Page 12 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
upon to settle disputes between p rin ters regard ing this imposed
monopoly.
T h e re were also a num be r o f scholars who followed a more
liberal app roach in cases where the dissemination o f T o rah
learn ing was concerned. They felt tha t while the au tho r had
a righ t to enjoy the fruits o f his labors, the general good and
the cause o f T o rah scholarship would be be tter served if strin ­
gent limitations were not imposed on reprin ting . Thus , the J e ­
rusalem scholar Moshe Hagiz opposed the use o f approba tions
for o lder classical works. He did not feel tha t the re was any
encroachm en t on the au th o r ’s rights here and stressed tha t ap ­
plying limitations on the rep r in ting o f o lder works would be
detrim en ta l to the general good.
Prof. Rakover offers many fascinating examples o f how the
approba tions were used from the 16th century on to protect
the rights o f au tho rs and prin ters. T h e first approba tion was
for Eliahu Levita
(Sefer ha-Bahur,
1518). It stressed the au th o r ’s
work and expenses, including prin ting costs. T h e first legal dis­
cussion o f a p r in te r ’s righ t to bar o the r prin ters had to do with
the Rambam’s
Mishneh Torah.
T he Maharam o f Padua (Meir
Katzenellenbogen) had completed arrangem en ts with a p r in te r
for a new edition and was challenged by a competitor. Rabbi
Moses Isserles sided with the Maharam and ru led tha t Jews
should refra in from acquiring the competitor’s edition. T he
Hafetz Hayyim (1838-1933), who was known for his saintliness,
did no t object to the rep r in ting o f his works by others. However,
he laid down two conditions: 1) tha t no changes be made in
his writings, and 2) tha t ou t o f every h und red books tha t were
p rin ted , fou r should be dona ted to
batei midrash
(houses o f
study) where they could be consulted by all.
Prof. Rakover has done well to collect the Jewish sources on
copyright. One o f his motivations was to influence the Israeli
Ministry o f Law to ex tend and streng then the p resen t provisions
for copyright protection o f both au tho r and publisher. In the
case o f the lawsuit rega rd ing the Dead Sea Scrolls which was
b rough t by Prof. Q im ron , the Israeli cou rt has apparen tly found
preceden ts fo r upho ld ing his copyright.