# Primary Sources on Copyright - Record Viewer
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

Back | Record | Images | Commentaries: [1]
Translation only | Transcription only | Show all | Bundled images as pdf

            Chapter 1 Page 2 of 4 total


it would be tantamount to the enshrining of a monopoly, since
a single bookseller would then determine in perpetuity the
price of a particular book; finally, it would perpetuate the
causes of abuse and forgery, by denying provincial printers a
legitimate use for their presses. His Majesty has determined
that a regulation restricting the duration of the exclusive
rights of publishers to the period stipulated by the privilege
would be to their advantage, since a benefit which is limited
but certain, is preferable to one which is indefinite but
illusory: that such a regulation would be to the advantage of
the public, who may expect the cost of books to fall in
consequence to a level determined by the means of the buyers:
that it would be of benefit to men of letters, who will, after
a certain period has elapsed, be able to produce annotated
versions and commentaries of an author, without their right to
publish such texts being contested: that, finally, this regulation
will be all the more useful, since it may encourage commercial
activity, and stimulate such competition among booksellers as
may favour the progress and perfection of their art. To this
effect, the King in Council, on the advice of his Honour the
Keeper of the Seal, commands the following:


      No bookseller or printer shall print or cause to be printed
any new book, without having first obtained the privilege, or
letters patent bearing the impression of the Great Seal.

      His Majesty forbids those booksellers, printers and others
who have obtained letters patent for the printing of a new book
to apply for any continuation of this privilege, unless the book
is to be augmented by at least a quarter; other booksellers
wishing to print existing editions without augmentation shall not
however be refused permission to do so on these grounds.

      Privileges granted for the future printing of new books shall
last no less than ten years.

      Those who have obtained privileges shall retain them not only
for the period indicated therein, but also


No Transcription available.

Our Partners

Copyright statement

You may copy and distribute the translations and commentaries in this resource, or parts of such translations and commentaries, in any medium, for non-commercial purposes as long as the authorship of the commentaries and translations is acknowledged, and you indicate the source as Bently & Kretschmer (eds), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900) (www.copyrighthistory.org).

You may not publish these documents for any commercial purposes, including charging a fee for providing access to these documents via a network. This licence does not affect your statutory rights of fair dealing.

Although the original documents in this database are in the public domain, we are unable to grant you the right to reproduce or duplicate some of these documents in so far as the images or scans are protected by copyright or we have only been able to reproduce them here by giving contractual undertakings. For the status of any particular images, please consult the information relating to copyright in the bibliographic records.

Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900) is co-published by Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, 10 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DZ, UK and CREATe, School of Law, University of Glasgow, 10 The Square, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK