Diderot's Letter on the book trade, Paris (1763)

Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France : Mss. Fr. (Naf) 24232 n°3

Citation:
Diderot's Letter on the book trade, Paris (1763), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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Record-ID: f_1763

Permanent link: http://www.copyrighthistory.org/record/f_1763

Full title:
A historical and political letter to a magistrate on the book trade, its former and current state, its regulations, privileges, tacit permissions, censors, pedlars, the expansion of trade across the river and other subjects relating to literary laws

Full title original language:
Lettre historique et politique adressée à un magistrat sur le commerce de la librairie, son état ancien et actuel, ses réglements, ses privilèges, les permissions tacites, les censeurs, les colporteurs, le passage des ponts et autres objets relatifs à la police

Abstract:
The 'Letter on the book trade', written for the Director of the French book trade administration, Antoine de Sartine, discussed the nature of author's rights as a property. This famous mémoire, probably written in 1763, was not published in its original form until the second half of the nineteenth century, although an altered version by the Parisian booksellers did finally reach its original addressee. Following some precisions on the history of this mémoire, the commentary shows that, fundamentally, Diderot followed the path initiated by Louis d' Héricourt in 1725: the legal qualification of the bond linking the author to his work must be understood from the perspective of a property right, although the philosopher's approach has been said to be more 'personalist', that is, invoking a property of a particular type, more personal to its author than any other goods to his owner. The patrimonial consequences of such a property, however, remained completely traditional for Diderot, and, most significantly, he saw this property as completely transferable. Of course, this approach also had consequences on royal privileges themselves, understood as a simple means to secure pre-existent rights. Finally, the Letter was also concerned with censorship matters.

1 Commentary:
commentary_f_1763

Bibliography:
N/A

Related documents in this database:
N/A

Author: Denis Diderot (1713-1784)

Publisher: N/A

Year: 1763

Location: Paris

Language: French

Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France : Mss. Fr. (Naf) 24232 n°3

Persons referred to:
Aguesseau, Henri-François d'
Alexander the Great
Astruc, Jean
Badius, Josse
Barthélemy, Jean Jacques
Basnage, Henri
Bayle, Pierre
Beaumont, Christophe de
Beuvelet, Mathieu
Boccaccio, Giovanni
Bossuet, Jacques Bénigne
Bouhier, Pierre
Boulanger, Nicolas-Antoine
Busée, Pierre
Capperonier, Claude
Catrou, François
Charles VIII
Clairaut, Alexis Claude
Colbert, Jean Baptiste
Corneille, Pierre
Crébillon, Prosper Jolyot de
Cujas, Jacques
Daniel, Gabriel
Deparcieux, Antoine
Desfontaines, Pierre François
Diderot, Denis
Du Cange, Charles Dufresne, Sieur
Dumoulin, Charles
Durand, Laurent
Estienne, Robert
Fournier, Pierre Simon
Gutenberg, Johannes
Henri II
Homer
Hénault, Charles-Jean-François
Héricourt, Louis d'
Juvenal, Decimus Junius Juvenalis
Kerver, Jacques
La Fontaine, Jean de
La Landelle de Saint-Rémy, l'Abbé de
Ladvocat, Jean-Baptiste
Le Gendre, Louis
Louis XIII
Louis XIV
Louis XV
Martène, Edmond
Merkus
Molière
Montesquieu, Charles de Secondat, Baron de la Brède et de
Montfaucon, Bernard de
Morand, Sauveur François
Moreri, Louis
Mézeray, François-Eudes de
Newton, Sir Isaac
Ormesson, Olivier Le Fèvre d'
Petronius Arbiter
Pierre, Jean de la
Pindar
Plato
Pliny 'the Elder'
Racine, Jean
Richelieu, Armand Jean Duplessis, Cardinal de
Riencourt, Simon de
Rousseau, Jean Baptiste
Rousseau, Jean Jacques
Saurin, Joseph
Séguier, Pierre
Velly, l'abbé Paul François
Virgil
Voltaire, François Marie Arouet de

Places referred to:
Aix
Amsterdam
Avignon
Bordeaux
Cambridge
Constantinople
Dijon
England
Geneva
Grenoble
Holland
Ireland
Limoges
Liège
London
Lyon
Montpellier
Noves
Orleans
Oxford
Paris
Peking
Rouen
Scotland
Sorbonne
Switzerland
Thebes
Toulouse
Tulette
Valence
Villeneuve

Cases referred to:
Affaire des Demoiselles de La Fontaine (1761)
Josse v. Malassis (1665)

Institutions referred to:
King's Council of State (France)
Parisian Guild of Booksellers and Printers
Parlement of Paris
University of Paris (Sorbonne)

Legislation:
Edict of Charles VIII (1488), limiting the number of University booksellers
French royal edict 1742
French royal edict 1754
Parisian Book Trade Regulations 1686
Royal Letters Patent of 1649
Ruling of King's Council (1761), awarding a privilege to the granddaughters of La Fontaine
Ruling of the King's Council (1749), in favour of M. de Crébillon
Ruling of the Parlement of Paris (1657), forbidding new editions unless the work had been significantly enlarged

Keywords:
Enlightenment, the
French Revolution
Reformation, the
abridgements
academic freedom
author/publisher relations
authors' remuneration
authors, self-publishing
book market
book trade
censorship
censorship, pre-publication
classics, Greek and Latin
contract
counterfeit
customs
duration
duration, prolongation of privileges
editions, new
foreign reprints
free trade
guilds
humanism
immoral works
importation
inheritability
learning, the advancement of
libraries
licensing
manuscript
monopoly
novelty
penalties
personality theory
piracy
price regulation
printing, history of
privileges
privileges, printing
property analogies
property theory
property theory, authors' property
property theory, publishers' property
public domain
public good
registration
reprints
reputation
royalty/royalties
scholarly writing
societies, publishers'
taxation
translations, protection of
typography
universities
utilitarianism

Responsible editor: Frédéric Rideau


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