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Court of Cassation on artistic property (1842)

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Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900)
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Identifier: f_1842

 

Commentary on the Court of Cassation's decision of 27 May 1842 regarding the protection of paintings
Frédéric Rideau

Faculty of Law, University of Poitiers, France

 

Please cite as:
Rideau, F. (2008) ‘Commentary on the Court of Cassation on paintings (1842)', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

1. Full Title

2. Abstract

3. Paintings and derivative works under the revolutionary legislation

4. The transfer of the painting

5. References

 

1. Full Title
Heirs of Baron Gros and Vallot v. Gavard, Court of Cassation. 27 May 1842.

 

2. Abstract
Following the law of 19 July 1793 and the difficulties in interpreting its first article, which specified that painters and designers were to enjoy the right to reproduce their works (whereby engraving was the only means of reproduction explicitly mentioned), the question as to what consequences the transfer of the original physical medium of the work of art (say, a painting) implied, would be settled once and for all for the remainder of the nineteenth century by the Court of Cassation in 1842. The supreme judges considered the property of the physical medium to be essential, and, unless there was a contractual stipulation to the contrary, all the rights attached to the former were presumed to be transferred simultaneously with it. However, before reaching this decision, questions were inevitably raised about how one should imagine the dematerialization of the object of the property secured by the revolutionary legislation.

 

3. Paintings and derivative works under the revolutionary legislation
In contrast to sculptures, the Literary and Artistic Property Act of 1793 explicitly mentioned paintings, specifying that "painters and draughtsmen who shall cause paintings and drawings to be engraved" would enjoy an exclusive right on these works (see f_1793).

 

In his 1898 treatise on intellectual property, Claude Couhin deduced from this article that the revolutionary legislation had thereby "clearly shown that it was seeking to legally enshrine the property, not of the paintings or the drawings themselves, but of the engravings of those paintings or drawings."[1] As this jurist saw it, there was indeed, on the one hand, a property, a ‘value', vested in the physical medium or material object of the artwork (that is, in concrete terms the ordinary property of the painting itself) and, on the other hand, the right to have reproductions of it made, this ‘value' being itself a property, which was guaranteed not by the general dispositions of the Code Civil, but by the "special" law of 1793.[2] Eugène Pouillet, another legal scholar from the second half of the nineteenth century, tried to convey the spirit of the revolutionary legislation by drawing attention to the property in the work of art itself, as opposed to the specific right of its reproduction by engraving: "We are of the view that it is necessary to distinguish between the material property and the artistic property, [i.e.] the right to reproduce the idea, the composition represented by this canvas or that marble."[3] Pouillet's arguments, which went beyond the letter of Article 1 of the 1793 Act, suggest that instead of just the simple exclusive right on certain types of reproduction, it was indeed the work as a whole which could not be reduced to its physical medium.[4] Obviously, since important interests were at stake for the author, jurists did not limit their investigations to the mere question of reproduction of a painting by the sole means of engraving. Pouillet, along with other leading commentators, was a strong proponent of the principle that as soon as the reproduction "takes place without the authorization of the proprietor, it constitutes a violation of his property. If it is a painting that is affected, it does not matter whether it is reproduced by painting, drawing, engraving, photography, or even by sculpture (if, say, it is translated into bas-relief)."[5] Indeed, to a certain extent all these methods are simply means of "translating" the work, and, consequently, are very much reproductions of the latter: "what belongs to the author is the whole of his conception, that is, the special form which he has given to an action or an idea..."[6] A special conception and original form which, since they always remained personal to the original author, were essentially preserved throughout all the different types of reproduction. Renouard, another major legal theorist of the nineteenth century, considered, on the other hand - and in this he was being quite coherent with his opinion about translations of literary works (see f_1845a) - that in the case, say, of an alleged counterfeit of a painting by means of a sculpture, these "arts are essentially too different, be it in terms of their material results, of their artistic effects, of the necessity of their composition, or in terms of the skill which they require, for them to be able to harm one another commercially or intellectually."[7]

 

