Book trade regulations (1649)

Source: Archives nationales : AD 303 (document conservé aux archives nationales, Paris)

Citation:
Book trade regulations (1649), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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Letters obtained by some Printers
& Booksellers of Paris in the year 1649.


      LOUIS, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, KING OF
FRANCE AND OF NAVARRE. To all those present &
yet to come, Greetings. Recognizing the great disorders
which have crept into the Art of Printing, as it is
nowadays practised in our Kingdom; And that to the detriment
of our Regulations, every day persons who are utterly incapable
of exercising this profession are admitted into it: We have
concluded that an abuse of such great magnitude is certainly
worth our taking the trouble to correct it; so that henceforth
our Reign, which we hope to have announced by other similar
Regulations full of justice & honour, should also be esteemed
for the benefit which good literature [les bonnes lettres] will receive
from it. So few good Books are printed in Paris; & those that are
printed seem to be neglected so manifestly on account of the poor-
quality paper which is used, & for the little proof-reading which
is applied to them, that we can definitely call it a kind of disgrace,
& acknowledge that it is a great loss for our State; And,
furthermore, those of our Subjects who embrace the profession
of Literature are set back in no small measure when they are
forced to look for ancient editions at a very significant cost to
themselves. From this abuse there arises another mischief, namely
the bad example set by the Fathers when educating their children
in the Art of Printing, more to pander to avarice, than to exercise
it honourably; This profession has been abased from day to day &
ever increasingly, so that the Fathers, instead of bringing up their
children in this discipline which requires a great deal of
experience, & a lot of knowledge, are very often forced to
withdraw them from it on account of the great contempt to which
it has fallen; The misery suffered by the Apprentices is, moreover,
so great under their Masters, who care so little for their Art, that it
would be difficult to find any among them with a keen mind & courage,
& who would be capable of working in this field with the sense of
honour that so fine & necessary a Profession should warrant;
Whereas in the previous Century some of the

    


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Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, 10 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DZ, UK