally appeared in 1584 at the Leiden print shop of Christophe Plantin.36 Following the success of his work, Wagenaer received several additional privileges for his other publications, among which two sea charts for the “entire Eastern and Western seagoing” as well as for “entire seagoing in all of Europe”.37 The States-General decided, not long after granting the privilege for these chart books, to purchase two copies for in-house use.38

Date

Event

Why/What for

Result

Reference

27 July 1617

Stampioen petitions for 12-year privilege

to teach and to publish books about his method of finding latitude

The States-General ask advise from Simon Stevin

Dodt van Flensburg, Archief, 7:10
RSG NR, 3:173.

29 July 1617

Stampioen obtains a privilege for 8 years

,,

National Archives, The Hague, States-General, 1.01.02, inv. no. 12302, fol. 32.

Dodt van Flensburg, Archief, 7:11
RSG NR, 3: 180.

29 December 1617

The admiralty of Rotterdam is to decide upon examiners for Stampioen’s invention of four new ways of finding latitude without the help of any instruments

to give information to States General

The Admiralty appoints David Davidsz (navigation teacher) Jan Cornelisz. Kunst (experienced skipper)

Dodt van Flensburg, Archief, 7:20
RSG NR, 3:302

27 January 1618

Stampioen receives 400 guilders for as a compensation for his efforts

yet, further research is needed

Dodt van Flensburg, Archief, 7:22
RSG NR, 3:320

10 April 1618

Stampioen receives 150 guilders

for the dedication of his book Nyeuwe taeffelen der polus hoochte (containing his methods to find latitude)

Nieuwe tafelen der polvshooghte. Rotterdam, printed by M. Bastiaensz. for J. J. Stampioen, 1618.8°.

Dodt van Flensburg, Archief, 7:28
RSG NR, 3:371

16 February 1619

Stampioen requests a privilege for two nautical charts

The States-General ask advise from Prince Maurice of Orange

Dodt van Flensburg, Archief, 7:55
RSG NR 4:46

1 August 1619

Stampioen receives a five-year privilege for making a “Coelestum planum” to find the stars as well as to print a little instruction manual

Coeleste planum, ofte Hemels pleyn, waer op de sterren des hemels in het platte ghestelt zijn, ghelijemense aenden hemel ziet: om daer door lichtelijc de sterren des hemels te leeren kennen

Printed by Matthijs Bastiaensz. in Rotterdam for J. J. Stampioen, 1619.8°.

Dodt van Flensburg,Archief, 7:79
RSG NR 4:199

10 October 1619

Stampioen receives 50 guilders

as a remuneration for the dedication of his Coeleste planum

Stampioen desires more, but the States persist on this amount (12 October)

Dodt van Flensburg,v Archief, 7:87
RSG NR, 4:265

1 November 1620

Stampioen receives 75 guilders

for the dedication of his Coeleste planum

Dodt van Flensburg, Archief, 7:90

10 April 1620

Stampioen requests to take up the position in the army left vacant by the deceased Simon Stevin

The States-General ask advice from Maurice of Orange and the Council of State

The request by Stampioen is denied

RSG NR, 4:425

25 May 1621

Stampioen receives another 25 guilders for the presentation of his Coeleste planum

RSG NR, 5:159

Table 1. Privileges and Rewards for the work of Jan Janszoon Stampioen Sr.

  • 39 “[…] (alsoo hy by experientie heeft bevonden) […].” Copy in Dodt van Flensburg, J. J., Archief voo (...)
  • 40 “[…] eerst sal hooren ende examineeren in de presentie van een of twee vuyt dese vergaderinge, opt (...)
  • 41 Stampioen Sr. was appointed land surveyor of the States of Holland in 1621. He combined this offic (...)
  • 42 Van Berkel K., Isaac Beeckman on Matter and Motion: Mechanical Philosophy in the Making. Baltimore (...)

