Commentary on:
Galliot Du Pré's Privilege (1515)

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Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900)
www.copyrighthistory.org
Identifier: f_1515

 

Commentary on the privilege granted to Galliot Du Pré for the Grant Coustumier de France.
Frédéric Rideau
Faculty of Law, University of Poitiers, France

 

Please cite as:
Rideau, F. (2008) ‘Commentary on Galliot Du Pré's privilege (1515)', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org
 

 

1. Full title

2. Abstract

3. Galliot Du Pré and the book trade in France at the beginning of the sixteenth century

4. The first book trade privileges: the choice of "exclusivity"

5. The legal nature and duration of the book trade privileges

6. References

 

1. Full title
Privilege granted to Galliot Du Pré, printer, for Le Grant Coustumier de France

 

2. Abstract
The privilege granted by the Royal Chancery to Galliot Du Pré, a renowned Parisian bookseller, was one of the first of its kind in France. It was obtained in May 1514 from Louis XII, to be definitively confirmed by his successor Francis I in 1515. At a time when the book trade was growing rapidly, in particular from the beginning of the sixteenth century, exclusive rights (exclusivity, or "l'exclusif", as Diderot would put it) over a publication appeared to be, as in all Europe, the most obvious means to protect this new market and its protagonists, printers and booksellers, but also authors (see f_1507 for the latter). In a world where the freedom to print and publish was still the rule, before the development of censorship, the request for a precious royal monopoly had to be grounded on some simple rationales: particularly economic ones, that is, to protect the hazardous investments involved in this new trade, especially if these financial risks were being taken in order to publish useful and interesting books for the king's subjects. Consequently, privileges were not conceded as a recognition of a pre-existing right, and had, in particular, to be limited in duration.

 

3. Galliot Du Pré and the book trade in France at the beginning of the sixteenth century
Galliot Du Pré, born towards the end of the sixteenth century was most probably the son of Jean I Du Pré, a pioneering bookseller-printer known for his illustrations of liturgical books with woodcuts and copper plate engravings.[1] Galliot sold his works at a stall near the second pillar of the Palais de Justice in Paris, which enabled him to serve and attract customers from amongst the ranks of the judiciary. Subsequently, as well as selling books from home, he extended his business to cover the Notre-Dame Bridge.[2] The start of his bookselling enterprise can be traced back to 1512, and he remained active until 1561. Because of his privileged situation near the city's law courts, more than one third of the 315 editions that he offered for sale to the public were legal works (commentaries on Roman law, treatises by great jurists from the age of Humanism, such as Hugues Doneau and Alciatus). One of the most important of these works was the Grand Coutumier de France (by Jacques d'Ableiges), in its edition of 1515.[3] Like the majority of booksellers of his time, he also published the classic authors of Antiquity, from Livy to St. Augustine; works by Humanist writers (Erasmus, Du Bellay etc); as well as religious, historical and poetical works.[4] Thanks to his long career Galliot Du Pré was able to build up an important stock of literary works and to collaborate with many printers and booksellers: it would seem that no clouds ever troubled his finances, as we may appreciate from the 40,000 volumes that were inventoried between 15 and 30 April, 1561 by the booksellers Jean Macé and Gilles Corrozet.[5] In the preamble to his edition of the Stylus supremae Parlamenti curie (by Guillaume du Breuil), Galliot Du Pré looked back on his brilliant career and acknowledged his concern for the commonwealth in the exercise of his profession:

"Ever since my youth I have arranged my life in such a way that I might, thanks to the art of printing, both earn my daily bread and acquire an estimable reputation... I recognize that Our Lord has made my personal circumstances prosperous; for these fruits of my diligence I owe largely to the finest judges and lawyers of all ranks [who have bought my books]; likewise I have also frequently reprinted the major works of both ancient and modern jurists... It has always been my aim to be as useful as possible to the commonwealth and to dedicate all my efforts and resources to ensuring the success of that branch of study which leads to eloquence, as is attested by the countless authors whom my diligence and care has restored to their full splendour and who have been emerging from my printing-office over these last twenty years, just like the Greek warriors from the sides of the Trojan horse".[6]

