This presentation provides an analysis of printing privileges in the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic. It investigates the impact these privileges had on the dissemination of information, the development of the Dutch printing industry, and the types of publications that were produced. Whereas privileges are often seen of legal means that were primarily important for the local market, this paper will show that the ‘local’ cannot be seen in isolation from intra- and pan-European connections. It thus ties in with a broader discussion of the relationship between knowledge and power in the early modern period, and provides a good starting point for understanding the framework and objectives of the ERC-funded project Before Copyright, which Marius Buning is currently leading at the University of Oslo.
Marius Buning (Ph.D, European University Institute, 2013) is Associate Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Oslo, Norway. His research interests focus on the nature of intellectual property and the role of the state in shaping notions of scientific and technological progress. Since 2022, he is the PI of the ERC project “Before Copyright: Printing privileges and the politics of knowledge in early modern Europe”.