Ariosto's Printing Privilege, Venice (1515)

Source: Scanned from the manuscript held in the Venetian State Archives: ASV, NC, reg. 18, c.23r.

Ariosto's Printing Privilege, Venice (1515), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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            Chapter 1 Page 1 of 1 total

      Most Illustrious and Serene Prince and My Lord, I, your devoted and affectionate
servant Ludovico Ariosto, a Nobleman of Ferrara and a courtier of the most Reverend
Lord Cardinal d’Este, petition Your Sublimity: that, having composed, after my long
vigils and efforts, and for the pleasure and recreation of lords and men of gentle spirit,
and women, a work which describes pleasurable and delectable things about war and
love, and having desired to make it public for the solace and pleasure of whoever shall
wish and take pleasure in reading it. And also because of other benefits, and for the
remuneration of my efforts, which lasted longer than I could afford, I decided to print it
in whichever place I shall judge to be more convenient. But having misgivings about
the possibility of competition if someone other than myself were to print it, I shall clarify
instantly that once this work of mine has been published and printed, it may not be
reprinted or republished in another [edition], so that no one can snatch the benefit and
profit of my efforts, which ought to come to me. And therefore I plead and appeal to
Your Sublimity to deign to grant me by your decree and privilege and favour, that for
the duration of my life no one whosoever in the lands and places under the jurisdiction
of Your Sublimity, whether that person be a native citizen or a foreigner, and irrespective
of the station which he may occupy, is to be allowed to dare or venture to print or to put
to print my work, by using any other font, neither in a grand folio size, nor in the smallest
one,\nor to sell or make sell/ without an explicit license and concession from me, Ludovico
Ariosto, the Author of the aforementioned work, on pain of loss of such works, and,
moreover, if they are found to have been printed \or sold/, a fine of one thousand ducats
for each person who dares to print it or cause it to be printed, \or to sell it or cause it to be
sold/ and half of the aforesaid penalty will be paid to whoever it pleases Your Sublimity
to nominate, and the other half, in addition to the printed or sold books, to myself,
Ludovico Ariosto the aforesaid servant of Your Grace.

1515, 25th day of October

                                                Signore Marcus de Molino
                                                Signore Petrus Marcello
                                                Signore Hieroniymus Teupulo
                                                Signore Franciscus Bragadino


Illustrissimo et Serenissimo Principe et signore mio supplico alla sublimita Vostra Io diuoto et affectionatissimo seruo
suo Ludouico Ariosto Nobile ferrarese, et familiare del Reuerendissimo Signore Cardinale Estense: Come hauendo cum mie
longe vigilie et fatiche, Per spasso et Recreatione de’ signori et persone de animi gentilli et madone, composta
una opera in la quale si tratta di cose piaceuoli et delectabeli, de arme et de amore, et desiderando poner
-la in luce per solazo et piacere di qualunche vora et che se delectera de legerla: Et anche cum quello più
beneficio, et renumeratione delle fatiche mie, duratoli più anni in componerla, che conseguire posso,
ho deliberato di farla stampare doue meglio à me parera, Ma dubitando, che qualche altro à concorrentia
della stampa ch’io? mi faro subito che tal mia opera et stampa sia fuori, non si intrometta d’ristampare,
ò, farla ristampare una altra, et che non pigli il bene et utile de le fatiche, che doueriano venire à mé,
Per tanto prego & supplico la ? Vostra sublimta che quella sia contenta per suo decreto et priuilegio conceder
-mi, de gratia che per tutto il tempo della vita mia non sia licito, à persona alcuna cossi terrera come
forestiera: et di qualunche grado si uoglia esser ò sia, che ardisca ne presumma in le terre et loci et
Dominio de Vostra Sublimita presumere di stampar ne di far stampar in forma alcuna de lettera, ne
di foglio grande, piccolo, ne picolino \ne possa uender ó fare uendere/ ditta mia opera senza expressa licentia, et concessione de mi, Ludo
uico Ariosto, Auctore di epsa, sotto pena di perder tal opere Inoltre che si trouassino stampate
\ò uendersi/, et de ducati mille per cadauno che presumera stamparla, ò, farla stampare, \o uenderla ò farla uender/, la qual pena per la mità
se applichi di cui piacerà alla Sublimità Vostra, et l’altra mità, et libri stampati \o uenduti/, a mi Ludovico prenominato
seruitore di quella Cuiuis Gratiae, et

1515 die Octobris

Quod suprascripto supplicanti concedatur Gratia, quam ut sup Perit:


                              Ser Marcus de Molino
                              Ser Petrus Marcello
                              Ser Hieroniymus Teupulo
                              Ser Franciscus Bragadino


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