Sieyès' report, Paris (1790)

Source: Bibliothèque Universitaire de Poitiers (SCD) : Histoire parlementaire de la Révolution française, par B.-J.- Buchez et P.-Roux, tome quatrième, 1834, 273.

Sieyès' report, Paris (1790), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Record-ID: f_1790

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Full title:
Report of M. the Abbé Sieyès on the freedom of the press, and the bill against offences which can be committed by means of printing, and by the publication of writings and engravings

Full title original language:
Rapport de M. l'abbé Sieyès sur la liberté de la presse, et projet de loi contre les délits qui peuvent se commettre par la voie de l'impression, et par la publication des écrits et des gravures

A draft law for the organisation and regulation of the book market - the first such bill in France to invoke author's rights - was presented to the Constitutional Committee in January 1790 by the Abbé Sieyès, the famous statesman and deputy of the Third Estate. Literary property, which seems to have been relegated to a secondary place in this draft, was only guaranteed for very short terms of protection, since it had to be subordinated to the crucial consideration of public interest in this revolutionary period. Although the bill was not passed, it has nevertheless been interpreted as reflecting - along the same lines as Condorcet (f_1776a), albeit in the context of the Revolution - a truly liberal current in French copyright discourse at the expense of Romantic notions of the author and his work. In a way it was also a further defence of the provincial booksellers' cause, which had been bolstered by the initial revolutionary debates. In reality, Sieyès's draft law, as its very title suggested, was above all concerned with 'the offences which can be committed by means of printing'. Furthermore, the proposed law was officially intended to be in force for a period of just two years, in contrast to François Hell's bill (f_1791a), which would be submitted a few months later.

1 Commentary:


Related documents in this database:
1762: Royal declaration on privileges granted to inventors
1791: Report of François Hell to the National Assembly

Author: Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès (1748-1836)

Publisher: Buchez et Roux

Year: 1790

Location: Paris

Language: French

Source: Bibliothèque Universitaire de Poitiers (SCD) : Histoire parlementaire de la Révolution française, par B.-J.- Buchez et P.-Roux, tome quatrième, 1834, 273.

Persons referred to:
Sieyès, Emmanuel Joseph Comte

Places referred to:

Cases referred to:

Institutions referred to:
Bureau for the Poor

Draft law against offences which can be committed by way of printing and by the publication of writings and engravings

Enlightenment, the
French Revolution
book trade
dramatic works, protected subject matter
foreign reprints
music publishing
music, protected subject matter
natural rights

Responsible editor: Frédéric Rideau

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