Because we are dealing here with artistic ‘translations', it is worth emphasizing that the original author's interests supposed to be linked to the reproduction of his work were not just of a financial nature. As Couhin put it, "there is also his [the artist's] fame to take into account, or, at any rate, his reputation. Nothing more delicate, indeed, and more complex, and often more difficult than the reproduction of a work of the intellect. So that the author who fails to anticipate beforehand all the conditions of a reproduction of this kind, who fails to secure for himself the means of supervising it and having control over every slightest detail, is likely to see his work disfigured and degraded by inaccurate, misplaced, or coarse copies."[8] Precisely this ‘extra-patrimonial' argument was used in the first appeal against the verdict of Gros et Vallot v. Gavard,[9] and had in fact already been taken in account - although the framework at that time was obviously a corporatist one - in the royal declaration of 14 March, 1777 (cf. f_1777). Indeed, Article 8 of the latter prohibited engravings without the consent of the painter, "the reputation and fame earned through excellent works being the main goal which the artists of our Royal Academy should aspire to".[10]

 

Faced with these complicated questions regarding the distinction between idea and form, and with the development of new means of reproduction of original works of art (photography, in particular), judges seem to have been quite hesitant, even reluctant, to apply with too much flexibility Article 1 of the 1793 Act. Pouillet, for example, cites the verdict of the Court of Paris on 3 December, 1831, which ruled that the property right on a painting did not expand to "preventing the imitation or reproduction of the original work by the techniques of another, essentially distinct art, such as sculpture" (in this case produced in bronze).[11] The decision here was motivated by arguments close to those of Renouard, as discussed above. However, from the 1840s onwards there emerged a broader definition of the work of art, and as an example of judicial decisions taken in this sense, the prohibition on reproducing, "be it in porcelain or in bronze", a painting without the author's consent, was upheld by the Court of Paris on 16 February, 1843. Similarly, on 6 February, 1862, the Tribunal of the Seine ruled that the reproduction of "paintings or engravings by microscopic photography, against the right of artists" constituted a case of counterfeiting.[12]

 

These theoretical and judicial debates clearly illustrate, as we can also see in the case of literary translations (cf. f_1845), the difficulties involved in delimiting the object of literary and artistic property when the latter was affected by infringements resulting from a reproduction which went beyond the immediate concrete form of the original work. [13] Although the judges seem to have been inclined to interpret more generally the reproduction of a painting by means of engraving as a potential case of counterfeit by a different artistic form of expression, which clearly harmed the interests of the original author, there was still plenty of room left for judicial contradictions. The difficulties involved in identifying the subject matter secured by the 1793 Act also manifested themselves very clearly in Gros et Vallot v. Gavard, a case which was concerned, in particular, with the question of the transfer of the main original medium of the work of art and the consequences of this. Again, it gave rise to significant disagreements amongst the judges themselves until, finally, the Court of Cassation pronounced its ruling on 27 May, 1842.

 

4. The transfer of the painting
In principle, if one distinguishes, following Couhin, the physical property represented by the painting as an object from the incorporeal property consisting in the right of reproduction (or, even simpler still, the medium of the work from the work itself), then the "transfer of the property of the original could not entail - at least in theory - the transfer of the property of the right of reproduction of the work in question", something that was especially the case "in the transfer of the property of a painting".[14] However, it was in fact the opposite view that was solemnly upheld by the verdict of the Court of Cassation, in a united session of all its chambers, on 27 May, 1842, following the conclusions presented by the avocat-général Dupin. It is clear that the judiciary was determined to uphold this view, since the latter verdict was in fact the second intervention of the supreme court in this case. The procedure was effectively as follows: there would be a first appeal in cassation against the decision by the judges of first and second instance (the tribunal and, in particular, the court of appeal); then, for the case to be discussed on the sole grounds of the correct application of the law, in cases where the lower court's verdict had been quashed by the supreme court (overruling and abrogating the court of appeal's decision), the litigation would be sent back to another court of appeal for a new ruling in another local jurisdiction. Judges from the latter, in the majority of cases, would of course choose to follow the legal direction specified by the magistrates of the higher court. If not, however, the case would be referred for the very last time to the Court of Cassation, in its most solemn formation, where a definitive judgment would be pronounced.

