Balzac and Copyright Protection

  At No. 38, Rue Saint-Jacques in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, the French capital, there is a three-storey building, located in a courtyard with green grass and lush trees. It is called the Duke of Massa Residence. Although this building is not conspicuous, the large characters on its door – “French Writers Association” are particularly eye-catching. Here is the seat of the famous French copyright management agency for the protection of text authors. The 19th-century French writer Balzac was one of the main founders of the association.
  When I first walked into the solemn hall of the association, I was immediately attracted to the statue of Balzac, who was calm and thoughtful. In different rooms, many pictures and sketches of other famous French writers familiar to our Chinese readers are hung on many walls, but Balzac is the most popular. The huge tapestry hanging on the front wall of the conference room of the association is the portrait of the main founders of the French literary association such as Balzac, Hugo, Dumas, George Sand, etc., but the central figure is still Balzac.
  Why is Balzac’s image everywhere in this copyright collective management agency? I posed this question to the enthusiastic host. The host told me a vivid and meaningful story:
  Balzac made a living by writing, and he went through twists and turns. With his perceptive sharp eyes and penetrating writing, he thoroughly exposed the old French system. Balzac’s “Human Comedy” was called “the social encyclopedia”, and Engels once called him “the master of realism”. Many of Balzac’s works, such as “The Old Man” and “Eugenie Grandet”, are the works of many readers in the treasure house of world literature.
  In April 1830, two volumes of “Scenes of Private Life” in Balzac’s Comedy on Earth were published. To this end, he was greatly encouraged and decided to move forward towards his predetermined goal. However, he was deeply concerned about the situation of French literary creators. Although France’s “Performance Decree” promulgated in 1791 and the “Reproduction Decree” promulgated in 1793 established the principle of copyright, plagiarism, plagiarism, and imitation of other people’s works still abound. Of course, Balzac’s works are also subject to plagiarism by others.
  On August 1, 1833, Balzac wrote in a letter to Madame Hanska: “The European Literature, which depicts a soldier of the Royal Guard narrating Napoleon’s life in a farm barn, is a copy of my “Literature of Europe”. An important passage from the Village Doctor… They are stealing my honour and my money. I poor man!”
  So, a few months later, Balzac published a letter to 19th-century France in the Paris Journal The author’s open letter, once again addressing the above issues. Not only did he describe the process of how writers became victims, but he also called for them to unite in the struggle. “The way out,” he wrote, “is in ourselves. In the recognition of our rights, in the recognition of our strengths against each other. We are to organize, as the playwrights, into an association for the noble interest.” (1777, by The great French dramatist Beaumarchais initiated the establishment of an association to protect the rights of drama writers.)
  On the initiative of Balzac, on December 10, 1837, a gathering of 54 French writers passed the plan for the establishment of the French Writers Association. On April 16, 1838, the Association of French Writers was officially proclaimed. Since its establishment, the association has always aimed to defend the rights of authors. The role and status of the association will be confirmed by the relevant French laws.
  In 1883, to commemorate Balzac’s great achievements in French literature, and to thank him for his active efforts to protect the rights of literary creators and to promote the establishment of the Society of Writers, it decided to invest in sculpting a memorial statue for him. . The first sculptor failed to complete his task and died in 1891. Rodin was later selected to complete this task. In his seven-year work, Rodin changed his ideas many times, and finally chose the look that he thought best represented Balzac’s characteristics: looking up in the sky, disheveled, his body wrapped in a large nightgown and leaning back slightly . He wanted to use this form to express the moment when the author of “Comedy on Earth” was hiding because of his debts. In order to achieve satisfactory results, Rodin used the technique he was good at to express power through the human body, and carved nearly 20 statues of Balzac, delaying the date set by the Society of Writers for the completion of the statue for many times. However, when Rodin presented his work at the Salon of 1898, criticism and attack awaited him. The Society of Writers rejected it and recommissioned it.
  But true art stands the test of time. The achievements of the master are indisputable. At the appeal of many French literary creators, on December 1, 1950, the staff of the Rodin Museum solemnly presented the replica of Balzac carved by Rodin to the Society of French Writers.
  After telling the story of the statue of Balzac, the master paused, put a storybook about French writers in my hand, and told me that France is the birthplace of copyright, about Balzac and other writers protecting the author There are many stories of rights. Despite the passage of time, however, Balzac is eternal, and the work of protecting copyright is long-term.