Commentary on:
French Censorship Act (1547)

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Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900)

Identifier: f_1547

Commentary on the French Censorship Act of 1547

Frédéric Rideau

Faculty of Law, University of Poitiers, France


Please cite as:

Rideau, F. (2010) ‘Commentary on the French Censorship Act of 1547', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,


1. Full title

2. Abstract

3. References


1. Full title

King's Edict on the books censored by the Faculty of Theology


2. Abstract

After having been enthusiastically encouraged at first by the Crown, in particular through the earliest privileges whose rationale had been primarily economic, printing in France very soon (from the first half of the sixteenth century onwards) became an instrument to be carefully controlled from above. Following the relatively pragmatic censorship policies of Francis I, the aggravation of religious tensions between Catholics and Huguenots compelled his successor Henri II to introduce a more systematic framework for censorship, notably by a series of legislative acts at the end of the 1540s, amongst which the edicts of 1547 and 1551 stand out as important milestones. They confirmed, by establishing a regime of pre-publication censorship and permissions, the Crown's determination to exert a firm grip on the literary market - a grip which did not slacken right up to 1789. Very soon, indeed before the end of the sixteenth century, the system of privileges too would be coupled with that of censorship, thereby modifying the chiefly economic nature of the requirements that had originally been set for the award of the royal favour.


3. References

full commentary in preparation

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