Antonio Blado's privilege for Machiavelli's works, Vatican (1531)

Source: scanned from the first edition of Niccolo Machiavelli's 'Historie fiorentine' (Venice: Antonio Blado, 1532): Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, C. 196.100 (2)

Antonio Blado's privilege for Machiavelli's works, Vatican (1531), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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            Chapter 1 Page 1 of 1 total


                        TO ALL AND SUNDRY, to whom this
                        our letter will be shown, Salutations and
                        Apostolic Blessings. Recently our esteemed
                        son Antonio of Blado, Printer of books in
                        our foster City, brought something to our
attention. As it stands, this man plans to print or put to print
the works, written in the mother tongue, of the late Niccolo
Machiavelli of Florence, evidently a history, and also his work
regarding The Prince, as well as the works regarding Discourses:
he fears that others, making use of his own labour and expense which
he will apply to the said books about to be printed, may in time
print or may put to print those works, seeking profit for themselves,
to that man’s loss and detriment. Wherefore the same Antonio has
humbly made supplication of us that we deem it worthy, with regard to
apostolic benevolence, to make provisions for him on these grounds
in a timely manner. We therefore assent to the honest desire of said
Antonio, wishing to prevent the indemnity of that man. To every and
each printer, book dealer, and to others of whatever status, rank, and
condition existing without being temporarily subject to our edict, in
the virtue of holy obedience, and under penalty of sentence of far-reaching
excommunication: to ourselves, verily, and to those relatively or
directly subject to the Holy Roman Church, under penalty of the loss of
the books of the printers, and of 25 gold ducats from the Treasury in
exchange for one from our apostolic Treasury, for the rest, verily,
regarding intermediaries, so long as there will have been a contravention
to the disadvantage of the abovementioned Antonio, for the purpose of
applying penalties, we strictly enjoin and mandate. Wherefore for ten
years they should not print the said works which are about to be printed
by the abovementioned Antonio as he is privileged, nor should they dare
to put to print, or sell, or have for sale, or should presume to do so,
unless express assent is granted to it by the said Antonio. For which
reason to the magistrates, whoever they may be, of these places, or to
their official superiors, and to the Vicars in general matters of
spirituality, we entrust through these present in order that where, when,
and as often as they will be required on behalf of the said Antonio, they
shall assist Antonio himself with effective defences and protection, and
ensure that the present letters and whatever is contained in them are
observed without fail and published. Those who gainsay or oppose this are
to be restrained by means of ecclesiastical censure and the aforesaid
penalties, without appeal. Furthermore let these letters be invoked for
this purpose if there should be need of help for the secular branch of
government. Notwithstanding all things whatsoever to the contrary. Given
at Rome at Saint Peter's under the Seal of the Fisherman, on the 23rd day
of August, 1531, in the Eight Year of Our Pontificate.



                        UNIVERSIS, ET SINGULIS, qui
                        bus hae nostrae literae exhibebuntur, Salutem & Apo
                        stolicam benedictionem. Exponi nobis nuper fecit di=
                        lectus filius Antonius de Blado in alma Urbe nostra
                        librorum Impresor. Quod ipse opera quondam Ni
colai Maclavelli civis Florentini in materno sermone conscripta, vi=
delicet historiam, ac de Prencipe, & de Discursibus imprimere seu
imprimi facere intendit: vereturque ne alij postmodum ex suo labore
& impensa, quam in dictis operibus imprimendis faciet, sibi lucrum
querentes, illa imprimant, seu imprimi faciant, in illius iacturam &
detrimentum. Quare idem Antonius nobis humiliter supplicari fecit
ut sibi in premisis opportune providere de benignitate apostolica digna
remur. Nos igitur honesto ipsius Antonij desiderio annuere, ac il=
lius indemnitati obviare volentes. Omnibus & singulis impresoribus,
Bibliopolis, alijs cuiuscunque status, gradus, & conditionis existentibus
nostrae ditioni temporaliter non subiectis, in virtute sanctae obedientiae, et
sub excommunicationis latae sententiae poena; nobis vero, & Sanctae Ro
manae Ecclesiae mediate vel immediate subiectis, etiam sub amisionis
librorum impresorum, & vigintiquinque ducatorum auri de Camera
pro una Camerae nostrae apostolicae, pro reliqua vero medietatibus, prae
fato Antonio totiens quotiens contraventum fuerit, applicandis poenis,
districte praecipimus & mandamus. Quatenus dicta opera per praedi=
ctum Antonium ut praefertur, imprimenda, ad decennium non impri
mant, nequè imprimi facere, aut vendere, seu venalia habere audeant,
vel praesumant, nisi ad id dicti Antonij expressus accesserit assensus.
Quocirca quibusuis locorum ordinarijs, seu eorum officialibus, & Vi
carijs in spiritualibus generalibus committimus per presentes, ut ubi, quan
do, & quotiens pro parte dicti Antonij riquisiti fuerint, ipsi Antonio
efficacis defensionis praesidio assistentes, faciant presentes litteras &
in eis contenta quaecunque inviolabiliter observari, & publicari. Con=
tradictores quoslibet, & rebelles per censuras ecclesiasticas, & poenas
praedictas appellatione postposita compescendo. Invocato etiam ad hoc
si opus fuerit auxilio brachij secularis. In contrarium facientibus non
obstantibus quibuscunque. Datum Romae apud Sanctum Petrum sub
annulo piscatoris die X X I I I. Augusti. M. D. X X X I.
Pontificatus            Nostri            Anno            Octavo.


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