Commentary on:
Court of Cassation on moral rights (1902)

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Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900)

Identifier: f_1902


Commentary on Sieyès' report

Frédéric Rideau

Faculty of Law, University of Poitiers, France


Please cite as:

Rideau, F. (2010) ‘Commentary on Court de Cassation on moral rights (1902)', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,



1. Full title

2. Abstract

3. References


1. Full title

Cinquin v. Lecocq, Court of Cassation. 25 June 1902.


2. Abstract

The Lecocq case of 1902, that is just a few years after divorce was legalized again in France (in 1884), raised the question as to whether copyright formed part of the joint estate that might have to be divided between the husband and wife on their separation. Did literary property entail no more than the right to exploit a work commercially? Should this exclusive property right be included in the total estate to be divided where a regime of community of acquests had been agreed on in the contract of marriage? This question would, in accordance with earlier judicial decisions, be answered affirmatively by the Court of Cassation: thus, it seemed that the object of literary property was comparable to all other goods and assets. But on the other hand, the supreme judges asserted that the inclusion of the author's right of exploitation in the joint estate to be divided, and in a wider sense any transfer of the right of literary property at all, must not, though, lead to the author losing the right - a right which was "inherent in his very personality" - to control the integrity of his work. The Court of Cassation had therefore confirmed the author's moral right to his work, in a context where the definition of this right as such in terms of property was being called into question. Interpreted by some authors as the result of the jurisprudential vacillations of the time, and even as typical of a 'patchwork' of judicial decisions which emanated from fashionable contemporary doctrines about authorial subjectivity, the Court of Cassation's ruling in the Lecocq case nevertheless heralded the emergence of moral rights and of the 'dualist' conception of the author's right.


3. References

full commentary in preparation


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