The Parisian bookseller Du Pré was obviously not the only meticulous and competitive bookseller of that age. The proliferation of printing and publishing offices had been very much a reality ever since 1470.[7] Besides, Paris and Lyon established themselves very quickly as the most active centres of the book trade in France. Apart from the abovementioned Jean Du Pré, other booksellers who specialized in the sale of manuscripts very soon became aware of the importance of the new invention, and from 1485 onwards, following the example of Antoine Vérard, they embarked without hesitation into the new trade. Like Du Pré, Vérard engaged the services of several printers to publish deluxe volumes - one of his main business activities. It was in this format that he also published various tales of chivalry, such as Lancelot en prose (the Lancelot-Grail), Tristan de Léonnois, etc.[8]

 

Although most of the major Parisian booksellers - like Du Pré, Vérard, or Michel Le Noir - tended to specialize in books of a particular kind, the environment nevertheless became highly competitive already during the first years of the sixteenth century, especially as a result of the "hunt" for good copies of classics which were in high demand: carefully restored or revised editions of these could normally count on finding buyers even up to the last volume in the set.[9] The most reputable booksellers certainly considered that it was not legitimate to reprint an edition produced by one of their colleagues if it was not completely out of print. Others, however, quickly proved themselves to be less scrupulous and did not hesitate to exploit their predecessors' editorial efforts by undertaking cheap reprint editions. This was a commercial strategy likely to discourage booksellers from risking their capital in more complicated publishing ventures, as Antoine-Louis Séguier pointed out in 1777. For the avocat-général of the Parlement of Paris, who gave an account of the history of printing (and, in particular, of copyright) in the light of the 1777 book trade regulations, counterfeiting was a practice that caught on very early indeed:

"The earliest attempts at printing were made, first of all, with religious works, by the Church Fathers, and then works by the most esteemed authors of Ancient Greece and Rome. The presses were occupied solely with the printing of these precious manuscripts which were in the possession of a number of people [...] It was natural that the same work should be printed in various different places at the same time. However, the desire that people had of obtaining these new printed books meant that the damage caused by rivals [i.e. reprinters] was as yet limited, and right up to the end of the fifteenth century the number of printing presses was not high enough for this sort of competition to have a negative effect on the new trade. All the same, new presses kept appearing. The printers found themselves having to choose between an ever larger number of works. Counterfeiting was born, so to speak, together with the very art of printing. The competition arising from [pirate] editions, which increased the number of copies on the market, caused sales of the original edition to fall. The most famous printers found themselves on the verge of being overwhelmed, several of them were left bankrupt; and by the start of the sixteenth century no one dared any longer to undertake any enterprise that required the investment of a significant capital sum".[10]

A practice which was not yet illegal - the freedom of printing, or, rather, reprinting being generally accepted at the time - but sufficiently unfair, both in the case of classics and wholly new works, that the royal administration decided to intervene and impose certain rules on the book market, which by then was in full expansion. The measure chosen was that of exclusivity (exclusivité), supposed to check the effects of unregulated competition: to quote Renouard again, "natural justice was violated by this usurpation of another's labour " even if there was no "legal disposition" in place that laid down "as of right any privilege whatsoever to the benefit of authors or the first publishers".[11] Further development of this question seemed inevitable.

 

4. The first book trade privileges: the choice of "exclusivity"
The problems arising in the book trade and the remedies introduced to solve them appear to have been quite similar across Europe. Thus, in a letter of 27 January 1522, Erasmus complained to Willibald Pirckheimer about the counterfeiting and plundering of the scholarly works published by the great Basel printer Johann Froben, and stressed the urgent need of requesting an exclusive two years' privilege from the Emperor for all of Froben's future publications.[12] The first privileges which made it possible to realize the choice of exclusivity following the invention of printing, were thus evidently not a specifically French institution. Their origin is almost certainly to be found in the Republic of Venice, as early as the 1460s in fact: a system which probably had a important influence in all Europe, and in France.[13] In England, long before the supremacy of the Stationers' Company was enshrined by Queen Mary's Charter of May 1557 (uk_1557), J. Feather cites a privilege bestowed upon William Facques for the publication and printing of the royal declarations and statutes.[14]

 

