Lang Law is the informal name given to French law number 81-766, from 10 August 1981, which establishes a fixed price for books sold in France and limits price discounts on them. The law is named after Jack Lang, the French Minister of Culture responsible for creating the law.
Until 1979 fixed prices of the books on the French market were maintained as a result of voluntary agreement between publishers and booksellers. In 1979 decrees forbidding such practices were issued by René Monory, french Minister of the Economy at the time.
Repealing of Monory's reforms of the book market, in order to protect small, traditional booksellers from competition of big stores and chain retailers (such as Fnac), was part of François Mitterrand's electoral program during presidential campaign in 1981. After Mitterrand won the election he appointed Jack Lang as the new Minister of Culture and tasked him with creating a law proposal for a law establishing mandatory fixed book price. In August 1981 French parliament voted unanimously in favor of the law proposed by Lang.
Contents of the law
The Lang Law works as follows:
- The publisher decides on a price for its book and is obliged to print it on the back
- Retailers (professional booksellers and other, nonspecialized sellers), are not allowed to sell a book for a discount more than 5% below the price set by the publisher.
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- Corpet, Olivier (2006). Le Prix du livre, 1981-2006 - La loi Lang. IMEC. pp. 18–19.
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