# Primary Sources on Copyright - Record Viewer
Crébillon case, Paris (1749)

Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France : Mss. Fr. 22072 n°112

Citation:
Crébillon case, Paris (1749), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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4 translated pages

Chapter 1 Page 1


DECREE

OF THE COUNCIL OF STATE

OF THE KING,


IN favour of Mr DE CREBILLON, Author of
            the Tragedy of CATILINA.

WHICH judges that the products of the mind are not
at all in the same rank as seizable Effects.


Of 21st March 1749.

Excerpt from the Registers of the Council of State.

      ON the Petition presented to the King being
in his Council by Prosper-Jolyot of Crébillon,
one of the forty members of the Académie Française;
STATING that he finds himself in the necessity of
resorting to His Majesty to prevent the effect of
the seizures & decrees that


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certain Individuals claiming to be his Creditors, have had
the temerity of having had carried out, as much from the
hands of the Comédiens Français, due to his Author's part
in the proceeds of the Representations of the Tragedy of
Catilina, as from those of Mr Prault son, Bookseller, with
whom he dealt with the Printing of the same Play. The Supplicant,
without resorting to absolute demurrers that he would have the
right to oppose against the claims of these Individuals,
contents himself with observing that it is incredible that one
has ever endeavoured to place in the rank of seizable Effects
the fruit of the products of the human mind; that if such an
abuse could be introduced, there would arise a notable inconvenience,
in that those who have consecrated their late nights to the Study
of Letters, & that have made the greatest efforts by this means
to render themselves useful to their Country, will find themselves
in the cruel position of not daring to bring to light their Works,
often precious & interesting for the State: Indeed, no one can ignore
that the majority of those that devote themselves to Literature, need,
to live, the benefits that they have the right to expect from their
work, & that it would be of dangerous consequence for the Public that
they remain deprived of these by the effect of the prosecutions that
they would daily be exposed to if their Creditors were authorized
to claim them for their profit. It is for such commendable motives
that one has never tolerated in France the seizure of the fees of
Lawyers & other persons of liberal Profession. The Supplicant requests
FOR THESE REASONS, that it pleases His Majesty to evoke to himself &
to his Council the instances de préférence that the seizures & decrees
imposed on him from the hands of the Comédiens Français & from Mr
Prault Son may have or might




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occasion, & meanwhile grant the immediate provisional replevin
[main-levée] to the Supplicant of the said seizures & other
attachments [oppositions] levied or to levy; to order that
notwithstanding these, the said Comédiens Français & the said
Mr Prault will be bound to pay him the sums that they might owe
him arising as much from the Representations as from the Printing
of his Tragedy of Catilina, to which they should be compelled by
all due & reasonable means; that in doing so, they remain well &
validly cleared & discharged. In view of the said Petition, together
with the Writs of seizures & attachments levied at the suit of
the Widow of Mr Thomas, Master of Arts at the University of Paris,
& of Mr Rossignol, former Municipal Magistrate of the said Town
the 4, 15, 21 & 24 January last, & the Writ of Summons granted at
the suit of the said Widow Thomas to the Dame de Villeneuve, other
distrainor the 31st of the same month. Having heard the report THE
KING BEING IN HIS COUNCIL taking in account the Petition, has evoked
& evokes to himself & his Council the instances de preference that
the seizures & decrees imposed on Mr de Crébillon, as much from the
hands of the Comédiens Français as from those of Mr Prault son,
Bookseller, may have or might occasion; & meanwhile His Majesty orders
the immediate provisional replevin to the said Mr de Crébillon of
the said seizures & other attachments levied or to levy owing to his
Tragedy of Catilina: orders that notwithstanding these the said
Comédiens Français & the said Mr Prault will be bound to pay him the
amounts that they might owe him, derived as much from the Representations
as from the Printing of the said Play; to which they should be compelled
by all due & reasonable means; that in doing so,



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they remain well & validly cleared & discharged.
UNDERTAKEN at the Council of State of the King, His Majesty
being present, held at Versailles the twenty first of March
seventeen hundred forty nine. Signed: PHELYPEAUX.

      The present Decree has been duly notified at the suit
of Mr de Crébillon, who has elected residence in the house of
Me Sylvain Codet, Lawyer to the Councils of the King, rue des
Ménetriers, to the Parties named therein, & to the ends contained
therein, the first of April 1749. Signed, VASSAL, Writ serving
officer of the King & in his Councils.

                  Collated to the Originals by Us Equerry,
                        Councillor-Secretary of the King, House,
                        Crown of France & of its Finances.

________________________________________________________

Published in Paris by P[ierre] Prault, Printer &c
      With Royal rights, Quai de Gêvres, au Paradis. 1749


Translation by: Silje Normand

    

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