In France, the need for obtaining book privileges appears to have been felt from 1498 onwards, although the royal favour granted was probably rather isolated as yet.[15] As in England and elsewhere on the continent, the great flexibility of privileges allowed the granting of exclusivity under several combinations or modes: the royal favour could indeed cover a specific work, or it might consist of a more general monopoly, granted to a particular individual for all his publications, or for a whole category of books.[16] In any case the historian André Chevillier confirmed that before 1500 their number was very limited. The earliest French specimens would thus date from the beginning of the sixteenth century: "that of Louis XII granted in the year 1507 to Antoine Vérard for printing the Epistles of Saint Paul", and that of "Rambolt for his [edition of] Saint Bruno['s works] on 12 January 1508",[17] which means that the favour granted to Galliot Du Pré the 6 May 1514, and finally confirmed in 1515 by Francis I, for his edition of the Grant Coustumier is one of the very first examples of protection of this kind.[18] Incidentally, we can observe that at that time the granting of exclusive rights could emanate not only from the King's Council or Chancery, but could also originate within institutions to which the latter delegated matters of justice - in particular, the supreme courts of justice, such as the Parlement of Paris - as well as from the jurisdiction of the Provost of Paris.

 

Regardless of the authority where they originated, the official reasons for which the first privileges were granted must certainly have been quite similar: following his application, Galliot Du Pré ("le suppliant") was endowed with this royal protection so that "he might be rewarded for his efforts, expenses, and the investments he had to make, in order to print this book" ("il puisse estre recompensé de ses peines/coultz/et mises/qu'il luy conviendra faire a imprimer icelluy livre"). In 1517, Galliot Du Pré was to obtain again, this time from the Provost of Paris, a privilege for "a newly composed book, consisting of the deeds and exploits of the good and brave knight Captain Bayart" ("un livre nouvellement fait et composé des faits et gestes du bon et preux chevalier sans reproche le capitaine Bayart"), so that he might be "remunerated for the costs and expenses that he will incur in the printing [of this book]" ("remboursé des frais et impenses qu'il lui conviendra faire à l'impression").[19] Similarly, the Parlement of Paris, in its decision of 18 September 1534, granted exclusive rights to the bookseller Jean Petit, so that he would also "receive remuneration for the expenses incurred in printing the given edition" ("se rembourser des frais qui luy a convenu faire en la dicte impression").[20] The bookseller's labour and efforts, like those of the author, were thus to be "recompensés", that is, rewarded by an economic monopoly for a limited period, but sufficient for the bookseller to recover at least his initial outlay. As Séguier pointed out in 1779, the privilege was conferred insofar as the commercial risk to which the publisher exposed himself was significant. The criteria for qualifying for royal protection were thus primarily economic ones, although we should also, incidentally, take into account that this discretionary conferral of the privilege could be encouraged by the nature of the book - if it was, for example, a beautifully produced, "memorable" book ("digne de mémoire"), whose copies would be printed and sold at reasonable prices ("à prix competent et raisonable").[21] In these early decades of the sixteenth century, the privilege, mainly an economic device, was not yet being used negatively by the royal power, or, in other words, with the parallel aim of enforcing censorship more efficiently (on this, see f_1547 and f_1618). The granting of a "permission" to print, which soon became necessary in all cases, and that of the privilege still implied two different logics, a political one for the first act, and a commercial and economic one for the latter.[22] Consequently, the author or bookseller would request permission to print a new work by means of a different procedure to that followed when applying for privileges.

 

At any rate, exclusive exploitation of the work became a fundamental aspect of the literary market from about 1510 onwards, which explains the careful precautions Galliot took when Louis XII died, before the publication of the work, and his efforts to have his privilege formally confirmed by the counterseals (contresceaux) of the new king, Francis I. Far from being a subjective right, the limited monopoly of the author (see f_1507), or his printer or bookseller, was thus secured by a very specific royal prerogative.