 

In Heirs of Gros et Vallot v. Gavard, it was decided primarily by the Court of Cassation -[15] overruling the verdict of the Tribunal of the Seine of 23 January, 1841, and that of the Court of Appeal of Paris of 22 April, 1841 - that even without explicit contractual stipulation or reservation, the sale of a painting by its author (in this case the Bataille des Pyramides, by Baron Gros) did not entail the transfer of the right to reproduce it by "a distinct art, that of engraving."[16] In fact, although Article 1 of the 1793 Act mentioned just engravings, the judges of the supreme court seem to have had in mind all the rights linked to the work. In the above discussion we have indeed seen how other means of reproduction were being progressively sanctioned at the same time in other judicial decisions. After this decision to abrogate the Court of Paris's ruling, the supreme judges, in accordance with the normal procedure after a ‘cassation', resubmitted the case, this time to the Court of Orleans. Quite unexpectedly, though, and contrary to the Court of Cassation's decision, the new judges pronounced themselves in the sense of a direct and absolute transfer of all the rights attached to the original painting.

 

One might have expected that after this opposition from a lower court the supreme magistrates would have anyway confirmed once and for all their own ruling of 1841. As it turned out, however, the Court of Cassation shifted surprisingly in May 1842 towards the position of the first courts and adopted the solution of a transfer of "the full and absolute property of the sold object with all the accessories, with all the rights which are attached to it or depend on it" in the absence of an explicit reservation by the author or the artist, in accordance with the general regulations on property.[17] According to the avocat-général Dupin, who called for such a decision, the painter was sufficiently protected by Article 1 of the 1793 Act. Moreover, so Dupin argued, any other solution would in fact have run counter to the artist's own interests, since his glory could only increase as a result of the imitation by every means of his work - reproductions which would ultimately benefit the public interest.[18] The work was thus reduced principally, in the artistic field, to its original and first embodiment or medium, consequently giving its owner, by virtue of the mere fact of possession, the right to freely use and dispose of it.

 

This judicial reversal between two judgements of the supreme court, separated by just one year, was in fact remarkable in the way that it brought to light two quite different conceptions of the nature of the artistic work, and of the legal regime of its protection by the 1793 Act. But actually, the solution finally established by the supreme court judges had already been upheld in March 1841, in the literary and artistic property bill (f_1841). Indeed, it did not seem "necessary nor fitting to have the law itself attach to the transfer of a work of art a previous and permanent restriction to the benefit of the vendor, even where the latter happened to be a great artist. It is sufficient that he should be able to [contractually] stipulate such a restriction himself, and that the wording of the law warns him in this respect about the precaution which he should take."[19]

 

Although the 1841 bill was not adopted, in the following decades after this judgement of 1842 the courts followed much the same line regarding the transfer of paintings, or even of drawings. But far from being convinced by the expressed reasons of such a reversal, a significant number of jurists towards the end of the nineteenth century still called its validity into question. Couhin, for example, referring to the legal regime thus established, asserted that "the judgement of the supreme Court does not bear close examination. The ‘special and exceptional law' on whose purported absence it is based, existed before the Code civil, and the Code civil has not abrogated it: it is the law of 19 July, 1793. The object of this, let us repeat, is to secure solely the property of the ‘right of reproduction', and not the property of the material items of these works. And although one is the accessory of the other, they are distinct and independent of one another. In summary, the judgment in question seems in our view to have failed to appreciate, in a manifest way, the spirit and the text of the law."[20] Pouillet, who, as we saw above, adopted a global conception of the property secured by the law of 1793, nevertheless came to the same conclusion: he who "buys an art object buys a material object, the right to possess the composition which has pleased him, whose execution has charmed him ; this is, in short, a certain and specific item ; nothing more." [21] Above and beyond this, because of the parallel judicial evolution towards a broader conception of artistic counterfeiting since the 1840s, such a decision implied that in the final analysis not only the right to reproduce the work by the process of engraving, in the sense of the literal wording of Article 1 of the 1793 Act, was fully transferred, unless there was an explicit stipulation to the contrary in the contract, but in fact potentially by every process or technique which had subsequently been developed, such as photography for example.

