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among the varied classes of the benefit of the American one. Let American literary laborers would be us look a little into the matter for ourbenefited by this species of tariff tax selves, and endeavor to get at the true now clamored for upon intellectual as right and reason of it. well as mechanical importation, it Before going further into “ the would certainly seem to be our unfor- bowels of the land”---before dealing tunate but disinterested selves. We with the higher elements of the questrust, therefore, that some of the long tion, in its moral aspects--we may as forgotten decencies of literary contro- well dispose of this meaner argument versy may be maintained toward us by of selfish expediency which seems to those who will probably lift up their be the leading idea of those who indignant hands in holy horror at our preach International Copyright from present backsliding; and that however ihe text of rights and inierests of damnably heretical in the notion we American authors. have ventured to assert in the opening I go to a publisher, says one of the words hereinabove writ, in phrase lauter class, but what chance have I of more emphatic perhaps than elegant, a favorable reception to my work, honesty of motive may obtain forbear: when he can have, to engross his capiance and forgiveness for hallucination tal and his business, as many of the of judgment.
best productions of the rich and active Let us look a little into this matter- mind of England as he chooses to and with our own eyes, and not with print, without either with your leave those of Mr. Carlyle, or Mr. Dickens, or by your leave to the author, for the or Mr. Talfourd, or any of the popular mere cost of a single copy in any English authors with whom, when bookstore in Paternoster Row. This they turn their eyes across the Atlantic, will be the answer which he will leave and behold their own vernacular dif- me to digest with the best stomach I fusing itself through these rapidly may, while cooling my heels at his growing millions over a new world, inhospitable door, until my starvation the wish for the privilege in question forces from me an unconditional subis naturally enough father to the mission to liis extortion, and he gets thought that it is a right. Let us not my book, even if he is willing to print be too hasty in assuming, because a it at all, on the same terms for which petition addresses itself to Congress he has the English one at his comwith an array of some of the most mand-i. e., for nothing, or next to it. illustrious names of living English Now, this reasoning is altogether a misliterature and science, as long and take. If our publishers, engaged in any luminous as the tail of a comel, that extent or activity of business, ever show therefore it must follow as a bounden themselves very reluctant to accept duty and necessity, for all desirous of the offer of manuscripts by American claiming a place within the sacred pale authors, the latter may depend upon it of the polite humanities, to adopt the that some very different reason lies at same doctrine, and unite with them in the bottom of the fact which seems to demanding from our government that them so unaccountable, whatever may “justice for these glorious foreigners, be the polite plausibilities with which which is the more attractive to our the civil bibliopole will perhaps gild imagination because clothed in the the unpleasant pill of his negative. garb of a gratuitous generosity. And The truih is, that in ordinary uimes, if ourselves, unfortunately, or fortu. when any kind of expansion of businately, dabblers in printer's-ink, let us ness can be ventured upon, instead of not be too easily misled by the spe- reluctance they are all eagerness to get cious argument of the protective school, good American manuscripts to pubwhich addresses our selfish interest by lish, because it is in them alone that urging that ihe foreign competition is they can find exemption from the destructive to the native production interference of rival editions. The and to the growth of a national litera- English book can be had on the same ture, because free from the restriction terms by a dozen enterprising competiof copyright; the addition of which, tors; and if it is at all popular, ihey by raising the price of the English book may wake up any fine morning and and restricting the freedom of its re- find their edition altogether cut out of publication, would operate as a tax for the market by the cheap form issued by
some poor printer in a neighboring more for our market, which in a few back-alley, who, with his journeymen years, with the rapid progress of our and apprentices perhaps idle on his population and the general diffusion of hands, is content to work for their and education, must greatly exceed their his own simple ordinary wages. From own in extent and importance. all this the publisher of the original So much, then, for that argument American work is secure, under the which addresses the selfish interests of shield of its copyright. He may get it our American literary classes, in the cut at his convenience; is not bound to manner we have now, we trust, once force off his thousand or two of copies for all refuted. No; if we want a with that hazardous haste which tariff of talent as well as of cotton-bagmust anticipate competition; and may ging-if, in books as well as in broadsafely fix a price somewhat above the cloths, the principle of the protective mere reimbursement of his mechanical policy is to be extended to this appliexpenses, relying upon time and merit cation too, for the purpose of forcing to work gradually off his not unprofit us to pay more for a superior foreign ably loaded shelves. All this is true article, to encourage the production of whether he publish the book for the an inferior domestic one--if the reason account of the author, or on the ordi- of our preference of Dickens or Bulwer nary and fair terms of a division of over Ingraham and any other name profits. His inducements in favor of you please, is