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Language Variants

Urheberrecht; Tekijänoikeus; Derechos de autor.

Usage Notes

Copyright in the nineteenth century was a controversial topic. In the UK, the 1842 Copyright Act, which focused on copyright for books, did not mention newspapers directly; as such, the reprinting of articles from other newspapers continued unabated. This was also complicated by the 1842 Act, binding copyright to the author, when the majority of newspapers published articles anonymously. An 1881 judgement classed newspapers as books for copyright purposes, but there was still need for further rulings to specify which article categories were protected. In America, there was no copyright protection for foreign authors until the 1891 Chace Act. This meant that the reprinting of articles remained an integral feature of nineteenth-century American journalism. The Berne Convention of 1886, signed initially by Belgium, France, Germany, Haiti, Italy, Liberia, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, and the United Kingdom, attempted to coordinate copyright protections at an international level, although discussion about its applicability to newspaper content continued into the 20th century. It also ended the pirating of works published in the British Empire and Commonwealth (Australia had created its own copyright protections, but this did not protect Australian authors from being reprinted in Britain until the Berne Convention and subsequent British legislation). The US did not join until 1988.

With regard to modern copyright of the digital images and texts, all newspaper materials in Delpher have been cleared for third-party copyright claims and released into the public domain, while Trove and Papers Past have done so with much of their collections; any data from in-copyright works are clearly identified on the web interface and in API results. Although all nineteenth-century newspapers would now technically be in the public domain in the UK, the British Library retains copyright for the digital files because of the skill, judgement and labour used in the creation of the digital image. Each database history contains additional details about copyright within their collection.

Illustration: The Pirate Publisher—An International Burlesque that has the Longest Run on Record by Joseph Ferdinand Keppler, published as a centrefold in Puck, vol. 18, no. 468 (24 February 1886). Wikimedia Commons.


“The extent of copyright in news material itself was still at issue in the 1890s, when there were important decisions on the protection of press agency information.” [DNCJ, GL, 143]

“The 1842 Copyright Act protected copyright in ‘books,’ defined in a broad manner. However, section 18 contained special rules applying to the following genres: encyclopaedias, reviews, magazines, periodical works, or works published in a series of parts.” [Cooper, 662]

“The count hinted that he expected a trifle of £10,000 for his copyright, but Cole’s friend, Minton, did not quite see this, and proposed a royalty upon every copy sold.” [Vizetelly, 1.393]

Tekijänoikeus jaetaan moraalisiin ja taloudellisiin oikeuksiin.”