 

5. The legal nature and duration of the book trade privileges
The legal nature of privileges in the book trade remained, however, a complicated question throughout the Ancien Régime. In an environment where the absence of regulations on literary matters and copyright was the norm, exclusivity (or monopoly) for the publication of a work, when granted by the king, would take the legislative form of a patent letter, sealed with the Great Seal ("scellée du grand sceau").[23] However, this favour, stemming from the king's legislative power, was granted on the request of a particular individual, according to the simple fact that the request presented by the bookseller (or the author) was legitimate, as we have seen above. Certainly, from this standpoint, the privilege was not granted arbitrarily, which is an essential point to bear in mind. In addition, this act of protection, as a privata lex, was consequently not supposed to be approved and granted to the detriment of other subjects of His Majesty.[24] Nevertheless, it remained a discretionary act that the royal authority could, with absolute sovereign power, grant, limit, and remove without previous notice; it could be extended to the profit of the same bookseller, or rescinded in favour of another. In fact, Galliot had been anxious, it seems, to have his privilege confirmed by the new king, when Louis XII died a few months after its first grant.[25] This is exactly what the general inspector of the book trade Hémery reiterated as late as 1764: that the prince grants his favour only on those occasions ("seulement toutes les fois") when he "believes it justified" ("le croît justifié").[26] In other words, a specific, but justified, favour granted to a particular individual, and not to all the booksellers, printers or authors, for each one of their publications - which, therefore, does not imply the recognition of a more general right.[27] A potential ambiguity that we will encounter again in the 1777 decrees, where the book privilege is declared to be "a favour which is founded in justice", ultimately securing a pre-existing natural property right, but still a patent letter "scellée du grand sceau", i.e. a personal favour that, when granted, exempts one from "le droit commun" as Loyseau would say:[28] "What is a privilege after all? It is a prerogative or advantage granted by the Sovereign to a person who enjoys it with the exclusion of others and against common law".[29] An exceptional preferential treatment, as Antoine Furetière perceives it in his 'legal' definition of the privilege (Dictionnaire Universel, 1690): "a special private prerogative which a person benefits from with the exclusion of several others, and which he receives through the favour of his Sovereign".[30]

 

Thus, each time he believed it to be justified (le "croît justifié"), the king would bestow upon the bookseller, or the author, a favour which lasted only for the time of its justification: one of the fundamental aspects of the privilege, in connection with the economic reasons of its conferral, was therefore its limited duration, during which the bookseller was to be remunerated for the expenses and labour invested in the publication. As for Galliot Du Pré, he obtained for the grant coustumier a traditional protection term of three years. Still in accordance with its economic rationale, a privilege could not be granted if the work in question had been already printed in France, and an extension of its duration could only be generally accepted by the king when significant additions to the text could be identified in the projected new edition. What certain historians have called "the criterion of novelty",[31] but which, in fact, merely entailed that some form of additional work and investment could be established. In such a case, the work could accordingly be considered as "new" to a certain extent, that is to say never published before.[32] A principle that would be invoked and repeated several times during the sixteenth century by the Parlement of Paris, which was particularly concerned that the original criteria justifying the conferral of exclusive rights should be observed - as in 1578, for example, when its supreme judges indicated that the extension of the protection term was impossible "if the books whose privileges have expired have not been expanded" ("s'il n'y a augmentation aux Livres duquel les Privilèges sont expires").[33] In this respect it appears that ever since the period of the earliest privileges the Parisian supreme court tended to grant privileges for shorter terms than those requested by the applicants.[34]

 

Regardless of the future developments within the book trade, the first privileges displayed an unquestionable consistency with respect to their initial economic rationale, like the one granted to Galliot Du Pré. Throughout the sixteenth century, save for some individual exceptions, terms of protection varied therefore from three to ten years, the latter being rather exceptional. The King's Council itself was careful to extend the duration of exclusive rights only when the additions or modifications made to the original text were significant, or when the sale of the initial edition presented serious difficulties.[35]

 

Referring to the start of the sixteenth century, Elisabeth Armstrong notes the remarkable speed with which the privilege system developed. So much so that exclusivity became a "routine", in other words a natural expedient for an author, or, especially, a bookseller, who was eager to make an effective profit from the exploitation of the published work: "over the next twenty years [after 1509], privileges came to cover probably the majority of books being printed for the first time, whether newly composed or inherited from the past".[36] With the political use of privileges for the purposes of censorship, however, the terms of protection would become longer, particularly throughout the seventeenth century.

