« PreviousContinue »
abroad, and a fair chance to make authorship in America a self-supporting profession, instead of a by-calling at the end of a day's toil in other fields.
4. In justice to foreign authors, who are entitled to receive from Americans who read and benefit by their books the same fair payment an American would expect to make on any other article, as clothes or pictures, which he buys from foreign producers.
5. In order to widen the circulation of the best new literature, American and international, by the lessening of price which would ensue, in the case of original American books, from distributing the first cost among the greater number of copies for which sale would be secured among American readers if they were not diverted by the cheap reprints of poor English novels; and in the case of books of international importance, whether from American, English, or continental writers, by giving a basis of law to business arrangements for sharing the expense of production among the several nations interested.
which he makes. The man who earns his living by his brain asks only the same fair play that is given to the man who earns his living by his hands. A domestic copyright to the writer of a history of the United States or an international copyright to the writer of a history of England, debars no other author from writing a history of either country; it does not grant a "monopoly." The author asks only payment for the service he has done, and not for any restriction of the work of others; in fact, one reason for paying him is that it encourages others to write.
Every American citizen has a practical interest in this reform. We desire to impress upon Congress the fact that the public opinion of intelligent readers is in its favor. We ask each reader to do his part, either by joining the League, which welcomes readers as well as writers of books, or by signifying to its Secretary his willingness to sign the memorial for international copyright, or still better by writing at once to his Senators and Representative in Congress urging them to vote for such a measure. The League appeals to the honor, the patriotism, and the business common-sense of American readers in behalf of international copyright, and it believes that such an appeal will not be heard in vain by the American people.
We have been told that the American people will not grant this justice lest it might prevent cheap books." We believe, on the contrary, that the American people are willing to pay for what they get, and will agree that "there is one thing better than a cheap book, and that is a book honestly come by." But the example of France and Germany, countries whose literature is fully protected by international copyright, and whose books are the cheapest in the world, shows that the price of books depends not upon the copyright but upon the nature of the public demand. American readers want cheap books adapted to their special requirements. This demand will be met. Authors and publishers will profit by wider sales, though at smaller prices for the individual PRESIDENT CLEVELAND ON INTERNAbook. Any increase of price because of international copyright will be almost exclusively in the cheapest issues of foreign fiction, un-American and in many cases undesirable for American readers, while no copyright law can in any degree affect the prices of past or future editions of books already published. Translations of Zola's future novels may cost 50 cents instead of 25 cents, but as an offset for this misfortune, more American fiction will be sold, and cheap reprints of ephemeral English fiction will make way for decently printed editions, at a fair price, of American and the better class of new English novels.
We submit also that the term " monopoly," as used against copyright, is wrongly used. A monopoly, in the current sense of the word, is the setting apart by law of certain natural products or facilities, or of certain property of the commonwealth, which, in the absence of such a law, would be open to all. This does not apply to an author's control of his productions any more than to a shoemaker's control of the pair of shoes
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL, President.
(11 Pine St., New York),
From President Cleveland's Message, Dec. 6, 1886. THE drift of sentiment in civilized communities toward full recognition of the rights of property in the creations of the human intellect has brought about the adoption, by many important nations, of an International Copyright Convention, which was signed at Berne on the 18th of September, 1885.
Inasmuch as the Constitution gives to Congress the power "to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries," this Government did not feel warranted in becoming a signatory pending the action of Congress upon measures of international copyright now before it, but the right of adhesion to the Berne Convention hereafter has been reserved. I trust the subject will receive at your hands the attention it deserves, and that the just claims of authors, so urgently pressed, will be duly heeded.
New York City met in one of the parlors of Delmonico's, the following being present: J. W. Harper, W. H. Appleton, Charles Scribner, G. H. Putnam, Craige Lippincott and Henry Kimball of the J. B. Lippincott Co., Roswell Smith and Frank H. Scott of the Century Co., A. C. Armstrong, A. D. F. Randolph, Peter Carter, Wm. Wood, John Wiley, Gen. A. C. Barnes, Mr. Young of E. & J. B. Young & Co., C. A. Clapp of E. P. Dutton & Co., F. H. Dodd, S. Stokes, Mr. Baker of the Baker & Taylor Co., and Mr. Hulbert of Fords, Howard & Hulbert.
