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upon the estimation in which the re- in the copyright granted in various sult of the labor is held by society, for countries admits of a question. whom it was performed:-or, in other therefore only remains to consider the words, the value which society seis doctrine that “no member of one poilupon the work.
tical body or system can have the right The error before alluded to seems to to demand it from the government of have led to the remark, that
another, unless by a transfer of resi“No country has dreamed of protecting the pale of its protection, and the scope
dence he should bring himself within the copyrights or parentrights of other countries. It is a right entirely the crea
of its internal policy." ture of legislation, local, special, and con
The claim for International Copyventional, founded partly on the equity of right has bui recently been urged; ihat remuneration to the author and his imme. it has not hitherto been acted on uncoodịate family, under the authority of that ditionally by any government, is no argovernment of which he is a subject, and gument against its justice. While aupartly on the consideration of that expedi- thors were content with the parrow ency which dictates that such privilege and restricted protection, or right of should be conferred on him and his—for a property, or remuneration, limjied to term not too long to conflict with the gene- ihe country of which, by the accident ral interest of the community—as an in- of birth or the choice of residence, ducement to him and to others, super- they were citizens, copyright laws of added to those other and higher moral in- those countries may be considered as fluences which bid him speak for the same reason that the bird sings, the flower tion for which their respective auihors
determining the amount of compensablooms, and the star shines.”
were content 10 toil and labor; and thus We would merely add on this point, the mutual claims of society and authat the laws of this country, which thors were limited to, and satistied by, are founded on the English copyright the grant of copyright from the gosstatutes, are a distinct and positive ernment under which they lived. The recognition of the principles for which claim on society being thus satisfied, we contend, not founded on expediency, we can perceive po objection to the rebut on natural justice. In England publication of their works in another the natural right of properiy of an au. country, so long as such republication thor in his works, appears to have been does not deteriorate the value of the recognized to a greater extent than in copyright property thus acquired. But this country. There, a majority of the if, by any cause resulting from such judges in the highest common law republication, the value of the national court, recognized the principle of an copyright is diminished, that diminuabsolute and perpetual right; and al- tion is an infringement of the author's though their decision of the case in property, a deprivation of so much of which the point arose was subsequent- the remuneration for his labor, and a ly reversed on appeal, yet the Court of wrong against which he has a just Appeal, in order, as it would seem, to claim for redress. guard against the possibility of miscon It is true that up to the present time struction, declared the reversal to be all nations have, in this instance, sanc. founded on the fact, that the statute in tioned the selfish policy of thus approforce having enacted that an author priating the labor of foreign authors, should be entitled to copyright in his but it has been done with the facit works for a defined period, and no long- consent, or sanction, of the parties iner; the more extended claim, if it ever terested. Authors have slept upon existed, was abridged by the statute, their rights, and as "vigilantibus, non and that all remedy for its violation dormientibus, servit lex,” they can after the prescribed term was thereby have no just cause of complaint for taken away.
what is past. The demand being, how. It is not material, for the present pur- ever, made in America and throughout pose, to consider whether an author has Europe, has now to be met, and granta natural and perpetual right of proper- ed or denied, on the principle of right ty, or only a claim for compensation. and justice. That he has either the one or the other, If an author has any natural right cannot, we think, be doubted; nor do of property in his works, or claim on we conceive that his absolute property society for remuneration for his labor,
we conceive that it must be co-exten- vidual born and living in a small com-
“ Individuals may, if they choose, voleven to national copyright, would dis
unteer to a great foreign author from appear “at one fell swoop, ” and be whose labors they have derived pleasure alone of all the human race be left and instruction, any tribute of their gratiwithout any natural right to benefit by tude they choose—a far more sensible and the fruit of his toil and labor.
acceptable mode of expressing their senLet us suppose the case of an indi- timents, by the way, than by public
balls and dinners. We do not doubt, stances then existing would have been that in the hour of Scott's need, a large the offering alluded to, and honorably sum might have been raised for him in
as he might have accepted it, we re this mode, which it would have been as joice that his proud and noble spirit of honorable for the one party to receive as independence was not put to the trial. for the other to give. Or if the experi- The brightest page in his history is ment were tried by any of our publishers, that on which is recorded his triumph enjoying the public respect and confi. dence, of issuing the same edition of any shattered, or his arm paralyzed by mis
over adversity. Had his intellect been new work by a popular English writer at two prices, the one a little more than the fortune, his writings would still have other, as a species of gratuitous author's raised an eternal monument to his benefil-some imprint on the title-page fame, and his memory would hare distinguishing between the two-a very been hallowed through succeeding considerable number of the beneficiary ages; but it would have wanted the edition would doubtless be purchased, halo which naught but that triumph even if not more than of the other; and could have shed around it. Highly as all, either recognizing a moral obligation
we must have esteemed him as an or feeling an impulse of grateful liberali- author, and deeply as we must hare ty, would have an opportunity of satisfy- venerated him as a man, the brightest ing their conscience and indulging their gem in his crown of glory would have heart."