 

At the time of Galliot Du Pré, rather than acknowledging an author's right (droit d'auteur) or a copyright assigned to the bookseller by the author, the favours of the royal administration were essentially meant to reward, with all due fairness, the daring and skilled pioneers of the new art of printing.

 

6. References


Armstrong, E. Before Copyright: The French Book-Privilege System 1498-1526 (Cambridge: Cambridge U. P., 1990)

Chevillier, A. L'origine de l'Imprimerie de Paris (Paris: Jean de Laulne, 1694)

Coq, D. "Les incunables: textes anciens, textes nouveaux", in Histoire de l'édition française (Paris: Fayard, 1990)

Delalain, P. Galliot Du Pré, libraire parisien de 1512 à 1560, in Bibliographie de la France, Chronique du journal general de l'imprimerie et de la librairie (79e année, 2eme série, Nr. 49, 6 décembre 1890).

Dock, M.-C. Etude sur le droit d'auteur, (Paris: LGDJ, 1963)

Dureau, J-M. "Les premiers ateliers français", in Histoire de l'édition française (Paris: Fayard, 1990)

Edelman, B. Le sacre de l'auteur (Essai Seuil, 2004)

Feather, J. Publishing, Piracy and Politics: An Historical Study of Copyright in Britain (London: Mansell, 1994)

Laboulaye and Guiffrey, La propriété littéraire au XVIIIe siècle (Paris : Librairie de L. Hachette et Cie, 1859)

Manuscrits Français (Mss. Fr.) Collection Anisson-Duperron (Bibliothèque nationale de France)

Martin, H.-J. "Un éditeur juridique: Galliot Du Pré", in Histoire de l'édition française (Paris: Fayard, 1990)

Martin, H.-J. Livre, pouvoir et société à Paris au XVIIe siècle, vol. 1 (Geneva: Droz, 1999)

Olagnier, P. Le droit d'auteur, 2 vols (Paris: LGDJ, 1934)

Parent, A. Les métiers du livre à Paris au XVIe siècle (1535-1560), (Geneva: Droz, 1974)

Patterson, L. R. Copyright in Historical Perspective (Nashville: Vanderbilt U.P., 1968)

Pfister, L. L'auteur, propriétaire de son œuvre? La formation du droit d'auteur du XVIe siècle à la loi de 1957 (Strasbourg: PhD thesis, 1999)

Plant, M. The English Book Trade: An Economic History of the Making and Sale of Books (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1974)

Renouard, A.-C. Traité des droits d'auteurs dans la littérature, les sciences et les beaux-arts, 2 vols (Paris: Jules Renouard et Cie, 1838)

Rose, M. Authors and Owners: The Invention of Copyright (Harvard: Harvard U.P., 1993)

 


[1] Henri-Jean Martin, "Un éditeur juridique: Galliot Du Pré", in Histoire de l'édition française, (Paris: Fayard, 1990), 1: 301.

[2] He would later also acquire a stall by the first pillar, thus expanding his business at the Palais. On this, see Annie Parent, Les métiers du livre à Paris au XVIe siècle (1535-1560), (Geneva: Droz, 1974), 219.

[3] Ibid., 223 : Annie Parent indicates that Du Pré had almost 14,600 volumes of juridical books in stock - mainly works to be used in legal practice, such as Le Prothocolle, l'Art et Stille des Talellions, notaires, secrétaires... pour apprendre à rédiger tous contactz, instrumens, rapport...(published in 1528, re-published in 1550).

[4] Martin, 302.

[5] Parent, 221: 39,417 books were inventoried in his house of the Gallée d'Or and at the Palais, as well as 238 reams the printing of which was not yet complete or was defective in some way. Moreover, fourteen manuscripts were later discovered in "the granary and the lady's chamber": some of them with illuminations, others relating to editions of the Roman de la Rose or St. Augustine's The City of God.

[6] Quoted by Parent, 217. P. Delalain also mentioned a document from the University of Paris, which emphasized the greatness and probity of Galliot: "You won't regret having acted benevolently and obligingly towards Galliot du Pré, the Parisian bookseller, who, attending both to your interests and those of the public, has not been afraid to empty the last contents of his purse, in order to produce and provide to us in a good state copies of a book which hitherto we only had in ancient, dusty, and worm-eaten copies." ["Vous n'aurez pas à regretter de vous être montré bienveillant et obligeant à l'égard de Galliot du Pré, libraire parisien, qui, dans votre intérêt comme dans l'intérêt public, n'a pas craint de vider les derniers de sa bourse, pour produire et nous render en bon état les exemplaires d'un ouvrage que nous ne possédions que vieux, poudreux et déjà à demi rongés"]. The title of this book is not quoted, although it seems to have been published in 1525. We do learn, however, that Galliot had engaged the services of a very talented printer, Jean Cornilleau (Joannes Cornicularius): see P. Delalain, Galliot Du Pré, libraire parisien de 1512 à 1560, in Bibliographie de la France, Chronique du journal general de l'imprimerie et de la librairie (79e année, 2eme série, Nr. 49, 6 décembre 1890), 242. ["Dès mon jeune âge, j'ai réglé ma vie de manière à m'assurer, grâce à l'art typographique, les moyens d'existence en même temps qu'une louable réputation... Je reconnais que Notre Seigneur a rendu prospère ma fortune personnelle ; principalement ces fruits de mon industrie, je les dois en grande partie à l'élite des magistrats de tout ordre ; aussi me suis-je attaché à reproduire souvent par l'impression les œuvres magistrales de jurisconsultes tant anciens que modernes... Je me suis toujours proposé d'être utile, autant que je le pourrais à la chose publique et de consacrer tous mes soins et mes ressources à assurer l'éclat des études qui mènent à l'éloquence, ce dont témoignent les innombrables auteurs, que mes efforts et ma vigilance ont rétabli dans leur splendeur et qui, depuis ces vingt dernières années se sont échappés de mon officine comme les guerriers grecs des flancs du cheval de Troyes"].

[7] A.-C. Renouard, Traité des droits d'auteurs dans la littérature, les sciences et les beaux-arts, tome 1 (Paris: Jules Renouard et Cie, 1838), 27, speaks of more than fifty printers in Paris in 1510.

[8] On these points, see also Dominique Coq, "Les incunables: textes anciens, textes nouveaux", in Histoire de l'édition française, 202f. and 227, as well as Jeanne-Marie Dureau, "Les premiers ateliers français", ibid., 193.

[9] Especially as some booksellers might be specialized in similar types of book - for example, chivalry novels, which interested Michel le Noir but also Antoine Vérard.

[10] Extract from the report by A. L. Séguier of the proceedings in the Parlement regarding the 1777 book trade regulations, in Laboulaye et Guiffrey, La propriété littéraire au XVIIIe siècle (Paris : Librairie de L. Hachette et Cie, 1859), 463-596. ["Les premiers essais de l'imprimerie se firent d'abord sur les livres saints, sur les Pères de l'Eglise; enfin sur les auteurs les plus estimés de la Grèce et de Rome. Les presses étaient uniquement occupées de ces manuscrits précieux, qui se trouvaient entre les mains de différentes personnes [...] Il était naturel que le même ouvrage s'imprimât en même temps en différents lieux. Mais l'avidité de se procurer les nouveaux livres imprimés empêcha alors la concurrence de causer aucun préjudice, et jusqu'à la fin du XVe siècle, le nombre des presses n'étaient pas assez considérable pour que cette concurrence devint préjudiciable au nouveau commerce. Cependant, les imprimeries se multipliaient. Les imprimeurs se rencontraient dans le choix des ouvrages. La contrefaçon prit naissance, pour ainsi dire, avec l'art lui-même. La concurrence des éditions, en multipliant les exemplaires, en fit tomber le débit. Les plus fameux imprimeurs se virent sur le point d'être accablés; plusieurs furent ruinés; et l'on n'osait plus, au commencement du XVIe siècle, former une entreprise qui demandât des avances considérables."]

[11] Renouard, 106-07.

[12] Ibid. On Erasmus and Froben, see the commentary by Friedemann Kawohl for d_1531.

