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Rules for Printers and Book Merchants' Guild in Madrid , Madrid (1763)

Source: Archivo General de Simancas, GYJ-979

Rules for Printers and Book Merchants' Guild in Madrid , Madrid (1763), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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Chapter 1 Page 1

            of the Printers and Book Merchants'
            Guild in Madrid
            on the 24th day of July
            of this year 1763.
      Printers and book merchants, having
      known the Royal Judgment of 22
      March of this year which, including
      other aids that his piety deigned to grant
      for developing the Art of the Press and
      Book Trade, which is so fragile in these
      kingdoms, and which foreigners have
      enjoyed up until now; and having
      abolished all the privileges that
      regular and secular communities
      have enjoyed to date, which are said
      to be mortmain, therefore the art and
      book trade is to be restored. And as
      we want to contribute so that Your
      Worship's pious ends

Chapter 1 Page 2

      have an effect and from we hope for
      further graces with which we can en-
      courage printers and develop this trade,
      and the public can benefit from better
      prints and moderate prices: both
      interested parties have agreed to
      establish a guild supporting and
      taking this trade forward in accordance with
      the following rules:
      This guild will accept all printers
      and book merchants from these
      kingdoms, who have their own
      press and public bookshop and
      officials from both arts who would
      like to be interested in trading and
      printing that until now have been
      halted by privileges granted to
      communities or mortmain,
      abolished now by the said
      Royal Order of 22 March 1763. This
      Order releases other books so that
      each of these printers and book mer-
      chants may print them with the

      necessary licences; and authors may
      print the works they write for their
      account. The guild has the right and
      faculty to make a first offer for the
      privilege, that they pass to any individual,
      as it is granted by Your Worship to the
      printers, who then give it to the guild.
      That this guild must not be only limited
      to printing the books for which Your
      Worship has abolished privileges, by
      extending printing to all Spanish authors
      that hitherto have been introduced by
      foreigners, in order to avoid withdrawing
      fortunes. May your Royal spirit be verified
      by this art and trade flourishing within
      your domains. In mutual agreement with
      other officials from this guild, the Director
      should select the books to be printed,
      maintaining plurality votes, and for this
      purpose, both interested groups should
      appoint two representatives, who run for
      such election.
                              A2                              III

Chapter 1 Page 3

      That every share of this guild
      must occupy one thousand five
      hundred reales of parchment,
      so that those with less wealth,
      may also become interested. A period
      of four months counted from the day
      this guild is constituted is given to
      them and after that time, they shall
      not be admitted.
      That the owners cannot take out
      of these shares and they can only
      concede or sell them after advising
      beforehand who wants them for
      their fund. Therefore, this must be
      referenced, otherwise the requirement
      will be void for its sale.
      That, as the book trade is vast
      due to the amount of works that
      can be printed from all faculties,

      and for which it is necessary to spend
      large amounts of resources, and
      because some printers do not
      have sufficient enough at the present
      time to become suddenly interested
      in this guild; and as the purpose of the
      guild is to develop a framework for
      everyone to earn the profit it produces,
      so they are not excluded from it,
      undoubtedly they shall receive a discount
      on the works for which they are
      commissioned, (made to the Directors'
      satisfaction) up to the capital of eight
      shares, which they must settle in full
      within one year. If this is not reimbursed,
      they shall give them in shares for whatever
      they have accrued. They have another alter-
      native, which is to settle whatever remains
      in money.
      That the printers mentioned who are
      interested in this guild and entrust it with
      a work, as they are in this court, they must
      settle on a weekly basis the sheets
      they deliver to chapels, according to the
      adjustment of each,

Chapter 1 Page 4

      who must leave at least a quarter of
      the amount for the discount of the
      shares in which they are interested.
      The rest will be paid internally by the
      bookkeeper for payment to the
      treasurer, and on completing the work,
      the directors shall dispatch one from
      the total, gathering precedents, for good
      account and reasons. In addition,
      printers from other cities of the kingdom,
      to whom a work has also been entrusted
      in order to satisfy the shares they are
      interested in, they should send samples
      of the letters and paper upon which
      they want their printing. They must pay
      for this in full and they cannot have it
      without an order from the Directors,
      who reside in this court.
      That on completion of the printing of
      any book, the directors must accept it
      before releasing it from the press; and
      having done this and finding it to be
      acceptable, the shareholders shall be
      notified so that each one can take out
      what they need, paying the amount to

      the treasurer, who shall issue a receipt
      (harebuenos) for the amount
      to the printer. He shall hand it to the
      bookkeeper. These shall constitute the
      treasurer's charge and the printer may use
      them as data.
      That book merchants, who are suddenly
      not interested in paying with money, may
      equally pay eight shares, which they give
      to the printers by the way of the books they
      have printed, and which can be dispatched
      if they are to the Directors' satis-
      That the books this guild prints must be
      on fine paper, capelladas or similar paper,
      (following your worship's order) and
      the best (quality of) printing, which shall
      be distributed among the shareholders,
      according to what each one customarily

