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French Decree of 30 August 1777, on the duration of privileges, Paris (1777)

Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France : Mss. Fr. 22073 n° 146

French Decree of 30 August 1777, on the duration of privileges, Paris (1777), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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regulating the duration of booksellers’

made 30 August 1777.

Extract from the registers of the Council of State.

      Having been made acquainted in Council with memoranda
from a number of booksellers, both in Paris and in the
provinces, concerning the duration of privileges and the
ownership of published works, His Majesty the King has
acknowledged: that the privilege in bookselling is a favour
which is founded in justice, and whose object it is, when
accorded to an author, to reward his labour, and when
accorded to a bookseller, to guarantee the reimbursement
of any advance and to indemnify him against costs incurred:
that the differing purposes of these privileges ought to be
reflected in their duration: that the author clearly has a
greater right to a more enduring favour, while the bookseller
may only expect the favour granted to him to be proportional
to his total expenditure and to the size of his operation:
that the continuing improvement of a work, however, makes
it necessary that the bookseller should have the benefit of
the privilege during the lifetime of the author whose work
he has agreed to publish, but that to grant the privilege
for a longer period would be to make a rightful property of
a benefit granted at the King’s pleasure to prolong a favour
contrary to the very entitlement which determines its duration;


No Transcription available.

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