THE AMERICAN PUBLISHERS' COPYRIGHT LEAGUE.
ORIGIN AND ORGANIZATION.
THE last week in December, 1887, will long be remembered in the annals of the book-trade, in that it witnessed for the first time in a decade a coalition in body as well as in spirit of the representatives of all the leading publishing-houses of the United States. The heads of the publishinghouses gathered together to discuss what action could be taken in forwarding some measure that should procure a satisfactory international copyright law, and in what manner they might best co
operate with the authors and their Copyright League. Some action had been contemplated for a long time by the leading publishing-houses in New York as well as in other cities, and a call for a meeting would doubtless have been issued some time before the beginning of another year; but the present movement was stimulated, if not occasioned, by the following letter addressed to a number of publishers by the Secretary of the American [authors'] Copyright League :
"No. II PINE ST., NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 1887. "GENTLEMEN: We beg to suggest respectfully that at the present juncture it would be a great advantage to have an organization of the publishers at as early a day as possible, in order that we may have a conference regarding an International Copyright Bill and coöperate regarding its passage. Yours truly,
"GEORGE WALTON GREEN, Secretary." A call was accordingly signed by all the leading publishers of New York and Boston, and by
a few in other cities as follows:
We approve of the above suggestion from Mr. George Walton Green, in behalf of the Authors' Copyright League, and would name Thursday, December 29, for a meeting of publishers at Delmonico's, Madison Square, at 4 P.M.
"E. P. Dutton & Co., A. D. F. Randolph & Co., G. W. Dillingham, Robert Carter & Bros., J. B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia Robert Clarke & Co., Cincinnati; Cushings & Bailey, Baltimore; A. C. McClurg & Co., Chicago; Little, Brown & Co., Boston; Lee & Shepard, Boston; Ticknor & Co., Boston; A. S. Barnes & Co., The Century Co.. by Roswell Smith, president; F. A. Stokes & Brother, Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., Thomas Whittaker, Ivison, Blakeman & Co., Phillips & Hunt, George R. Lockwood & Son, The Baker & Taylor Co., Harper & Brothers, D. Appleton & Co., Charles Scribner's Sons. Dodd, Mead & Co., A. C. Armstrong & Son, G. P. Putnam's Sons, Henry Holt & Co., William Wood & Co., Estes & Lauriat, Boston; Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston; Roberts Bros., Boston; Charles L. Webster & Co., John Wiley & Sons, James Pott & Co., E. & J. B. Young & Co., Clark & Maynard, Sheldon & Co., Taintor Brothers & Co., estate of D. Van Nostrand, and Fords, Howard & Hulbert."
Mr. J. W. Harper Jr., called the meeting to order and stated the object for which the call had been promulgated. Congratulating Mr. W. H. Apnated him as chairman, which action was heartily pleton upon the recovery of his health, he nomiapproved. On motion of Mr. G. H. Putnam the D. F. Randolph, and Craige Lippincott as a Comchairman appointed Messrs. G. H. Putnam, A. mittee of Organization, which reported the following articles of organization:
I. The name of this Association shall be "THE AMERICAN PUBLISHERS' COPYRIGHT LEAGUE."
II. The object of this Association shall be to coöperate with American authors in securing international copyright.
III. The officers shall be a President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer, to be elected annually on the last Thursday in December.
IV. Membership shall be limited to American publishers who favor international copyright.
V. Each member shall pay twenty-five dollars dues on or before the monthly meeting on the entrance fee and twenty-five dollars for annual last Thursday in February.
VI.-Regular meetings shall be held on the last Thursday in each month. Members shall be notified of the meeting by the Secretary. Nine members shall constitute a quorum. Special meetings may be called by the President on the written request of seven members.
Mr. Putnam explained that the term 'publishers," as used in the article on membership, was understood by the committee to stand for publishing firms, and that while it would, of course, be desirable to secure the attendance, counsel, and coöperation of as large a number as possible of the members of the trade, in all decisions affecting the policy or actions of the League each firm would be entitled to but one
On December 27 publishers and others of Boston held a meeting, an account of which is given elsewhere. On the afternoon of the 29th the publishers of urer.
The meeting then proceeded to the election of officers.