Chapter 1 Page 5

      What the book merchants' guild
      has printed hitherto, must be
      organized practically as it is
      abolished from the day the guild
      was started.
      For governing this guild, five directors,
      a bookkeeper, secretary, treasurer, and
      warehouse keeper must be appointed
      for both groups. The directors are in
      charge of applying for licences, purcha-
      sing paper, adjusting the printing,
      and throwing away sheets, and other
      trade-related matters. The bookkeeper
      shall do the accounts, and according to
      purchases and adjustments, make the
      drafts, take note of them, and calculate
      the annual accounts. The secretary is in
      charge of the correspondence with
      the interested parties outside the court,
      as agreed with the directors; write the
      agreements in their books,
      en los Libros de ellos, and take custody
      of the papers belonging to this guild.
      The treasurer shall perceive the funds,
      and deliver the amounts by virtue of
      payments signed by two directors,

      and once the bookkeeper has noted
      them, they shall be issued and receipts
      shall be given for the books that are
      finished, so the printers can deliver
      them. The warehouse keeper shall
      perceive and take custody of the books
      that are left over after distributing them
      among the shareholders, and sell
      them in paper by the dozen at the
      acceptable prices indicated to him, and
      deliver the produce monthly to the
      treasurer, taking the relevant receipt
      for this and annually submitting his
      accounts to the bookkeeper.
      That as it is necessary to print many
      books for Your Worship has abolished
      their privileges and for which we hope
      you will grant us your Royal piety for
      better developing this art and trade,
      and for which large amounts of funds
      are required, which printers and book
      merchants of this guild cannot suddenly
      put together, due to the current
      economic situation;

Chapter 1 Page 6

      it would be convenient if you could
      support this huge enterprise by taking
      a maximum three per cent interest.
      This amount of money is necessary for
      guaranteeing the security of the shares
      of all interested parties. This would give
      the directors the relevant powers for it.
      That in order to know the economic
      situation of this trade, an annual
      sample shall be taken of everything
      that has been printed, its product and
      the printing utensils and devices, and
      every three years, an interested parties'
      general meeting shall be held to show
      the progress and usefulness that have
      ocurred, and if applicable, these shall .
      be divided.
      That the absent interested parties of
      this guild may delegate and give power
      to any of the interested parties in this
      court, and to on one else, so he may
      vote at the general meetings.

That for the present time, and until the
first General Meeting is held, none of
the directors, bookkeper, secretary,
treasurer, and warehouse keeper shall
not perceive any salary. They will be
given a gratification for their work,
according to the (economic) worth they
have produced in three years. The esta-
blishment will regulate this; and by the
rule, this will continue hereinafter, as a
stimulus for other directors and officials
who will follow in the future.
That at the interested parties' general
meeting, the directors and the rest of
employees can be changed, by plurality
votes. If some consider it suitable for
the progress of the guild to change
anyone, the person elected should be
selected from practical and intelligent
persons in this trade, proven and
skilful for management, and interested
in this guild.

Chapter 1 Page 7

      I hereby certify that having informed
      of the content of these fifteen chapters
      chapters, or preceding rules, for the
      good government of this guild, they
      are read aloud twice, in an intelligible
      voice in my presence, all in mutual
      agreement, and having voiced their
      approval, they asked me, the notary
      present, to insert them in this deed
      which they obliged, and obliged
      everyone interested in the shares of
      this guild, to keep and guard them.
      They must be complied with in full,
      and by everyone, as contained in each
      and everyone of them, granting by
      concession the corresponding powers
      paper purchases, printing adjustments,
      engraving sheets, and stamping them,
      preferential right to buy privileges, and
      whatever it is necessary for the
      management and trade of this guild,
      with the special power and faculty,
      required by law, that could and should
      be sufficient to prepare a census of the
      amount of maravedís necessary for
      printing and purchasing paper, or

      deemed appropriate for the increased
      stock and trade of this guild, not ex-
      ceeding their incomes by three per cent,
      which they can grant for the deed,
      compulsory deeds in favour of the
      person or persons giving it, whether
      secular or regular communitie. They
      will be obliged; as we oblige them by
      this document, for the capital of all the
      shares of the interested parties in this
      guild, with the prints and privileges
      they have and will have hereinafter,
      without any restrictions whatsoever,

Chapter 1 Page 8

                  this guild:
      Mr. Francisco Manuel de Mena, empo-
            wered by both communities.
      Mr. Antonio Sanz, empowered by
            both communities.
      Mr. Alfonso Martin de la Higuera.
      Mr. Manuel Lopez de Bustamante.
      Mr. Francisco Fernandez.
      Mr. Manuel de Pinto.
      Mr. Antonio Piferrer.
      Mr. Valentin Frances.
      Mr. Antonio Perez de Soto.
      Mr. Angel Corradi.
                  WAREHOUSE KEEPER
      Mr. Juan de Esparza.
                  MEETING DEPUTIES
      Mr. Bernardo Albera.
      Mr. Gabriel Ramirez.

      Dear Sir, At the general
      meeting held on the twenty-
      fourth of July this year, the two
      printers and book merchants'
      communities of this court
      granted a public deed up to
      forty-eight individuals, by which
      they constituted a guild under
      the above chapters for the purpose
      as stated. At the same act, they
      appointed directors and other
      officials for its government, and
      I was appointed as the secretary,
      in compliance with what is
      stated in the first chapter. The
      management have ordered me
      to notify Your Worship, who

Chapter 1 Page 9

      advise me of its receipt and
      indicate how many shares are
      of your interest, the capital of
      which should be given to Mr. Ángel
      Corradi, the treasurer appointed by
      the guild, within four months. This
      finalizes on 25th November this
      May God protect Your Worship
      many years, as we desire, Madrid,
      5 August 1763.
                                    B.L.M de Vmd.
                                    Valentin Francès.
      Mr. Antonio Muñoz del Valle

Translation by: Kay Leach


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