[13] Mark Rose, Authors and Owners: The Invention of Copyright (Harvard: Harvard U.P., 1993), 9, quotes a privilege granted in 1469 to Johannes of Speyer for five years. For a detailed presentation of this question, see the commentary by Joanna Kostylo for i_1469.

[14] J. Feather, Publishing, Piracy and Politics: An Historical Study of Copyright in Britain (London: Mansell, 1994), 11. See also Lyman Ray Patterson, Copyright in Historical Perspective (Nashville: Vanderbilt U.P., 1968), 86, who refers to a privilege accorded in 1518 for a book "on the Latin sermon preached by Richard Pace at St Paul's Cathedral on the peace between England and France". For details on Mary I and the Stationers' Company, see the commentary by Ronan Deazley for uk_1557.

[15] Elisabeth Armstrong, Before Copyright: The French Book-Privilege System 1498-1526 (Cambridge: Cambridge U. P., 1990), 21. This is an essential book on the period in question, with an exhaustive study of the earliest French privileges.

[16] See Renouard, 109-10 on this question. The privilege might constitute a protection against counterfeiting for the whole kingdom, as seems to have been the case for Galliot, or just for a single town. On the categories of the earliest printed books, see again Armstrong, 165f. (Chapter 8: "The range of interest reflected in privileged books: analysis by subject"). As she points out, very few, if any, of the original privileges have survived from the King's Council Register: as for the privilege granted to Galliot Du Pré, this was printed - sometimes in full - in the books which benefited from the royal grant (ibid., 22). General privileges for several books or class of books could be granted to particular individuals, authors, booksellers, printers, or corporations. These privileges could concern, for example, prayer books, school books, Greek classics, etc., thus constituting important monopolies. In terms of music publishing we can cite the general privilege granted by Henri II on 16 February 1552 to Adrien Le Roy and Robert Ballard (f_1552). See also Armstrong, 21-22, and, in particular, the privilege granted to Guillaume Eustace for two years. These broad privileges were sometimes heavily criticized by other booksellers, especially those from the provinces (in England, we can cite the English Stock as an example of this).

[17] Some grants from the Parlement of Paris may have been granted even earlier still. See André Chevillier, L'origine de l'Imprimerie de Paris (Paris: Jean de Laulne, 1694), 395.

[18] He also received a privilege of three years the same day for Bouchard (Alain) Les grandes cronicques de Bretaigne (see Armstrong, 215).

[19] Mss. Fr. 22071, nr 2.

[20] Mss. Fr. 22071, nr 4, reprinted by Marie-Claude Dock, Etude sur le droit d'auteur, (Paris: LGDJ, 1963), 174.

[21] Mss. Fr. 22071, nr 4. These recurring essential economic reasons, which are sufficient to explain the appearance of book privileges, would later be stressed by (in addition to the majority of contemporary copyright historians): Chevillier, the abbé Blondel (f_1725a), Séguier, as well as the provincial booksellers' lawyers. See also Renouard, 106; Pierre Olagnier, Le droit d'auteur, 2 vols (Paris: LGDJ, 1934), 1: 77. "Conçus, à l'origine, comme une simple protection d'un investissement particulier...", as indicated by Bernard Edelman in Le sacre de l'auteur (Essai Seuil, 2004), 156. With regard to the English situation, see the commentary for uk_1557; Feather, 10f.; Rose, 9; or M. Plant, The English Book Trade: An Economic History of the Making and Sale of Books (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1974), 99. For Louis XII's enthusiasm for the new invention of printing and his determination to protect it, see, for example, the extract from one of his declarations (on 9 April 1513) quoted by Renouard, 28. For a detailed study of the basis on which the first privileges were granted, we can usefully refer to Armstrong, 78f.: she observes that public interest became an increasingly common element in the justification of privileges from 1513 onwards (op.cit., 87).

[22] See for example M.-C. Dock, 64f. As Armstrong, 207, points out, "privileges however did not form part of any system of licensing or censorship at this period : the choice lay with authors and publishers of new works whether to apply for them or not."