By motion of Mr. J. W. Harper, seconded by Mr. Randolph, Mr. William H. Appleton was elected President of the League.
By motion of Mr. Kimball, seconded by Mr. Harper, Mr. G. H. Putnam was elected Secretary.
By motion of Mr. Harper, seconded by Mr. Dodd, Mr. Charles Scribner was elected Treas
Mr. J. W. Harper moved that “a committee of five be appointed by the President, who, together with the President, Secretary, and Treasurer, shall be an Executive Committee, with power to coöperate with a corresponding committee of the Authors' Copyright League to secure international copyright. The committee shall report to the League on the last Thursday in May, 1888, and before that time or thereafter as often as it may deem expedient. It shall have power to fill its own vacancies. It shall have charge of the funds of the League, and may employ counsel and such other assistance as may be necessary to attain the object of the League."
DEAR SIR: We are happy to see that the Pub
Mr. Wood moved the following addition to Mr. lishers of this city are taking steps to coöperate with the Authors' Copyright League in promotHarper's resolution : ing international copyright. Although we have not been invited to join in the movement, we desire to say that we are heartily in favor of an international copyright law, and desirous of doing all that lies in our power to forward any measure that will secure recognition of authors' rights, and compensation to them for the use of their property at home and abroad. Very truly, etc., GEORGE MUNRO. NEW YORK CITY, Jan. 10, 1888. To the Editor of The Publishers' Weekly.
"Before any action is taken by said committee by which the League could be committed to the support of any particular copyright measure, the provisions of said measure shall be reported by the committee to the League, either at a regular meeting or at special meeting called for the purpose.'
The amendment was accepted by Mr. Harper, and the resolution was then adopted.
The Chair appointed as such committee : Messrs. Joseph W. Harper, H. O. Houghton, Craige Lippincott, A. D. F. Randolph, and Dana Estes.
A general discussion then ensued, participated in by Messrs. Roswell Smith, Scribner, Clapp, Dodd, Kimball, Wood, Randolph, and others, concerning the advisable form for an international copyright law. This discussion made it apparent that, while there was some diversity of opinion as to the best provisions for an ideal measure there was a very general readiness to waive personal preferences in order to bring about concerted action in behalf of any bill through which might be secured the essential principles of the desired reform.
The meeting adjourned, subject to call.
prosperity of the American publishing trade is inseparably identified with the development of American authorship. Give us, in this country, the best authors, and our publishing-houses will have the best trade, no matter what the copyright law is. While we have our own preferences as to the kind of bill that should be drafted, we shall heartily favor any bill that your Authors' League may agree upon. Our confidence in the near future of American authorship is great enough to cause us to dismiss all anxiety at the removal of any special protection for the publishing trade in this FUNK & WAGNALLS.
NEW YORK, Dec. 30, 1887. George Walton Green, Esq., Secretary of the Authors' Copyright League.
DEAR SIR: I wish it understood that I most emphatically favor international copyright. We are all brothers and sisters, and one's right in the work of his brain is as good as another's. Faithfully yours, H. S. ALLEN.
Several meetings of the Executive Committee of the League were held at the house of W. H. Appleton, Esq., 3 Madison Avenue, one of them being a formal conference with the Executive Committee of the Authors' League, and a deputation consisting of Mr. G. H. Putnam, Secretary, and Mr. A. T. Gurlitz, counsel for the Publishers' League, and Dr. Eggleston, Chairman, and G. W. Ginn, Secretary and counsel for the Authors' League, had an interview with Senator Chace in Washington. To report progress and receive further instructions, the Committee convened a second meeting of the League at Delmonico's, New York, Saturday, January 21, 1888.
At this time the following publishers were enrolled as members of the League:
Amer. Publishing Co., Frank E. Bliss, Pres., Hartford, Conn.
Armstrong, A. C., & Son, 714 Broadway, N.Y.
explain that as they were already members af the Boston Copyright Association, they supposed it would not be necessary for them to give their
the same cause has doubtless operated to prevent certain other Boston firms, whom we know to be heartily in accord with our purpose, but from whom we have not heard, from sending in their
Fords, Howard & Hulbert, 27 Park Place, N.Y. subscriptions also for the National League, and
Lee & Shepard, Boston, Mass.