 

In reality, although in the artistic field the artist's labour was undoubtedly meant to be rewarded just as much by the sale of the physical medium of his work, as by the exercise of the right of reproduction, the economic interests associated with the increasingly diverse means of reproduction of works of art by technical methods induced some commentators to refuse to see this right of reproduction as a mere accessory of the original medium of the work. One of these commentators was Albert Vaunois, a renowned artistic property specialist, who described the potential for profit deriving from these potential reproductions as follows:

"From the point of view of the law, artistic property, different from that of the art work, recognized and regulated by special texts, cannot be regarded as an accessory; from the point of view of the facts, the distinction becomes glaringly obvious and, while appreciating the respective values of the two rights in accordance with the rules of the Code civil on acquisition, one would in effect be using against our opponents their own arguments. Indeed, the price of a painting or a statue, however large it may be, generally disappears in comparison with the considerable profit that can be made from reproductions of the work. In the last century, Watteau died poor in spite of the successful sale of his works, while the engravers of these grew rich. Greuze, on the contrary, who paid for the engravings of his paintings himself, earned more by having his painting reproduced than by selling it. More recently, Léopold Robert sold his painting The Harvesters for 8000 francs, and The Return of the Madonna of the Arch for 4000, whereas engravings of the same works were sold with an extraordinary success: he sold in a few months prints of the first of these compositions for more than one million." [22]

As for extra-patrimonial considerations, Pouillet again showed himself to be concerned about the impact which new methods of reproduction, such as photography, might have on a painter's reputation - for in his view these new techniques were likely to dishonour "his brush throughout the whole world." [23]

 

As mentioned above, in spite of the real awareness of the problem during the discussions about the 1841 bill, the alienation of the material medium of a work of the fine arts, was to continue to carry with it, unless stipulations to the contrary had been made in the contract, the transfer of the right to copy and to reproduce it - thus, ultimately the transfer of the work itself. After several legislative hesitations during the second half of the nineteenth century,[24] the principle of the distinction of the property right in the work, i.e. in "its own conception", to use the wording of the Tribunal of the Seine in 1834 (see note 15), and its material embodiment, was not to be conclusively affirmed until a law of 9 April, 1910, which stated that "the transfer of a work of art does not entail, unless otherwise convened, that of the right to reproduce it." [25] Article L 111-3 of the Intellectual Property Code reaffirms today that the "intangible property defined by article L 111-1 is independent of the property of the material object."[26]

 

5. References

Couhin, C., La propriété industrielle, artistique et littéraire, vol. 2 (Paris: Librairie de la société du recueil général des lois et arrêts, 1898)

Pouillet, E., Traité théorique et pratique de la propriété littéraire et artistique et du droit de représentation, 2nd ed. (Paris: Imprimerie et librairie générale de jurisprudence, 1894)

Vaunois, A., De la Propriété artistique en droit français, (Paris: Imprimerie Moquet, 1884)



[1] C. Couhin, La propriété industrielle, artistique et littéraire, vol. 2 (Paris: Librairie de la société du recueil général des lois et arrêts, 1898), 409. ["clairement montré qu'elle avait pour objet de consacrer la propriété, non par des tableaux ou des dessins eux-mêmes, mais des gravures desdits tableaux ou dessins"]

[2] Couhin, 410.

[3] E. Pouillet, Traité théorique et pratique de la propriété littéraire et artistique et du droit de représentation, 2nd ed. (Paris: Imprimerie et librairie générale de jurisprudence, 1894), 362-63. ["Selon nous, il faut distinguer la propriété matérielle et la propriété artistique, le droit de reproduire l'idée, la composition représentée par cette toile ou ce marbre."]

[4] This distinction, by the way, had been observed already in the eighteenth century, as far as literary works were concerned. In the case of France, the lawyer Louis d'Héricourt, in his memorandum of 1725 (f_1725), seems to have more or less implicitly acknowledged this fundamental distinction, even though the property in the original manuscript, as well as the transfer of the latter to a publisher, effectively remained (as was apparently also the case in England) symbolical of the transfer of the work itself, that is, of the exclusive right to reproduce it by printing. The bookseller who had acquired it properly and legitimately through a publishing contract was therefore entitled to request the royal favour, so that he would be protected in the exercise of this exclusivity.

[5] Pouillet, 551. ["a lieu sans autorisation du propriétaire, elle constitue une violation de la propriété ; s'agit-il d'un tableau, il importe peu qu'on le reproduise par la peinture, le dessin, la gravure, la photographie, voire même par la sculpture, et que par exemple on le traduise en bas-relief."]

