Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900)

Identifier: va_1603


Commentary on Privilege granted to Francisco Soto to translate, print and distribute works by St. Teresa of Avila from Spanish to Italian, Rome (1603)

Jane C. Ginsburg


Please cite as:

Ginsburg, J.C. (2022) ‘Commentary on Privilege granted to Francisco Soto to translate, print and distribute works by St. Teresa of Avila from Spanish to Italian, Rome (1603)', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,


1. The Privilege

2. Persons mentioned


Soto’s translation was published by Stefano Paolini in Rome in 1603: Camino di perfettione che scrisse per le sue monache la B. madre Teresa di Giesu fondatrice de' frati e delle monache scalze carmelitane. Tradotto della lingua spagnuola nella italiana da Francesco Soto sacerdote della congregazione dell'Oratorio di Roma

Pubblicazione : In Roma : appresso Stefano Paolini, Ad istantia di Iacomo Vernice (1603). (WorldCat/BAVat) [includes Camino di perfettione and Castello Interiore, but not La Vita]


1. The Privilege

Soto’s privilege is remarkable for the absence of any mention of a prior privilege, issued three years earlier for two of the same works.  See (Sec. Brev. Reg. 297 F. 274, privilege to Pietro Fetti for Italian translations of works by St. Teresa of Avila).  The terms of the privilege, duration, geographical scope of coverage, and remedies are in all but one respect essentially identical to the prior privilege (and to other contemporary privileges) see id.  Concerning the scope of rights, however, the breadth of the privilege also stands out because it covers not only Soto’s own translation, but also “any translations by another or others into the Italian language” “libris praedictis et si ab alio, seu aliis in huiusmodi linguam Ital[ic]am translatis fuissent”).  In other words, the Pope was conferring on Soto a ten-year exclusive right over Italian language versions of The Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle.  Fetti’s privilege did not clearly extend to other persons’ translations from the original Spanish, as opposed to printing and distributing Fetti’s own prospective translations.  The issuance of a privilege the following year to Cosimo Gaci for his translations of the same works, effectively modified Soto’s privilege to cover only his own translation, just as it clearly limited the scope of Gaci’s exclusive rights to Gaci’s own translation. See (Petition from and Privilege granted to Cosimo Gaci to translate, print and distribute works by St. Teresa of Avila from Spanish to Italian).


2. Persons mentioned

Pietro Aldobrandini (1571 – 1621). Italian Catholic Cardinal and patron of the arts, made cardinal in 1593 by his uncle, Pope Clement VIII.

Marcello Vestrio Barbiani (? – 1606). Cardinal-Secretary of Brevi (papal letters). The son of a famous lawyer, Barbiani joined the Papal court after his wife, a Roman noblewoman, passed away. In 1596, he was granted a canonicate in the Vatican Basilica. Barbiani served in various capacities under Gregory XIV, Clement VIII, and Paul V, before passing at a very old age shortly before July 9th, 1606.  See Giammaria Mazzuchelli, Gli scrittori d’Italia. Vol. 2,1 at 178 (1758).

Francisco Soto (1534 – 1619). Spanish-born singer, editor, composer, and priest of the Congregation of the Oratory. On Soto’s career as a singer, see (scroll down to and click on Francisco Soto).

St. Teresa of Avila (1515 – 1582). Spanish saint, mystic, and author. She entered a Carmelite convent at 20 and later founded her own order, the Discalced Carmelites. In her lifetime Teresa of Avila garnered fame as an author of Counter-Reformation treatises as well as spiritual memoirs, in which she documented the intense heavenly visions she often experienced. The Baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598 – 1680) immortalized one such episode in his sculpture The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, which depicts Teresa swooning as an angel prepares to pierce her chest with a golden arrow. Teresa of Avila was not canonized until 1622, which explains why the petition refers to her as only “Madre Teresa.”