15In many ways, the privilege system functioned as a place of encounter that gave actors from different backgrounds the opportunity to meet and learn from one another. An illustrative example in this respect was the case of Jan Janszoon Stampioen Sr. (c. 1589-1660), who started his career as a pilot on ships sailing in Northern Europe. Upon his return to the Republic, Stampioen petitioned for a privilege to impart his knowledge of a new method of latitude measurement (table 1). Stampioen claimed that he had found the technique “by experience”39 throughout his extensive journeys, but the authorities decided on the side of caution and sought advice from renowned mathematician Simon Stevin (1548-1620). Stevin was to meet with the supplicant and to examine him “in the presence of one or two delegates from the Assembly”40 on the viability of the invention. After issuing the privilege, the States-General furthermore commissioned the Admiralty of Rotterdam to examine the potential usability of the invention together with some practitioners. Stampioen received several supplemental rewards and, after a while, got support to produce a planisphere. He then received another privilege for a user manual and became, around that time, the official surveyor of Holland.41 Meanwhile, he also became good friends with the famous “scientist” Isaac Beeckman and a member of the Collegium Mechanicum (1626), which consisted of a group of friends that met every Friday to discuss a variety of topics, such as how to improve the construction of mills or whether sound travels horizontally.42 Stampioen’s career development suggests that the privilege system provided the navigation pilot with a stepping-stone to rise on the social ladder, functioning in a more general sense as a stage for practitioners to show their skills and abilities.

Conclusion

  • 43 Comparison based on Ginsburg J., “Proto-Property in Literary and Artistic Works: Sixteenth-Century (...)

16This paper demonstrated how the Dutch authorities deployed privileges to push the production of technical literature. In the process, it came to light that the federal authorities in the Republic were anything but passive observers when it came to the diffusion of technical knowledge. The share of technical literature in the period 1581-1621 took up roughly 17% of all the printing privileges. How this number compares to the situation in other sovereignties still remains to be studied; a first comparison with the papal system of printing privileges suggests, however, that technical knowledge received less attention in Rome than in The Hague.43

17Looking at the type of knowledge that was sponsored in the Dutch Republic, one can conclude that “technical literature” primarily meant navigational manuals and schoolbooks. Perhaps, the emphasis on practical mathematics in this context can be traced back to the close involvement of merchants in government, who recognized more acutely that the development of practical skills was essential for the further development of their political and commercial activities. The authorities regularly placed orders for the purchase of privileged literature and preliminary observations suggest that there were two scenarios when it came to the actual readership. The first was that privileges were used as a gesture of honor. In this case, the material was more of a luxury product and the members of the States-General usually desired to have a copy of the privileged literature. In the second scenario, the privilege functioned as a stamp of approval giving greater weight to literature that was to be mass-produced because of its perceived importance for the public welfare. It still remains unclear whether the States-General had set up specific commissions for the inspection of this type of literature before a privilege was granted. In the limited number of cases where we have been able to trace the testing procedure, the examiner seems to have been appointed ad hoc on the basis of his reputation in mathematics.

18Now, one of the main questions for future research will be how privileged literature related to books and prints that were not produced under privilege. Can one speak of a systematic difference in terms of the success rate of privileged literature? The denial of a privilege did not necessarily mean that it was forbidden to publish a specific title. The question is then why, despite the relatively low percentage of printing privileges in the Dutch Republic, especially privileged literature was strikingly often of great importance and long-term significance. Certainly, this topic invites further research. I hope nevertheless that this paper has helped to put the study of privileges on the map as a worthwhile research topic for historians of science and technology. Printing privileges were more than simple name and date providers. They have their own story to tell as well – and that story exposes the important role of the Dutch authorities in the promotion of technical knowledge.

