# Primary Sources on Copyright - Record Viewer

PRIMARY SOURCES

ON COPYRIGHT

(1450-1900)

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.

Citation:
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 6 of 49 total



14

managed to appear to disdain them. It is only with embarrassment that they
seem to claim the property of their creations. While they grovel at the feet of
the most contemptible of people to obtain meagre pensions, they affect, at
least in public, to disdain the honest, legitimate and glorious reward which
accompanies high regard when a good work is sold; they have never made a
sustained effort to obtain protection from the authorities for these possessions
of theirs, or to curb the acts of piracy which violate them.

      Perhaps it is those among them who are without talent who, from time
immemorial, have upheld this ridiculous prejudice; and today, it is our so-
called philosophes who sustain it. Indeed, it is easier to seduce a minister’s
mistress, or his valets, than the nation; and, by flattery, to extract an annual
salary from the authorities under the name of a ‘pension’, than to persuade
the public to buy a bad book. Just as the Boisroberts and Chapelains of the
last century, so now the d’Alemberts and Marmontels of our own century are:

            ‘the most profitable of all minds.’

      Before now, this apparent disdain for the direct and honest fruits of literature
was merely the result of lazy greed; but, thanks to the philosophy of our day,
which creates profundity out of everything, it has become the object of fine
calculation, and of a very craftily devised theory.

    


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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