[6] Pouillet, 553. ["ce qui appartient à l'auteur, c'est l'ensemble même de sa conception, c'est cette forme spéciale qu'il a donnée à une action ou une idée..."] Regarding the analogy with translations, see also the quote from Pataille (517-18): "Which difference is there between the writer who translates and the artist who would make a lithography of an engraving or an engraving of a lithography ? None! What happens afterwards has no more or less to do with damage! That is a question of fact and case, not of principle. Moreover, when the need for asking the consent of the author would only have the purpose of providing him with a better translation, isn't this a sufficient interest? Obviously yes. Hence this is the opinion which prevailed" ["Quelle différence y a-t-il entre le littérateur qui traduit et l'artiste qui lithographierait une gravure ou qui graverait une lithographie ? Aucune ! Qu'importe après cela le plus ou moins d'étendue du préjudice ! C'est là une question de fait et d'espèce, non de principe. D'ailleurs, quand la nécessité de demander l'autorisation de l'auteur ne devrait avoir pour résultat que de lui assurer une meilleure traduction, n'est-ce pas là un intérêt suffisant ? Evidemment oui. Aussi est-ce là l'opinion qui a prévalu".]

[7] Renouard, A.-C., Traité des droits d'auteur, vol. 2 (Paris: Jules Renouard & Co., 1839), 88-89 (also reported by Pouillet, 552). ["Ces arts diffèrent trop essentiellement, soit dans leurs résultats matériels, soit dans leurs effets artistiques, soit dans la nécessité de leur composition, soit dans le talent d'exécution qu'ils exigent, pour qu'ils puissent se nuirent l'un à l'autre ni commercialement ni intellectuellement"]

[8] Couhin, 414. ["Car ce ne sont pas seulement les intérêts pécuniaires de l'auteur qui sont en jeu quand il s'agit du droit de reproduction de son ouvrage de sa gloire, ou, du moins et dans tous les cas, de sa réputation. Rien de plus délicat, en effet, et de plus complexe, souvent de plus difficile que la reproduction d'un ouvrage de la pensée. Si bien que l'auteur qui n'aurait pas arrêté toutes les conditions d'une semblable reproduction, qui ne se serait pas ménagé les moyens de la surveiller et d'en régler les moins détails, risquerait de voir son œuvre défigurée et avilie par des copies infidèles, mal venues ou grossières".]

[9] Dalloz 1841.1.322 (f_1841a): "If it is useful that the main parts of the painting should be multiplied, put within reach of all by means of engraving, then it is even more useful that the engraving should prove worthy of the painting; and who better than the painter can choose his engraver?" ["S'il est utile que les chefs-d'œuvre de la peinture soient multipliés, mis à la portée de tous par la gravure, il est plus utile encore que la gravure soit digne du tableau ; et qui mieux que le peintre peut choisir son graveur ?"]. The argument was also discussed and criticized in the epilogue of the case (see Dalloz 1842.1.304, f_1842).

[10] ["la réputation et la gloire méritée par d'excellents ouvrages étant le but principal qui doivent se proposer les artistes de notre académie royale"]

[11] See Pouillet, 555-56 ["d'empêcher l'imitation ou la reproduction de la composition par les procédés d'un autre art, essentiellement distinct, tel que la sculpture"]

[12] See Pouillet, ibid., with a detailed presentation of this complex jurisprudence, and an expressed fear of possible arbitrariness in the application of the revolutionary legislation each time that a new means of reproduction was discovered and developed, such as photography. For these decisions, quoted by Pouillet, see respectively Dalloz, Rép. Prop. Litt. n°407, Dalloz, Rép. Prop. Litt. n°409 ; Pataille 1862.435. ["des tableaux ou des gravures par la photographie microscopique, au mépris du droit des artistes"]

[13] Regarding this question of the copyright subject matter, we had already mentioned (see f_1845a on translations) the considerations of B. Sherman and L. Bently in The Making of Modern Intellectual Property Law (Cambridge: Cambridge U. P.,1999), 55.