Notes

1 The literature on censorship and privileges is abundant, but see for instance Machiels, J., Privilège, censure et index dans les Pays-Bas méridionaux jusqu’au début du xviiie siècle, Bruxelles, Archives générales du Royaume, 1997, p. 1-58; Witcombe, CLCE, Copyright in the Renaissance: Prints and the Privilegio in Sixteenth-Century Venice and Rome, Leyde, Brill, 2004, p. 9-73.

2 Kawohl, F. (2008) “Commentary on the privilege granted by the Bishop of Würzburg (1479)”, in Bently L. and Kretschmer M. (eds.), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), www.copyrighthistory.org.

3 For an overview, see Schriks, C., Het kopijrecht, 16de tot 19de eeuw: Aanleidingen tot en gevolgen van boekprivileges en boekhandelsusanties, kopijrecht, verordeningen, boekenwetten en rechtspraak in het privaat-, publiek-en staatsdomein in de Nederlanden, met globale analoge ontwikkelingen in Frankrijk, Groot-Brittannië en het Heilig Roomse Rijk, Zutphen, Walburg, 2004, p. 175-258; Witcombe, CLCE, op. cit., p. 326-343.

4 Hoftijzer, P., “Nederlandse boekverkopersprivileges in de 17e en 18e eeuw,” Jaarboek Nederlands Genootschap van Bibliofielen, 1993, p. 49.

5 Van Eeghen, I. H., De Amsterdamse boekhandel 1680-1725, vol. 5 part 1, Amsterdam, Scheltema & Holkema, 1978, p. 193-236; Hoftijzer, P., op. cit.; Hoftijzer, P., “‘A Sickle Unto Thy Neighbour’ s Corn’: Book Piracy in the Dutch Republic”, Quaerendo 27, 1997, p. 3–18; Hoftijzer, P., “Nederlandse boekverkopersprivileges in de achttiende eeuw. Kanttekeningen bij een inventarisatie”, Documentatieblad werkgroep 18e eeuw 22, no 2, 1990, p. 159-80. Older literature includes De Beaufort H. L., “Het auteursrecht in het Nederlandsche en internationale recht”, PhD thesis, Utrecht, 1909, p. 1-39; Bodel Nijenhuis, J. T., De wetgeving op drukpers en boekhandel in de Nederlanden tot in het begin der XIX de eeuw. Vertaling van de “Dissertatio historico-juridica de juribus typographorum et bibliopolarum in regno belgico,” aan de Leidsche hoogeschool verdedigd, Amsterdam, Van Kampen, 1892.

6 Groenveld S., “The Dutch Republic, an Island of Liberty of the Press in 17th Century Europe? The Authorities and theBook Trade,” in Bots H. and Waquet F. (eds.), Commercium litterarium. La communication dans la République des Lettres [1600-1750], Amsterdam, APA-Holland University Press, 1994, p. 281-300; Groenveld, S., “Het Mekka der schrijvers? Statencolleges en censuur in de zeventiende-eeuwse Republiek”, in Eer is het lof des deughts; Opstellen over Renaissance en Classicisme aangeboden aan Dr. Fokke Veenstra, 1986, p. 225-45; Groenveld S., and Den Hartog J. B., “‘Twee musici, twee stromingen. Een boekoctrooi voor Anthoni van Noordt en een advies van Constantijn Huygens, 1659,” in Th. van Deursen P. E. L., Verkuyl A. and Grootes E. K. (eds.), Veelzijdigheid als levensvorm: Facetten van Constantijn Huygens’leven en werk, Deventer, Sub Rosa, 1987, p. 109-127.

7 Schriks C., op. cit., p. 1-173. For prints, see Orenstein N., “Sleeping Caps, City Views and State Funerals: Privileges for Prints in the Dutch Republic 1580-1650”, in Golahny A., Mochizuki M. M. and Vergara L. (eds.), In His Milieu: Essays on Netherlandish Art in Memory of John Michael Montias, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press, 2006, p. 313-346; Orenstein N., Hendrick Hondius and the Business of Prints in Seventeenth-Century Holland, Rotterdam, Sound & Vision Interactive, 1996, p. 90-94, 113-114.

