A Legal History of Lithography
(2017) Griffith Law Review 1-27
25 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2018
Date Written: April 9, 2017
Charles Troedel (1835–1906) was a master printer and lithographer and founder of the firm Troedel & Co. He was also the forgotten face behind the production of much of Australia’s earliest existing and surviving advertising material including posters, labels and other visual ephemera. These works, many of which were registered for colonial copyright and trade mark protection, provide a graphic history of nineteenth-century Australia, speaking to the prevailing state of commerce, culture, social trends and colonial norms. Inexplicably, Troedel’s role in the production of this capsule history has been overlooked. The legal dimension to this history and the relationship between lithography and intellectual property law has also been overlooked – in terms of the stylistic evolution of commercial signifiers and the legal mechanisms which served to protect these graphical expressions. This article uses Troedel’s archive of lithographs as the proxy through which to examine how lithography facilitated and shaped the production of early copyright and trade marks in Australia and more specifically, how lithography, as the technological arrangement mediating early colonial Australian society, was responsible for transforming advertising in nineteenth-century Australia, and the legal categories under which such advertising was defined.
Keywords: trade marks, advertising, history, lithography, technology
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