[23] Which could, by virtue of its form, make it a comparable act to royal legislative acts (lois du Roi), as observed by L. Pfister, L'auteur, propriétaire de son œuvre? La formation du droit d'auteur du XVIe siècle à la loi de 1957 (Strasbourg: PhD thesis, 1999), 56. (For a detailed survey of privileges, Pfister's monograph is highly recommended.) The privilege could take various forms, depending on the authority which provided it - that is to say, a Parlement decision or arrêt, or, in the case of the jurisdiction of the Provost of Paris, an ordonnance. Those who requested privileges had to pay for certain compulsory formalities, such as "seal fees" (frais de sceau), registration, along with the deposit of copies of the book. For a practical description of the procedure involved in requesting a privilege, see the Manuel de l'auteur et du libraire (Paris: Veuve Duchesne, 1777).

[24] Cf. Pfister, 315. This essential principle was indeed recalled during the eighteenth century judicial clash between the Parisian and the provincial booksellers (Crébillon's case, for example. See f_1749).

[25] See f_1515, bottom of the page.

[26] Mss. Fr. 22073, nr 85. Protection attributed to the most competent booksellers, such as Froben in Basel, bearing in mind that being close to the Imperial court could help in securing this favour. Thus, some booksellers were able to ensure the success of their applications by mentioning a promise from the author that he would dedicate his work to a nobleman at the court (see e.g. Armstrong, 87).

[27] Despite the successive attempts during the seventeenth century to define more carefully the criteria by which the privileges were to be granted or otherwise. See for example the Josse v. Malassis decision of 1665 (f_1665).

[28] For more details on this controversial question, see our commentary on the decrees of August 1777 (f_1777a).

[29] According to the definition given in 1774 by the provincial booksellers in their request, from the booksellers and printers of Lyon, adressed to the king and his council ("Roi et à Nosseigneurs de son Conseil" (Mss. Fr. 22073, nr 141 - see also Gaultier's memorandum f_1776). ["Qu'est-ce en effet qu'un privilège? C'est une prérogative ou un avantage accordé par le Souverain à une personne, qui en jouit à l'exclusion des autres, et contre le droit commun"]

[30] A. Furetière, Dictionnaire universel: contenant generalement tous les mots françois, tant vieux que modernes, & les termes de toutes les sciences et des arts... receuilli & compilé par feu Messire Antoire Furetière, vol. 3 (Le Hague: A. & R. Leers, 1690). ["Passedroit, avantage particulier dont jouït une personne à l'exclusion de plusieurs autres, qui luy vient par le bienfait de son Souverain..."] Although the book privilege does not bear a specific nature, Furetière wished absolutely - symptomatically - to give it a more polemic definition, at the time of the Parisian monopolies: "Privilege also means monopoly - a right which one obtains to do or sell something with the exclusion of everyone else. The privileges are founded on good reasons when they are originally granted, but subsequently they tend to be misused. The King's privileges for the printing of books are granted so that an author may gain some remuneration for his work, but in reality it is only the bookseller who profits from it..." ["Privilege, signifie aussi, Monopole, droit qu'on obtient de faire, ou de vendre quelque chose à l'exclusion de tous les autres. Les privileges sont fondez en bonne raison dans leur concession, mais dans la suite on en abuse. Les privileges du Roy pour l'impression des livres sont accordez, afin que l'Auteur en tire quelque recompense pour son travail, mais par l'evenement il n'est qu'à l'avantage du Libraire..."].

[31] Armstrong, 92f. for this "criterion of novelty".

[32] For a more modern and technical use of this criterion in the context of patents, see the Declaration of the King, concerning trade privileges (2 December 1762 - f_1762) and the commentary for it.

[33] Mss. Fr. 22071, nr 21, fol. 44 ( 28 April 1578. Arrest de la Cour du Parlement par lequel il est deffendu à tout Imprimeurs Libraires et Relieurs d'obtenir aucune Prolongation des Privilèges pour l'impression des Livres, s'il n'y a augmentation aux Livres duquel les Privilèges sont expirés).

[34] Armstrong, 71. Perhaps anticipating the future dissensions between the King's Council and the Parlement of Paris? On this, see in particular f_1665 (Josse v. Malassis).

[35] H.-J. Martin, Livre, pouvoir et société à Paris au XVIIe siècle, vol. 1 (Geneva: Droz, 1999), 450.

[36] Armstrong, 206.


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