Munro, George, 17 Vandewater St., N. Y.
Stokes, F. A., & Bro., 182 Fifth Ave., N. Y.
Dodd, Mead & Co., 755 Broadway, N. Y.
W. H. Appleton, Esq., presided, and Mr. G. H. Putnam read the following report of the Ex
JANUARY 21, 1888.
The Secretary submits to the League, on behalf of the Executive Committee, the following report of its operations since the organization of the League on the 29th of December.
A brief report of the proceedings at this organization meeting, accompanied by a letter of explanation from the Secretary, and a form of subscription to the League, was forwarded early in January to some 400 firms whose names appeared on the Trade-list as publishers.
Among the subscriptions (accompanied by payments) which have been received are the following: From the music houses, O. Ditson & Co. From the subscription book publishers, Hubbard Bros. and Gebbie & Co., of Philadelphia, and the Amer. Publishing Co., of Hartford; and among the firms whose business interests have been largely concerned with reprinting, Messrs. Geo. Munro, The John W. Lovell Co., and J. B. Alden.
Thirty-one firms have returned the subscription blanks with their signatures. Twenty-three of. the firms whose names appeared in the original call have thus far failed to send in their signatures to the Secretary. The Secretary has, however, assumed that the part taken by these twenty three firms in the original organization was sufficient evidence of their desire to become members of the League, and has included their names in his roster, which now contains in all fifty-three firms. The Treasurer has received payment of initiation fees, and (with a few exceptions) of annual dues also, from twenty-eight firms, and will doubtless hear in due course from the others before the time specified for such payments in the articles of organization, the date of the February meeting. Messrs. Ginn Bros., of Boston, have written to
From Messrs. W. A. Evans & Bro., of Boston, the following response was received:
Sheldon & Co., 8 Murray St., N. Y.
Taintor Bros. & Co., 18 Astor Place, N. Y.
G. H. Putnam, Secretary, etc.
DEAR SIR: Our firm is not in favor of international copyright, is not prepared to coöperate in the efforts now being made to secure its establishment, and do not desire to be enrolled as a member of the American Publishers Copyright League, but will subscribe quite a little sum to prevent the consummation of your devilish plot.
W. A. EVANS & BRO., Boston, Mass
The Secretary has written letters to forty-four of the leading booksellers throughout the West urging the desirability of the formation of local Copyright Associations, or Committees, which might interest themselves in working up public opinion in their respective towns in behalf of the desired reform, and the secretaries of which might bring influence to bear upon the Congressmen of their States in behalf of pending, legisla
He has received a number of favorable replies to this suggestion, but finds that it will be easier for these local committees to get to work when the League has actually committed itself in behalf of some specific bill, to which such committees could refer, and for the support of which they could ask aid among professional men and other buyers of books.
The Secretary's correspondence has also made evident to him the desirability of securing in the work of our Association the active coöperation of leading booksellers throughout the country, whose business interests are as directly, if not as considerably, at stake as are those of the publishers.
As one step towards securing this coöperation, an 'Address to the Booksellers" has been drafted, which will shortly be put into print for general circulation.
The Executive Committee will be pleased to receive at this meeting such suggestions as may occur to those present concerning any practical means of associating the booksellers directly with the work of the League, and at the same time of avoiding as a result of such association any risk of confusing the work which the League has undertaken in presenting more particularly the opinions and requirements of the publishing interests.
In addition to the above "Address to the Booksellers," an address has been prepared by the American Copyright League (the authors' organization), which it is proposed to circulate, in the shape of leaflets or bookmarks, in the books distributed by the various publishing-houses.
It is supposed that it should be practicable in this way to reach within a short time a large number of readers and buyers of books, and such of
these as may be interested are requested to send in to their respective Congressmen, with their signatures, a brief petition, form of which will be annexed to the leaflet.
It appeared to us that the foreign author could, as a rule, if he attached importance to the value of the American market, delay for a month or two the publication of his book on the other side, The Committee regrets that these two addresses until he had had an opportunity of submitting duare not yet in shape to present at this meeting.plicate manuscript or duplicate proofs to publishers on this side, and that the number of works for which copyright need, be lost would probably diminish from year to year. Even if a certain number of desirable books should fail to secure protection, we thought that something definite could be accomplished if we could secure this protection for 95 books out of the 100, leaving the protection of the remaining 5 to be cared for at some later date.