[14] Couhin, 410-11. ["cession de la propriété de l'original ne saurait entraîner, en principe tout au moins, la cession de la propriété du droit de reproduction de cet ouvrage" et qu'il en est ainsi "plus particulièrement, de la cession de la propriété d'un tableau"]

[15] See Dalloz 1841.1.322 (f_1841a) for a precise presentation of the facts by the councillor Romiguière.

[16] Pouillet recalls that the first judges had not always been in contradiction with this first ruling of the Court of Cassation. For example, on 13 December, 1834, the Tribunal of the Seine, after a similar decision of 17 January 1832, regarding matters of painting, actually affirmed that "the sculptor, who sells a statute designed and executed by himself, does not waive anything except the property of his work, materially envisaged, and keeps the property of that which, in this work, is the fruit of his conception and his genius and forms a particular property right which is guaranteed to him by the law; in order for the latter to be transferred by the sale of this statute, it is necessary that this transfer should have been formally expressed" ["que le sculpteur, qui vend une statue conçue et exécutée par lui, ne se dépouille que de la propriété de son ouvrage, envisagée matériellement, et reste propriétaire de ce qui, dans cet ouvrage, est le fruit de sa conception et de son génie et forme un droit particulier de propriété qui lui est garanti par la loi ; pour que la cession de ce dernier fût comprise dans la vente de cette statue, il faudrait que cette cession fût formellement exprimée"], 368-69.

[17] Dalloz 1842.1.304 (f_1842). ["la pleine et absolue propriété de la chose vendue avec tous les accessoires, avec tous les droits qui s'y rattachent ou en dépendent"]

[18] Dalloz 1842.1.301-304, based on the report by Mesnard. Dupin, who also compared literary and artistic property (304), showing here a certain reluctance to escape from the traditional idea/form distinction, rejected the protection of the non-pecuniary interests of the original artist as a legitimate argument.

[19] "Exposé des motifs" presented in 18 January, 1841, by M. Villemain in F. Worms, Etude sur la propriété littéraire, vol. 2 (Paris: Alphonse Lemerre, 1878), 132-33: "Mais si l'ouvrage original lui-même a été vendu, cédé par l'auteur, que devient le droit de reproduction ? à qui passe ce droit ? Ici, Messieurs, une exception a été demandée pour les ouvrages d'art de l'ordre le plus élevé. Cette exception, c'est que l'artiste, en aliénant son œuvre originale, conserve de plein droit un privilège sur cette œuvre. On a exprimé le vœu qu'il fût dit expressément par la loi que, dans le cas de cession d'un ouvrage d'art, le droit exclusif d'en autoriser la reproduction demeurerait toujours acquis et réservé à l'auteur de l'ouvrage, à moins d'un abandon formel et spécial consenti de sa part. A l'appui de cette exception réclamée, on alléguait la préjudice qu'entraînerait pour l'artiste la présomption contraire, si elle était autorisée par la loi, la préférence légitime due à l'intérêt de l'artiste sur l'intérêt de l'amateur, la justice d'une tutelle bienveillante de la loi, qui, sans enchaîner absolument le droit de l'artiste sur la propriété accessoire de son œuvre, lui réservât d'office un privilège pour en autoriser la reproduction, à moins que, par une clause exprimée, il n'eût voulu sciemment renoncer à ce privilège. Telles sont les considérations présentées par un digne interprète de l'Académie des beaux-arts. En les reproduisant, nous n'avons pas cru possible de les faire prévaloir sur les motifs qui avaient déterminé en cette matière l'application du droit commun. Il n'a point paru qu'il fût nécessaire ni régulier d'attacher par la loi même à la transmission d'un objet d'art une restriction préalable et permanente au profit du vendeur, lors même que ce vendeur est un grand artiste ; c'est assez qu'il puisse la stipuler lui-même, et que la redaction de la loi l'avertisse à cet égard de la precaution qu'il doit prendre." On these debates, see also Lamartine's report, in Le Moniteur universel, séance du 13 mars 1841, 635-36 (f_1841_im_001_0002 and f_1841_im_001_0003): the two solutions, as Lamartine explained in his report, had actually been scrupulously discussed and weighted during these debates. On the one hand, artists were complaining that when a painting or a sculpture was sold, only "a corporeal object" was alienated: "we do not sell the thought which is embodied in the canvas or the marble, above all we certainly do not sell the right to disfigure, degrade, and corrupt it by imperfect imitations or base reproductions" ["nous ne vendons pas la pensée personnifiée dans la toile ou dans le marbre, nous ne vendons pas surtout le droit de la dénaturer, de la degrader, de l'avilir par des imitations imparfaites ou par d'ignobles reproductions."] But, on the other hand, who would want to acquire such a property that was limited to "a kind of local, uniform, and Platonic contemplation of the object?" ["une sorte de contemplation locale, uniforme et platonique de l'objet"?] Eventually, it was decided in title IV of the bill, article 14, that "when a work of art is sold, the exclusive right to reproduce it, or to authorize this reproduction, by printing, engraving, taking a cast, or any other method, is transferred to the buyer, unless a stipulation to the contrary has been made" ["en cas de vente dudit ouvrage, le droit exclusif de le reproduire, ou d'en autoriser la reproduction par l'impression, la gravure, le moulage ou de toute autre manière, est transmis à l'acquéreur, à moins d'une stipulation contraire"].