been hidden from our view. This "author's benefit" is a novel idea, That a widely extended prejudice whose efficacy we must be leave to exists against the establishment of doubt until it has been made to sub. International Copyright, is owing mit to the test of experience. But is to the imperfect knowledge of the it enough, in return for actual profit grounds on which it is claimed, and advantage, to confer a purely vol- which are erroneously conceived by untary generosity ? That a tribute many to be totally different from those spontaneously granted to genius in the on which the existing copyright is time of need, would be honorable alike founded. But let it be known that to the giver and receiver, we would they are identical in principle; that to cheerfully admit; but rather than to withhold the former, is to give a pracrender assistance at the shipwreck, tical denial of the right to the latter; would it not be a more grateful task that it is to realize in the person of the to avert the gale? Acknowledging author the words of the poet, the obligation, let us then not deny to
“ Sic vos non vobis mellificatis, apes,” justice, what we would yield to sympathy! If Sir Walter Scott, in his to reduce him to a mere beneficiary, or brightest days, when each fresh tri- dependant upon voluntary bounty,umph of his genius was anticipated and the sense of justice inherent in the with a restless anxiety, and hailed with human breast will revolt at the strange feelings of delight, had ventured to anomaly. The time we believe to be suggest that he had a moral claim on not far distant, when this claim of lit. those who derived instruction, or ex erature will be established, and we are perienced pleasure, from his labors, not without hope that the genius and none could have denied the obligation, acquirements which preside over the or would have waited until his reverse Democratic Review will yet be er: of fortune had changed the aspect of the erted on what we believe to be the side claim. Honorable as under the circum- of truth and justice.
NOTE. We have cheerfully conceded to the to be reviewed in its own pages. The intelligent and able author of the above peculiar character of the questionpaper, the privilege requested of at the general prevalence, among our tacking the position we thought it a literary men, of the contrary opinion to matter of duty to take upon this ques- the views maintained by us—ihe high țion, in our Number for February, ground of moral right, as well as of however at variance with general policy in the common interests of litusage for a Review thus to allow itself erature, and those of national litera
ture in particular, on which the pro ting the main points of our own, that posed privilege of International Copy- the Democratic Review is to be drawn right is demanded-lead us to this de- over into the ranks of the advocates of parture from the general theory and the proposed International Copyright. system of a work of this nature. At The skeleton of the argument emthe same time we deem it proper to ployed by us on the other side was record this caveat against its being re- this :garded as settling a precedent, to com That there is no natural moral right pel us on all future occasions to sub- of property in a published book, absomit to a similar process of reply and lute, exclusive and perpetual, such as rebuke in our own pages, whenever to vest in its author any rightsul auany individual may feel moved by the thority for ever and everywhere to conspirit lo controveri our views on any trol or limit at his pleasure its multiplior every subject discussed in them. cation and diffusion among men. That This is a point on which it is essen- this right of literary property, as it tial to maintain the most unrestricted exists in all civilized nations, is a conand irresponsible discretion-of which ventional and restricted one, as a temdetermination we thus give due and porary privilege, founded on the comample notice accordingly, to all and bined considerations of equity and exsundry whom it may concern.
