Commentary on:
Report of François Hell to the National Assembly (1791)

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Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900)

Identifier: f_1791a


Commentary on François Hell's report

Frédéric Rideau

Faculty of Law, University of Poitiers, France


Please cite as:

Rideau, F. (2010) ‘Commentary on François Hell's report (1791)', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,


1. Full title

2. Abstract

3. References


1. Full title

Report to the National Assembly, by Mr. Hell, Deputy of the Bas-Rhin, on the property of scientific and literary productions


2. Abstract

François Hell's bill, submitted to the Constitutional Committee in September 1791, can be seen as a counter-weight to that of Sieyès (f_1790). Indeed, it enshrined literary property in such terms with which neither Linguet, nor Pluquet, nor obviously the Parisian booksellers, would have been able to find any fault. Especially since the former was to be guaranteed by perpetual protection, to the benefit of the author, as well as his assignees. In short, the bill's purpose was to confirm the recognition of literary property that had been achieved with the 1777 decrees (f_1777a), but without the restrictions imposed back then on the transfer of such property. Moreover, in contrast to Sieyès's draft, Hell treated the question of press control and that of regulating the author's right as quite distinct issues. The new tentative law was also intended not to be provisional but permanent. However, this radical proposal was ultimately rejected by the National Assembly.


3. References

full commentary in preparation



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