simply that difference of this kind of business are still greater price which grows out of the difference when he can himself become the pro- between the two in our market in this prietor of the copyright. There is point of copyright-ifthis be so, it would nothing that more glads the cockles of be far better, so far as regards this aspect a publisher's heart-(publishers have of the question, to reach the object in hearts, as well as negroes souls) – view in the more usual mode of protecthan to behold in his account of stocka tive tariff legislation. fair array of copyrights; that is to say, enactment to that effect should have its bien eniendu, copyrights of saleable place as a section in the Tariff Bill; books,-and readable and saleable in and by imposing a certain suitably the nomenclature of the craft are con- regulated percentage on the selling price vertible terms. If our publishers could of the foreign republication--which only secure English copyrights, they might be collected from the publisher, would very soon be found to invest on ihe issue of every edition, either in nearly all their capital in them, and cash duties or credit bonds-the desired many an American writer who may tax on republication would contribute now complain of the time afforded him to the support of our own government to cool his heels at their doors, might instead of going beyond seas; the then wait till they were frost-bitten, copyright disadvantage of the domestic and for all his knocking it would not article in the market would be combe opened unto himn. So far from the pensated; while all the injurious, the present state of things operating to fatal effect upon the interests of Amerencourage foreign competition in our ican writers and American literature, home literary market
, to the injury of above explained as the necessary conthe interest of the American writer, sequeace of the proposed Internathe reverse is its effect. Far fewer tional Copyrighi law, would be English books are republished than avoided. would otherwise be the case; the Of course the reader has borne in market is left far more open to invite mind that we are speaking only to the and absorb the supply furnished by question of expediency under considernative labor and talent; and publishers ation, reserving for the present that of and authors are placed in a relation the moral right of the foreign author; far more favorable to the latter, than to the sacred recognition and protection if the former enjoyed that range over of which, however, if it shall indeed the broad and rich field of English prove to be antagonistic to this or any copyrights for the investment of their other apparent interest of our own, we capital, which would be afforded them are not only content but anxious that by the proposed measure ;-under the latter should be made to yield. which, moreover, English authors Viewed in the aspect here regarded, it would soon come to write more and seems indisputable, that instead of the
International Copyright being called still larger and larger sweep, and the for by the interests of American litera- multiplication of the number of profits ture and American literary men, the will be found to proceed faster than the reverse is most emphatically the truth; division of their individual amount. and that if any such compensating tax To the operation of this law there are on republication is necessary to equal- of course limits, which the combined ize the copyright disadvantage com- caution and enterprise of an upreplained of, in its effect on price, it had stricted freedom of trade will not better be put in the shape of a tariff generally be slow to find out with or excise duiy above suggested. tolerable correctness. Within the last
But to go a step further in this same few years the system of cheap publicaargument of expediency. Will the tion has made large and rapid steps addition of the author's remuneration, both in this country and England. It to the mechanical cost alone incurred has been but little applied among us in republication, so affect the price as to works of domestic production, bematerially to impair the fair chance of cause in the security of copyright competition on the part of the Ameri- monopoly—(we do not mean to use can book, assuming a fair equality of the word in any odious sense)—the merit? Granting that it might, under publishers have not felt that stimulus the old system of the book trade, that of competition which has constantly of small editions and high prices, urged further and further in the direc(though even then it is not certain but tion of cheapness those rival establishThat this difference would have its ments which have embarked in the compensations)-yet there is clearly business of republishing the free popuno force in this consideration under the lar English works of the day. Bui it new system which we see rapidly will undoubtedly extend itself to them springing up, and destined soon to likewise,—as in fact it has already subvert the old by a revolution which begun to do; witness the cheap form we hail with high satisfaction. The in which Cooper's novels have recently fact is, that our publishers are just been issued, twenty-five cents a vobeginning to open their eyes to the lume. Under the operation of this truth that their real interesi is not to system, we shall no longer have the raise their prices to the maximum that public for whom good books are a book will iolerably stand, but to bring furnished, by the combined labor of them down to the minimum which author and publisher, limited to a little will yield a very small surplus on aristocracy of readers of one or two each volume above the mechanical thousand enjoying the privilege of cost of a decent typography. In all possession, with another set of the these matters of general public conve inferior sorı” waiting humbly for their nience or entertainment-such as pub- more distant chance of possible perusal lic conveyances, exhibitions, postage, by loan from friends or hire from libranewspapers, &c., &c., including ninety- ries. Editions will be