pediency,-equity to the author, who In the meantime, while we abstain ought io be supported in his noble from trenching in jot or tittle upon the labors, and remunerated for them; and integrity of the text of the above expediency on behalf of society, whose paper-respecting even the phrases of interest it is to extend the most effecpersonal civility and compliment with tive inducements to authors to exert which its dose of argument is judi- their best powers for the public benefit. ciously sweetened—we exercise the Thai an author (who is not forced by right of subjoining a very brief com- society to write), writes under an immentary by way of per contra. plied compact with the laws of the
In the first place we beg leave to sovereignty to which the political disrefer the reader to an attentive and tribution of the human race attaches candid perusal of the Article in ques- him as a subject and resident; the law tion, which is here combated. Our holds out to him certain inducements, respondent is as honorable a disputant on the strength of which he writes and as one could desire to engage; and yet publishes; if these conditions are fulthe insensible and unavoidable influ- filled, all his rightful claims to pecuence of controversy, even upon his niary remuneration are satisfied, and mind, is such, that in several instances he has no reason to complain, it in his exposition of the argument he aims another country, the antipodes perhaps at confuting is far from rendering it of his own, and a totally distinct pofair and full justice. We greatly pre- litical organization, his work is reprofer that the reader's comparison be- duced, for the benefit of a new popula tween the antagonist views on the dif- tion, without injury to any of the rights ferent points considered, should be or interests of his secured by law at founded on a perusal of the entire home. That to this foreign nation it statement of both sides, rather than is a question of expediency whether or on three or four short extracts, de- not to grant him, to any greater or less tached from their context, as they extent, a privilege of copyright; and stand selected and quoted above. that actually in the case of the present
Far from us the stupid presumption demand upon our government on beof saying that we shall never alter our half of English authors, the preponview of this subject, and thus realize derance of the expediency-an expethe wish and anticipation so kindly ex- diency coincident with the moral right pressed by our courteous respondent. of the matter—is against its concesWe have a high respect for the sacred sion. right of change of mind, and hold the This argument does not seem to us mere merit of “consistency," instead to be met in the above paper--capable of being the “jewel "it is vaunted for, as its writer certainly is of doing full as not worth a common glass bead. justice to his cause. In disclaiming Yet it must be by other processes of ar- any demand for International Copyright gument than one substantially admit- as applicable to works already pub
lished, it virtually yields that ground riod of time within which it is cogof justice and moral right, on which ferred ? alone its prospective application can But the whole argument seems inbe claimed ; and indeed it in terms re- deed given up, on the page 612 above, cognizes the view of the question taken in the two sentences commencing, on our side of the argument, when it “The claim on society being thus satis refers to them as “works already pub- fied," &c. We perfectly agree with lished, and therefore public property, the limitation there stated to the adon the terms upon which they were mitted right of republication in another published.”
country. We have no right to repubWe see but litile force in the argu- lish here for the English market; and ment sought in the “ firmly established the trade driven by the Belgian printrule, that previous to publication, the ers in cheap republications of all inlaw, at the instance of ihe author, will teresting French books for smuggled restrain all persons from printing, sell. introduction into France, will perer ing, making public, or in any way in- find either an apologist in us, or a justifringing or trespassing on the results of fication in any of ihe arguments we his labor.” Previous to publication, have advanced. the author's manuscript is indeed pri In the supposition made, of a great vately and personally his own, on the work produced by a citizen of a small same basis of right as any other species community, where no market for it of property. But after he has chosen could be expected adequate to his reto give it forth to the world in publica- muneration or to the object of inducing tion, it becomes a very different ques. him to write and publish-there is tion how far society have a right to more ingenuity than real force. This multiply and distribute the copies of it. is not the case in point of fact in the While there is an equity on his part to actual controversy under consideration. a certain remuneration, there is, as If it should ever arise, it will be time before said, an expediency on the part enough then to provide for it. In such of society prompting to bestow it. a case, it would then perhaps be our The proper amount and duration of true interest to grant the privilege in that remuneration is a question of poli- question, on the same ground of policy cy to be determined by a liberal and and equity on which it is now granted wise legislation ; and when it is thus for a certain number of years to our established, the author, we repeat, own citizens, for the sake of remunera. writes and publishes under a virtual tion and incentive. But in relation to contract with the existing state of the the English public and English authors law. In England, for instance, with neither of these considerations can have this view, the sole privilege of publish- any weight as arguments addressed to ing and vending is secured for a certain American legislation. length of time--after which it ceases, Neither able nor disposed to extend and the work becomes public properly. this Note beyond the limit of the preThese conditions mark the limit at sent page, we abstain from proceeding which the legislation of the country any deeper or further into the discus. itself from which this demand now sion of this question,—which has inchiefly proceeds, fixes this equity on deed bearings, in its connection with the part of the author, and correspond- the general subject of the philosophy ing expediency on the part of the pub- of Property, which might lead us much lic. Why, then, it may well be asked, further than there has yet appeared is a foreign country morally bound to any occasion to go. Such points in the increase the author's remuneration by above paper as have not been here extending the surface of population or touched upon, we are content to leave geography over which his privilege is to the intelligent reflection of the readto operate, rather than his own coun- er, and to a fair comparison of them with try io increase it by extending the pe- the arguments of our former Article.