General privilege granted to Adrien Le Roy and Robert Ballard, Paris (1552)

Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France : Mss. Fr. 22077 n°2

General privilege granted to Adrien Le Roy and Robert Ballard, Paris (1552), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Record-ID: f_1552

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Full title:
Patent of 'Music Printers to the King', awarded by Henri II to Messrs Adrien Le Roy and Robert Ballard

Full title original language:
Brevet d'Impression du Roy pour la musique accordé par Henri II aux Sieurs Adrien Le Roy et Robert Ballard

On 16 February 1552, the Parisian printers Robert Ballard and Adrien Le Roy (who was also a court musician) were granted a patent appointing them to the office of music printers to the king. In addition to the numerous honours and prerogatives pertaining to this office, these letters patent, because of their general formulation, would effectively secure for the families of these two men - and, later, to the Ballard family alone - a truly exclusive privilege for the printing of music right up to the second half of the eighteenth century. The letters thus paved the way for the spectacular rise of this family of printers, which also reflected the pliability of royal privileges as juridical expedients at the Crown's disposal that could be awarded and modulated in accordance with the priorities of public interest. Of course, the Ballards were often suspected of having strengthened this monopoly of theirs by means of 'surreptitious' manoeuvres, facilitated by their access to the court, although it must be said that the numerous and systematic renewals of their office did not in the long run leave much room for doubt as to the Crown's determination to give them preference over all other music printers.

1 Commentary:

  • Wekerlin, J.B., 'Histoire de l'impression de la musique, principalement en France', 'Bulletins de la Société des Compositeurs de Musique' (Paris, 1867)

  • Fournier le Jeune (Pierre-Simon), 'Traité historique et critique sur l'origine et les progrès des caractères de fonte pour l'impression de la musique' (Berne, 1765)

  • Castelain, R., 'Histoire de l'édition musicale, ou du droit d'éditeur au droit d'auteur: 1501-1793' (Paris: Lemoine H. & Co., 1957)

Related documents in this database:
1511: Imperial Privilege for Arnolt Schlick
1507: Eloy d'Amerval's privilege
1515: Galliot Du Pré's Privilege
1531: Francis I's letter patent to Pierre Attaignant
1607: General privilege granted to Pierre Ballard
1498: Ottaviano Petrucci's Music Patent

Author: N/A

Publisher: N/A

Year: 1552

Location: Paris

Language: French

Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France : Mss. Fr. 22077 n°2

Persons referred to:
Ballard, Robert I
Henri II
Laubespine, Claude de
Le Roy, Adrien
d'Avanson, Jean de Saint-Marcel, sieur

Places referred to:

Cases referred to:

Institutions referred to:
Parlement of Paris


music publishing
music, protected subject matter
privileges, French
unpublished works

Responsible editor: Frédéric Rideau

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