French book trade regulations, Paris (1665)

Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France : Mss. Fr. 22071 n° 107

French book trade regulations, Paris (1665), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Full title:
Decree and Regulations of the Council, relating to privileges and their prolongations, for the printing or re-printing of books, old and new alike.

Full title original language:
Arrest et Reglement du Conseil Touchant les Privileges & continüations d'iceux, pour l'impression ou reimpression des Livres tant anciens que nouveaux ; en faveur des Marchands Libraires & Imprimeurs des Villes de Paris, Lyon, Rouën, & autres du Royaume.

In 1665, that is just a few years after the letters patent of December 1649, a law-suit was instituted by Georges Josse, a Parisian bookseller, against a colleague from the city of Rouen, Clement Malassis, for the counterfeit of a work protected by a privilege which had been renewed in Josse's favour. This benchmark law-suit in the history of the French book trade gave rise to yet more discussions about the principles on which privileges were awarded and secured. Indeed, the Josse v. Malassis case made quite a stir in the world of the book trade and would continue to be cited frequently well into the eighteenth century by each side in the 'battle of the booksellers'. Moreover, the case as such went beyond the merely personal interests of these two booksellers, for both Josse and Malassis were supported by their respective guilds (with Malassis even being backed by the Lyonnais guild, too). At the end of the proceedings, on 27 February 1665, the Court of the King's Council sentenced Malassis to pay damages for counterfeit and passed its ruling in the form of a new set of regulations. These reflected the King's Council's policy of exclusive control over the book market, to the detriment of the Parlement of Paris. Moreover, they put an end to the contestations of the provincial printers and booksellers who suffered the most from the monopolies held by some of their Parisian counterparts, by confirming that the latter could obtain unlimited extensions to privileges for 'new' books, as well as renewals of privileges for 'ancient' works under conditions which were left rather vague. This new phase in the consolidation of the Parisian monopolies would contribute to the inevitable 'enervation' of the book trade in the provinces.

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Related documents in this database:
1649: Book trade regulations
1686: Book trade regulations
1603: Venetian Decree on Privileges for New Books and Reprints

Author: N/A

Publisher: N/A

Year: 1665

Location: Paris

Language: French

Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France : Mss. Fr. 22071 n° 107

Persons referred to:
Bechet, Denis
Berthelin, Jean
Beuvelet, Matthieu
Bignon, Jérôme
Boucherat, Louis
Boulanger, Jean
Boulley, Jean
Caumartin, Louis-François Lefebvre de
Courbé, Augustin
Cramoisy, Sébastien
Douceur, David
Du Bray, Jean
Du Bray, Toussant
Estienne, Antoine
Garde, Hierosme de la
Geoffroy, David
Hamillon, Nicolas
Huguetan, Jean Antoine
Josse, Georges
Louis XIV
Maissat, Pierre
Malassis, Clement
Mettayer, Pierre
Motte, Pierre de la
Ormesson, Olivier Le Fèvre d'
Ouyn, Adrien
Petit Val, David du
Ravaud, Marc Antoine
Renouard, Nicolas
Serres, Olivier de
Varennes, Olivier de
Viret, Jean

Places referred to:

Cases referred to:
Cramoisy v. Courbé et Berthelin (1659)
Cramoisy v. Ravaud (1663)
Cramoisy v. de la Garde, Huguetan et Ravaud (1660)
Josse v. Malassis (1665)
Seigneur de Pradel v. Rouen Guild of Booksellers (1610)

Institutions referred to:
Chambre syndicale des libraires et imprimeurs (Paris)
Chancery of France ('Grande Chancellerie')
Hôpital Général (Paris)
King's Council of State (France)
Lyon Guild of Booksellers and Printers
Parisian Guild of Booksellers and Printers
Parlement of Paris
Parlement of Rouen
Rouen Guild of Booksellers and Printers
University of Paris (Sorbonne)

Charte aux Normands 1315
Decree of the King's Council (1665), regulating the French book trade
Royal Letters Patent of 1649

Reformation, the
duration, prolongation of privileges
immoral works
licensing, Approbation
licensing, Imprimatur
penalties, paid to publisher(s)
privileges, French
privileges, printing
public domain
public good
religious works

Responsible editor: Frédéric Rideau

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