Bearing in mind that the original suggestion for the coming together of the publishers was made at the instance of the Committee of the Copyright League of Authors, the Executive Committee decided that a conference with the re presentatives of these authors was among the first things to be arranged for.
The two committees (of the authors and publishers) have met in conference from week to week, having before them, as their more special purpose, the arriving at an agreement concerning the amendments that would be required in the Chace bill to render this acceptable to the two associations and to make it a practical working measure. At the conference meeting of these two committees held January 7, it was decided that to put this bill in shape to meet the several requirements two amendments would be essential, and your Executive Committee has framed these amendments and now reports the same for the approval of the League..
The Chace bill as now on the calendar provides that the entry for copyright of the title of a foreign work to be protected in this country shall be made simultaneously with the date of the entry in the country of its origin, and provides, further, that a term of three months subsequent to the date of such entry shall be allowed for the completion and publication of the American edition and the perfecting of such copyright by the deposit in the Congressional Library of two copies of such edition.
Under the present wording of the bill, in case the American edition required three months for its completion, the American reading public might be prevented altogether during, such term from securing any copies whatsoever of the work, whether American or foreign. If, on the other hand, the present wording should be modified so as to permit the importation during such term of three months of the original edition of said work, it would be possible for the foreign publishers, particularly those that work through American agencies, so fully to supply the American market with the foreign edition as to leave little possibility of securing at the end of such time, a remunerative sale for an American edition, and as to render of comparatively little value the American copyright,
Your Committee recommends the substitution for this clause one providing for the publication of the work in this country simultaneously with its publication in the country of its origin. It is recognised that such provision entails certain specific disadvantages, partly in connection with the possibility of loss to an unknown author of the copyright on his first book, for which he might not have been able to secure in advance an American (or an English) publishing arrangement, and partly in connection with the inconvenience to the American reprinter in being prevented from having such revision or additions made to a foreign work as might in his judgment render it better suited for the American market. These disadvantages, however, seemed to be not sufficiently important to outweigh the material advantages of the alternative plan, which corresponds, I may mention, with the provisions of the present English law.
The Chace bill, as now worded, further provides that after the entry for copyright of the titlepage of a foreign work, the importation of any copies whatsoever of said work shall be a misdemeanor. The purpose of this provision is, in conjunction with the clause providing that the book copyrighted shall be printed in this country, to insure the supplying of the American market with books of American manufacture. The difficulty of the provision is the injustice that would be done to certain classes of bookbuyers, particularly those among the scientific societies, colleges, libraries, etc,, who justly claim that they have a right to purchase the original edition in case such edition may be more effective for their educational work. If such a restriction should become law, it might easily happen that a scientific work published at two or three guineas and reprinted here in cheaper form (possibly with, a smaller selection of illustrations), at two or three dollars, would in its original form be absolutely unobtainable by American purchasers. The purchasers whose interests would be chiefly affected by this restriction, while possibly not comprising a very large group, are a group possessing very considerable influence through the literary and scientific press, and irrespective of our own sense of the justice of their position, it seemed to us that it would be very unfavorable for the prospects of the success of our copyright measure to antagonize this class of influence.
Our Committee has recommended as its substitute for this provision the equivalent prohibitory provision in the présent domestic act, section 4964 of the Revised Statutes.
Under this clause the importation of copies of foreign editions of American copyrighted books is also prohibited and made a misdemeanor, with the exception that such importation is permitted under authorizations from the author or holder of the copyright, such authorizations being in writing and bearing the names of two witnesses. The practical working, under the Custom House regulations, of this provision, renders necessary the attaching of these written authorizations to the importing invoice containing any such foreign copies. It is our opinion that this restriction, coupled with the mannfacturing clause and the provision for simultaneous publication, will carry out the main purpose of the bill in regard to supplying the American market with American editions, while it will also permit the importation under certain conditions of the limited number of copies of foreign editions which would be required by scientists, libraries, and others.
The authors acting in conference with us were unanimously in accord with the above recommendations, and these recommendations are now presented as the unanimous conclusion of your Executive Committee.