numbered by nine books in a hundred printed—as a thousands, where they before counted general rule every reduction of price, by tens or hundreds. The difference down to a certain limit, is accom- of price on the single copy to cover panied by an enlargement of the num- the cost of copyright, above the cost of ber of persons within whose ability the free foreign republication, will thus the thing in question is brought, in á be reduced to so small an amount as ratio much greater than that of the not to be materially sensible to the reduction. An arithmetical progres- individual purchaser; while, on the sion of the one will be accompanied other hand, the American author, truly by a geometrical progression of the entitled to popularity by merit, posoiher. If a certain number of persons sesses advantages of national sympacan afford to give a dollar for any such thy and patriotic pride on the part of purpose-the book, for instance-far the people, and on his own part those more than twice as many can afford to of adaptation of subject, and compregive a half-dollar; probably at least hension of the character and taste of four times, perhaps six or eight times his countrymen, which will more than as many. If the price be still further compensaie this difference of price, reduced to a quarter-dollar, the circle were it even much larger than it is of ability will continue to widen with likely to be.
Let it not be said that this new But these are as yet merely the first system of cheap publication which is rude experiments of the new system. now every day rising higher and higher Cheapness thus far has been the only into established strength and success, point looked to in it; and, for the kind must continue confined to the light of works to which it has yet been productions of fiction and fancy which applied, which no one reads a second have thus far chiefly engaged it. It is time, this form has been quite suffinot only susceptible of application to cient. They will soon improve in works of a higher tone and more per- neatness, and be issued in shapes better manent value, but is already beginning adapting them for preservation. The to be applied to them; witness the important improvements which every success of Liebig's Animal Chemistry, year is bringing forth in all the departfor instance, issued by the publishers ments of the mechanics of book-making of the “New World," to whom we will soon permit the issue of large consider the public gratitude in no editions of books of very respectable small degree due for having been appearance at prices litile, if at all, among the first and most enterprising beyond those for which we are now to start and stimulate this revolution asionished to get even these very in the book trade; and we have the unsightly and unsatisfactory producauthority of one of the greatest pub- tions of the press which are hawked lishing firms in the country (who have about the street-corners at a shilling themselves had the sagacity to see the or two a copy. And while wealth will tendency of the times, and to follow in still be able to gratify its taste for the direction of this new popular elegance and luxury, in richer editions movement in their own business), for of a comparatively small number of the belief that we shall before long in works immortal in their nature and this country witness the application of worthy of all such decoration, the great this new idea of the very cheap publi- mass of books will be published in such cation of very large editions, carried forms as will admit of these low prices to greater lengths in works of useful necessary to command a very wide popular science and information, than popular circulation. it has yet been in those of a character The interest of the American author comparatively trashy and ephemeral. is not, then, favorable to the proposed The book-trade at the present period measure, and the superficial arguments is in a state of great confusion; it is of expediency in his behalf which passing through a transition stage-a are urged, in coöperation with that kind of democratic revolution, as yet moral right asserted by the British scarce more than begun. We warn petitioners to the enjoyment of this the old members of the regular trade privilege, possesses no other force than that they cannot hold out against the one acting in the very opposite direccompetition of the new system. It is lion. It remains to consider this vain to imagine that they can arrest it alleged moral right, for our omission by petitions to Congress for an Inter- to recognize which "Mr. Dickens, Mr. national Copyright law, in the hope of Carlyle, and others, have thundered getting the possession and control of against us, as a nation, those denunthose books which are now thus pub- ciations which have awakened so lished at such rates as to make it many responsive reverberations on our impossible for them to sell a large part own side of the ocean. It is needless of their own stock on hand, except at for us to repeat that if it can be estabrates of reduction in price from the con- lished, every consideration of our own templation of which they shrink shud- interest-whether general, on the part dering. They must come into it them of the public enjoying the unrestrictselves, to organize, complete and im- ed and untaxed access to the best prove it. True, the present semi-news- treasures of the literature of the lanpaper form of most of the cheap publica- guage, or special, on the part of the tions, with their small type, inferior large manufacturing, mechanical, and paper, and careless typography, can commercial interests involved in the never satisfy the demands of the business of republication--must be public taste. It is not to be tolerated thrown to the winds, and justice be that these should be the only kind of done-whatever the cost or sacrificebooks that we are henceforth' to read. to the stranger as well without as within
our gates. This question may be another country, three thousand miles made plain enough in a very few across an ocean, a distinct political body? words.
