# Primary Sources on Copyright - Record Viewer




Linguet's memorandum, London (1777)

Source: Bibliothèque universitaire de Poitiers (SCD) : Linguet, Simon-Nicolas-Henri, Annales politiques, civiles, et littéraires du XVIIIe siècle, tome III, Londres, 1777, p. 24.

Linguet's memorandum, London (1777), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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            Chapter 1 Page 4 of 49 total



      This ruling, as may be seen, was given in response to a series of mémoires,
to a dispute which arose between the booksellers of Paris and several
provincial ones; it is therefore a judgement on private interests, rather than a
general law. If there was a party whose rights were infringed by it, and yet
who had not been permitted to assert them, then according to the rules of our
legal system, that party could oppose the ruling, and appeal to the Sovereign
to reopen a debate on it, in hope of having it revoked. Indeed, this is precisely
the situation in this case.

      The main party in this ruling are men of letters. It does not only limit their
property rights; it destroys them. Article V, whilst appearing to recognise and
affirm their property, in fact does irreparable damage to it. However, their case
was not heard; they were not even summoned.

      It is perhaps a little strange that under the pretext of enforcing the law
between their agents, between those secondary representatives to whom they
entrust the task of communicating their creations to the public, we are
accustomed to ignoring authors and their rights. In this way, by giving legal
status to actors, it is not only the author’s share that has been tied to the


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