8 For an overview of the use of printing privileges as a tool for censorship in the Dutch Republic, see Groenveld S., “The Dutch Republic”, p. 289-297; Weekhout I. M., Boekencensuur in de Noordelijke Nederlanden: De vrijheid van drukpers in de zeventiende eeuw, Den Haag, SDU, 1998, p. 87-88.

9 The main obstacles for introducing a system of preventive censorship are discussed in Groenveld, S., op. cit., p. 282-285.

10 “Dit heeft my dus lange geen octroy of Privilegie doen soecken op mijn boecken, op of ick daer in saelgeerden, dat my alleen de schult daer van ghegeven worde, ende niet uwe Hoogheyeden […]”. Robbertsz Le Canu, R., ‘tVerscheyden antwoordt uyt vele steden in Hollant, op de vraghe van numeratio, Hoorn, printed by W. Andriesz., [1612,] 4°. The quotation comes from the preface (without page number). Emphasis MB.

11 “[…] geen waerdigheyt ofte meer geloof of credyt”, as quoted in Schriks C., op. cit., p. 117. Compare also Groenveld S., op. cit., p. 291.

12 The Republic consisted of seven provinces with voting rights that were united on the basis of the Union of Utrecht (1579). Although nominally these provinces were sovereign, they gave up these sovereign rights on a number of issues that were of common interest, such as defense and finances. These issues were decided upon in the assembly of the States-General in consultation with the Council of State.

13 According to estimations by Hoftijzer, the central authorities gave out 400 privileges in the period 1585-1650 vs. 185 privileges by the States of Holland. Hoftijzer P., “Nederlandse boekverkopersprivileges,” p. 55. However, the States of Holland began issuing privileges mainly after 1632, i. e. outside of the period under consideration here. There is currently no information available about printing privileges granted by other Provinces except Holland.

14 For the amount of privileges granted in the long seventeenth century, see Groenveld S., op. cit., p. 295.

15 The ban to produce counterfeit copies primarily had a local character. Hence, privileges granted by the States-General were only enforced within the realm of the Dutch Republic, even if an import impediment that prohibited the import of counterfeit printed material from abroad was often inserted as well.

16 Copyright law, as well as the associated terminology, differs considerably from nation to nation, then and now. In the United States, for instance, the idea that copyrights are economic rights (and not per se moral rights) has far from disappeared. I am just sketching out the general picture here.

17 For the States of Holland I have made use of a cumulative index of privilege grants (National Archives, The Hague, States of Holland, access number 3.01.04.01, inventory number 5753) as well as the printed resolutions (NL-HaNA, States of Holland, inv. no. 15-54). For the States-General, I used the printed entries to the resolutions as printed in the publication series Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatiën. These entries consist of an old series (14 volumes, abbreviated as RSG) and a new series (7 volumes, abbreviated as RSG NR).

18 RSG, vol. 6, p. 664 (16 February 1589); RSG, vol. 13, p. 233 (28 January 1604); RSG, vol. 13, p. 520 (10 August 1605).

19 For an excellent study of almanacs in the Dutch Republic, see Jeroen Salman, Populair drukwerk in de Gouden Eeuw: De almanak als lectuur en handelswaar, Walburg Pers, 2011. As Salman has shown, exclusive rights could have explicit bearing on the applied calculation methods. Ibid., p. 49.

20 For a discussion of bookkeeping instruction in the Dutch Republic, see Davids K., “The Bookkeepers’Tale. Learning Merchant Skills in the Northern Netherlands in the Sixteenth Century”, in Goudriaan K., van Moolenbroek J. J. and Tervoort A. L. (eds.), Education and Learning inthe Netherlands, 1400-1600, Leiden, Brill, 2004, p. 35–52. Davids does not mention the use of privileges in this domain.

21 “[…] een cleyn hantboucxken, inhoudende de gantsche onderrichtinge van ‘t Italiaens bouchouden, verciert met dryehondert vragen ende antwoirden.” RSG, vol. 13, p. 234 (12 July 1604).

22 De Houtman, F., Spraeck ende woord-boeck, in de Maleysche ende Madagaskarsche talen, met vele Arabische ende Turcsche woorden, Amstelredam, J. E. Cloppenburch, 1603.4° oblong. The book was published under a privilege granted on 4 February 1603. National Archives, The Hague, States-General, 1.01.02, inv. no. 12299, fol. 99v. I have translated Dutch titles into English in the running text to improve readability.

23 De Laet J., Nieuvve Wereldt Ofte Beschrijvinghe van West-Indien, vvt veelderhande Schriften ende Aen-teeckeninghen van verscheyden Natien by een versamelt, Leyden, Elzevier, 1625. Joannes de Laet (1581-1649) was a learned humanist, who had studied theology and philosophy in Leiden with Scaliger and who published on anything from church history to Vitruvius’ De architectura. But De Laet was also the director of the Amsterdam Chamber of the West Indies Company and it was in this context that he published his History of the New World.

24 “[…] ofte oock eenighe Kaerten in’t geheel ofte stuck-gevvys, uyt het voors. Boeck te nemen, om by andere Boecken uyt-ghegheven te vvorden, sonder consent van den voornoemden Iohan de Laet […]”. The maps in the book were provided by Hessel Gerritszoon, who played a crucial role in the cartographical activities of the West Indies Company. Gerritszoon was the official chart maker of the WIC until his death in 1632, when Willem Bleau would take over his job (some-one who obtained several privileges as well).

25 The privilege ended by stating “that it is forbidden to print or publish similar matter from now on without that the Originals shall be inspected by us and we shall have given out consent”. For the issue of (the inefficiency of) secrecy in relation to the production of maps, see Zandvliet K., Mapping for Money: Maps, Plans, and Topographic Paintings and Their Role in Dutch Overseas Expansion During the 16th and 17th Centuries, Amsterdam, Batavian Lion International, 1998, p. 91–96.

26 RSG NR, vol. 5, p. 170. On 5 June, the States decided to hand the map back to the supplicant forbidding him to make any prints. Additional requests for compensation by Floriszoon were denied (5 and 8 June).

27 RSG NR, vol. 5, p. 336. See also Orenstein N., op. cit., 2006, p. 318; Weekhout I., op. cit., p. 86.

28 National Archives, The Hague, States-General, 1.01.02, inv. no. 12301, fol. 43r (9 April 1614). Metius, A., Institutiones Astronomicae & Geographicae, Franeker, printed by T. L. Salwarda, Amsterdam for W. Jansz., 1614.4o. Adriaen Metius (1571-1635) was a professor at the University of Franeker, where he taught in the vernacular. Metius explained in the preliminary matter of the book that the reader was expected to have a pair of celestial and terrestrial globes at hand to follow the instructions. He recommended the use of the globes made by Bleau, considering them reasonably priced and of good quality.

29 A translation of the subtitle of Metius’ teaching manual can be useful to get an idea of the intended readership of the book: Institutiones Astronomicae & Geographicae. Fundamental and Thorough Teachings on Astronomy and on the Description of the Earth using a Celestial and Terrestrial Globe. Item How one can Draw the Principle Revolutions of the Heavens on All Sorts of Flat Surfaces and How one can make Sundials. As well as a short and clear teaching on the indispensable art of Navigation; containing new practiced instruments/ingenious practices and the rules thereto. All quite useful for Skippers and navigating Officers as well as entertaining for all amateurs of this art.

30 For a useful overview of mathematical schooling in the Dutch Republic, see Davids K., “Ondernemers in kennis. Het zeevaartkundig onderwijs in de Republiek gedurende de zeventiende eeuw”, De zeventiende eeuw 7, 1991, p. 37–46.