[20] Couhin, 413. ["l'arrêt de la Cour suprême ne résiste pas à l'examen. La 'loi spéciale et exceptionnelle' sur l'absence prétendue de laquelle il se fonde, existait avant le Code civil, et le Code civil ne l'a point abrogé: c'est la loi du 19 juillet 1793. L'objet de cette loi, nous ne nous lassons pas de le redire, est de garantir uniquement la propriété du 'droit de reproduction', nullement la propriété des exemplaires matériels de ces ouvrages. Et bien que l'une soit l'accessoire de l'autre, elles sont distinctes et indépendantes l'une de l'autre. Bref, l'arrêt en question nous paraît avoir méconnu, manifestement, l'esprit et le texte de la loi"]

[21] Pouillet, 363. ["qui achète un objet d'art achète l'objet matériel, le droit de posséder la composition qui lui a plus, dont l'exécution l'a charmé; c'est, en un mot, un corps certain et déterminé; rien de plus"]

[22] Albert Vaunois, De la Propriété artistique en droit français (Paris: Imprimerie Moquet, 1884), 293-94. For Dupin, a "decisive" point in supporting the decision of 1842 was, however, that in contractual relations, an expressed reservation made by the painter to a potential buyer about the right to engrave his painting would weaken his position, and diminish the price he could ask for his work... (Dalloz 1842.1.304) ["Au point de vue de la loi, la propriété artistique, différente de celle de l'œuvre d'art, reconnue et réglementée par des textes spéciaux, ne peut être considérée comme un accessoire; au point de vue des faits, la démonstration devient éclatante et, en appréciant les valeurs respectives des deux droits conformément aux règles du Code civil sur l'accession, on retournerait presque contre nos adversaires leur argumentation. En effet, le prix d'un tableau, d'une statue, quelque grand qu'il soit, disparaît le plus souvent devant les bénéfices considérables produits par les reproductions. Au siècle dernier, Watteau mourrait pauvre malgré la vente de ses œuvres, tandis que ces graveurs s'enrichissaient. Greuze, au contraire, qui débitait lui-même les gravures de ses tableaux, gagna plus à faire reproduire sa peinture qu'à la vendre. Plus récemment, Léopold Robert vendait 8000 francs son tableau des Moissonneurs, et 4000 le Retour de la Madone de l'arc, alors que les gravures des mêmes œuvres s'enlevaient avec un succès prodigieux : on vendait en quelques mois pour plus d'un million d'estampes de la première de ces compositions."]

[23] Pouillet, 364. ["par le monde entier son pinceau"]

[24] See in particular the third edition of Pouillet'sTraité théorique et pratique de la propriété littéraire et artistique et du droit de représentation, (Paris : Imprimerie et librairie générale de jurisprudence, 1908), 398-405. Pouillet also recalled with some bitterness that all the ALAI Congresses had adopted this solution since 1878 (402).

[25] Law of 9 April 1910: ["L'aliénation d'une œuvre d'art n'entraîne pas, à moins de convention contraire, celle du droit de reproduction."]

[26] ["La propriété incorporelle définie par l'article L 111-1 est indépendante de la propriété de l'objet matériel."]


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