He has certainly been richly enough May I not light my candle at my paid at home, in pecuniary reward as neighbor's lamp, without wrong to well as in public honor, for what he him or to my own conscience, if I can has done, to leave him but slender do so without intrusion upon him in ground on which to ask a return of the process, or inconvenience to him or mere volunteer generosity on our part his ? If he kindle a fire within his for the pleasure his admirable writings own domain and for his own pur- have afforded us. How is he injured poses, but in a situation where its heat if we do enjoy that pleasure, free as may reach me within the limits of his home market is left from intermine, may I not bask in the genial ference by our republications—that glow, without a moral obligation to market for which he writes; under the pay for it? If he rear for himself laws of which he derives all his legal å dwelling of noblest architecture, and rights and protection; and from which surround it with all the loveliness of he receives a most munificent compencultivated nature which wealth can sation? The case is precisely analocommand and art create, may not I gous to those we have supposed above. and mine gratify our taste by the He can only claim a right to such enjoyment of it all from the precincts return from us on the ground that one of our own humbler home, without human being can never have a right being required to erect, on my side of to receive good or pleasure, directly or the boundary, a wall which shall shut indirectly, from the labors of another, out the rays of the sun that bring even though nothing is withdrawn the image of the beauty he has built, from the latter in the process, without and the breezes of heaven that are a payment-and a payment in money, charged with the perfume of the setting out of view the reciprocal pleaflowers he has planted—a wall never sure of fame and of conscious beneto be transgressed by me without the faction. God forbid that so cold and payment of a toll or a tax to him ? wretched a principle of natural morals Or, to generalize the idea, when one should ever be either admitted or individual has created a good which is asserted! We once thought othersusceptible of multiplied reproduction, wise, but would now deny altogether to the benefit of others or of the whole the principle of a natural right of human race, without diminution of his literary property, absolute, exclusive, special enjoyment of his own, or any and perpetual. The inspiration which manner of interference with him, ac- speaks through the organ of the poet cording to all the rights and purposes or the philosopher, or which directs under which and for which he originally the ingenuity of the inventor, is not created it, is the principle of Property his own, nor has he any such right of so exclusive in its monopoly, as to forbid individual properly in that which it this unlimited diffusion of a blessing has at once commanded and taught him which God has chosen one man to be to give to the world, as to be free, for the minister of to the race? Perish the himself, his heirs, executors, adminis. base contracted selfishness of such a trators or assigns for ever, to do with principle!
it what may seem meet to him or To all these forms of putting the them—to destroy or suppress it, or same question, there can be but a single forbid access to it to the whole or any answer, which is also the righiful portions of the race. If this complete answer to this English demand for right of property existed, such as is American copyright. The English and must be contended for by the author-Mr. Dickens for instance, since International-Copyrightists, so long as he appears to stand at the head of this the right of hereditary transmission is movement-has written his book for held an inseparable incident 10 prothe large and liberal reading public of perty, it would follow not only that his own country, under the rights, for the whole world must be subject to a his compensation and protection, con- perpetual tax or tribute to the author ferred upon him by its institutions and of any great intellectual product, as a laws; how is he injured by the repro- Paradise Lost or a steam-engine, and duction and diffusion of the same in to his descendants, or those of the