31 RSG NR, vol. 4, p. 296 (7 November 1619).

32 RSG NR, vol. 5, p. 90 (23 March 1621). Lastman, Cornelis Jansz., De schat-kamer, des grooten see-vaerts-kunst, s.l., s.n., ghedruckt voor Cornelis Iansz. Lastman, 1629.4o. Lastman appereantly did well out of his publication and died a wealthy man. Davids, op. cit., p. 43. About the discussion by Van Nierop, see Baillet A., Rijks M., Vermij R. and Zuidervaart H. (eds.), The Correspondence of Dirck Rembrantsz van Nierop (1610-1682), The Hague, Huygens ING, 2012, p. 52, 86-87, 143, 149.

33 An enumeration of all the documents related to this topic would fall outside the scope of this paper; however, some of the relevant literature includes the works by Guillaume de Nautonier, Jan Hendricxsz. Jarichs and Thomas Leamer. For a diligent analysis of the longitude proposals, see Davids K., Zeewezen en wetenschap: De wetenschap en de ontwikkeling van de navigatietechniek in Nederland tussen 1585 en 1815, Amsterdam, De Bataafsche Leeuw, 1986, p. 69-85.

34 It was, in fact, not until 1686 before the States-General decided to no longer grant privileges for material that was not yet set completely ready for printing. Cau, Groot Placaet-Boeck, vol. 4, p. 361.

35 Koeman C., The History of Lucas Janszoon Waghenaer: And his “Spieghel der Zeevaerdt”, Lausanne, Sequoia, 1964, p. 30. On the details of the privileges for the Spiegel der zeevaerdt, see ibid., p. 41-42, 59.

36 Waghenaer L., Teerste deel vande Spiegel der zeevaerdt, Leyden, Christophe Plantijn for Lucas Jansz Wagenaer, 1584, 2o.

37 “[…] d’ééne inhoudende de geheelde Oistersche ende Westersche zeevaert ende d’andere begrypende de gantsche zeevaert van geheele Europa […].” RSG, vol. 6, p. 664 (9 March 1589).

38 RSG, vol. 6, p. 665, note 1.

39 “[…] (alsoo hy by experientie heeft bevonden) […].” Copy in Dodt van Flensburg, J. J., Archief voor kerkelijke en wereldsche geschiedenissen, inzonderheid van Utrecht, Utrecht, N. van der Monde, 1848, vol. 7, p. 10.

40 “[…] eerst sal hooren ende examineeren in de presentie van een of twee vuyt dese vergaderinge, opte redenen, die hy sal weten te geven van syne inventie.” Ibid.

41 Stampioen Sr. was appointed land surveyor of the States of Holland in 1621. He combined this office, from 1624 onwards, with that of inspector of weights and measures of Rotterdam. Molhuysen, Philip Christiaan, and others (ed.), Nieuw Nederlandsch biografisch woordenboek, Leiden, Sijthoff, 1912, vol. 2, p. 1356–1358.

42 Van Berkel K., Isaac Beeckman on Matter and Motion: Mechanical Philosophy in the Making. Baltimore, JHU Press, 2013, p. 37-38.

43 Comparison based on Ginsburg J., “Proto-Property in Literary and Artistic Works: Sixteenth-Century Papal Printing Privileges”, Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts 36, no 3, 2013, p. 345–458.

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 1. Privilege for Joannes de Laet. Joannes de Laet. Nieuvve Wereldt (Leiden, 1625.) Royal Library The Hague, KB 36 G 18.
URL http://books.openedition.org/editionscnrs/docannexe/image/27787/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 250k
Légende Fig. 2. Illustration from the Institutiones Astronomicae & Geographicae. Adrianus Metius, Institutiones astronomicae et geographicae (Amsterdam, 1614). University of Amsterdam Special Collections, O 63-427.
URL http://books.openedition.org/editionscnrs/docannexe/image/27787/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 359k

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