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affection, shall continue in the parties so entitled for the same terms; that copyright, subsisting partly in the author or his personal representatives, and partly in his assigns (by sale), shall a.so continue for the same terms, and belong to the author and the assignee, in the same proportions as the copyright actually subsisting; and that copyright which has been absolutely assigned shall endure (as it would do under the present law) for the term of twenty-eight years and of the author's life, if he survive that term, and no longer.*
These are the leading provisions of the Bill which will soon be again before Parliament. Some remarks on its minor details, and on the objections which have been made to it in general, I have thrown into a note, which will be found in the Appendix. In this place I merely Appenobserve, that the chief objections to the Bill are strangely contradictory. Mr. Hume (whom I hope to see on the other side of the question, when he shall have had leisure to consider the measure in all its bearings,) objects to it only as tending to raise the price of books to the Debate of, public. A large body of booksellers and publishers Sess. 1838. object to it, as tending at once to injure them, and as of Parliaconferring "no possible benefit on the author.”+ And, ment. as if to sum up the whole, Mr. Mudie objects to it at The Copyonce, as tending to injure one class of authors--those right Ques
tion, p. 47, who compile or abridge, by prolonging the duration and
et passim. enhancing the price of the books of another class—those who publish works of original thought; and also as tending to benefit booksellers at the expense of the public, because (and here I apprehend an important light is really let in upon the question) now they illegally combine "to support each other in their several monopolies, Ib. p. 16.
* This was an alteration made in the Committee.
+ See their Petition, and also the paper entitled Objections to a Bill, &c. circulated amongst the members last session.
especially those in which they have joint interests, so as to keep up the monopoly against the public long after the legal expiry of the copyright;" and that, after the passing of the Bill, they would be enabled to do this by law. But, notwithstanding, he too elsewhere contends that the Bill would not raise the price of copyright.
Now, whatever be the value of some of these objections, they cannot all be sound, for they necessarily destroy one another. Either there will be an increase in the prices of books, or there will not: if there be, the increase must pass either into the pocket of the author, or into the pocket of the publisher; in either case the public, not the publishers, have to complain. And the public can have no cause of complaint if it be true that an author's manuscript is his absolute property, it being the interest of the public to maintain the rights of property intact; and if this be untrue, still there will be no cause of complaint on the part of the public, unless it be also untrue that the public would gain more by a possible increase of the rewards of original authorship than they would lose by the additional tax on the price of books. *
For it is to be remarked, that the opponents of the proposed measure, however they may shift about their other assumptions, invariably keep to these two :-first, that the matter in hand is not the (partial) protection of a right of property, but is a bargain made by the State to induce authors to write books pro bono publico; and, secondly, that authors are people invariably possessed of two peculiarities (amongst others)—the one, that they write always for fame and never for profit (and therefore ought not to have any); the other, that they are so
Objections, &c. p. 1. Mudie, passim.
* If we take the remaining dilemma, and say that, by a mistake in the Bill, this additional tax will go into the publishers' pockets instead of the author's, then let the Bill be amended.
anxious for profit, that as soon as they have the power, they will put such high prices upon their books as greatly to confine the circulation of them.
Such are some of the objections to Mr. Talfourd's hill, for partially protecting the copyright of books. I pass on to the subject of PRINTS.
And with respect to prints, the present question is 2. Prints. not so much one of period,-(although, without doubt, this ought not to be less than for books,) as of real and therefore cheap protection. The evidence of Mr. Cheap tri
bunal. Martin, before quoted, is very significant on this point. An expensive process, whether in law or equity, is no remedy at all. It is in evidence that all the " satisfaction" obtained by this means in very flagrant cases of Ante, p.51. piracy, is “heavy law expenses.” Ought this to continue?
The first bill introduced by Mr. Sergeant Talfourd on the subject of copyright, contained the following provisions for prints,* which it was deemed expedient (mainly, I believe, by the advice of Sir Robert Peel,) to omit in the second bill, for the sake of simplifying the discussion, and of giving opportunity for a comprehensive investigation of the subject of copyright in works of art generally,--but as yet nothing has been done.
By that bill it was proposed to continue all subsisting Provisions copyright in engraved prints, for the same term as at as to prints present, but giving the proprietor of such copyright the fourd's first same remedies for infringement during such term as were
in Mr. Tal
* It may be observed, that the act which has just been passed to enable the Queen in council to extend copyright to the works of foreign authors published abroad, on condition of a reciprocal extension in the respective countries of such authors, in favour of English books, (although it includes “maps, cbarts, or plans,”') does not include prints. Yet it is highly de, sirable that there should be an international copyright in this respect also, See Mr. Martin's evidence, already quoted.
proposed to be given to the proprietors of future copyright arising under the new act.
It was further proposed to enact that any engraved print, made for the painter thereof, being also the proprietor, shall have copyright for the same term as the bill proposed to grant to authors of books, namely, sixty years;—that a print from any picture, not previously engraved, made by an engraver with written licence from the painter, being also the proprietor, shall have the same term, and any future licence be void; and so of a picture, not before engraved with consent of the proprietor, which shall hereafter be engraved with such consent, together with that of the painter (if he be living.) And finally, the same term was given to the engraver of any print of original design.
It was also provided, that the copyright in the print from a picture belonging to a public institution should be in the first engraver thereof; all persons being at liberty to make and publish other engravings from such picture.
The provisions for registration at Stationers' Hall, were the same as those proposed for books; two copies of every engraved print being deposited, one to be kept at Stationers' Hall, the other at the British Museum.
The remedy proposed to be given for piracy, or for importation of piratical copies, was an action on the case for damages, as in the case of books.
But still there was no provision for that essential feature in all real protection, a cheap and simple process before a competent and accessible tribunal.
This, however, being the want not of the engraver alone, but also of the sculptor and the manufacturer, will be treated of more at large presently.
It has been seen that the defective protection of works of SCULPTURE arises as well from the want of clearness
and comprehensiveness in the terms of the subsisting statutes, as from the inadequacy of the remedies which they profess to afford. The first step towards improve- i. Consoliment is carefully to revise these statutes, and consolidate dation of them into one law; the next is to establish a cheap ii.Registraand uniform system of registration.
tion, With reference to the present period of protection for works of this class, I am not aware that there is any complaint of its insufficiency for practical purposes, were it made real. But, not unnaturally, the absolute uselessness of any law uncombined with that cheap and competent tribunal so repeatedly insisted upon, would seem to have diverted attention from this part of the subject.
But, regarded in all its results, the want of protection for the various kinds of Designs or PATTERNS applied 4. Patterns. to manufactures, appears to be the most hurtful of all; and, as might have been expected, it is in this department that the dishonest and unprincipled have taken most advantage of the defective state of the law. To copy another man's design of a piece of silk or lace is even more easy than to mould from another man's bust, and is often much more profitable, as we have already had occasion to perceive.
The witnesses examined by the Commons' Committee on Arts and Manufactures agree, for the most part, in stating that the essential requisites of any efficient system of protection for this class of designs are fourfold:
A period of protection, varying according to the i. Period of nature of the design, and of the fabric in which it is to
protection, be executed : e. g. a period of six months may be sufficient for simple designs in printed cottons ; but not less than twelve months will adequately protect designs in silks ; and some designs of a splendid and expensive cha- Arts' Evid. racter in bronze and iron will require three years, one 387.