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diate course, and to argue the question, whether a fair medium between two extremes has been chosen. What is to be said in favour of the line now drawn, except that it exists and bears an antiquity commencing in 1814? Is there any magic in the term of twenty-eight years? Is there any conceivable principle of justice which bounds the right, if the author survives that term, by the limit of his natural life? As far as expediency shall prevailas far as the welfare of those for whom it is the duty and the wish of the dying author to provide, may be regarded by Parliament; the period of his death is precisely that when they will most need the worldly comforts which the property in his works would confer. And, as far as analogy may govern, the very attribute which induces us to regard with pride the works of intellect is, that they survive the ́mortal course of those who framed them-that they are akin to what is deathless. Why should that quality render them profitless to those in whose affectionate remembrance their author still lives, while they attest a nobler immortality? Indeed, among the opponents of this measure, it is ground of cavil that it is proposed to take the death of the author as a starting point for the period which it adds to the present term. It is urged as absurd that even the extent of this distant period should be affected by the accident of death; and yet those who thus argue are content to support the system which makes that accident the final boundary at which the living efficacy of authorship, for the advantage of its professors,
ing compensation is stopped when it mos should increase. Now, surely, as to them, the question is not what remuneration is sufficien in the judgment of the legislature to repay for certain benefactions to society, but whether, having won the splendid reward, our laws shall permit the winner to enjoy it? We could not decide the abstract question between genius and money, because there exist no common properties by which they can be tested, if we were dispensing an arbitrary reward; but the question how much the author ought to receive is easily answered-so much as his readers are delighted to pay him. When we say that he has obtained immense wealth by his writings, what do we assert, but that he has multiplied the sources of enjoyment to countless readers, and lightened thousands of else sad, or weary, or dissolute hours? The two propositions are identical; the proof of the one at once establishing the other. Why, then, should we grudge it, any more than we would reckon against the soldier, not the pension or the grant, but the very prize-money which attests the splendour of his victories, and in the amount of his gains proves the extent of ours? Complaints have been made by one in the foremost rank in the opposition to this bill, the pioneer of the noble army of publishers, booksellers, printers, and bookbinders, who are arrayed against it-that in selecting the case of Sir Walter Scott as an instance in which the extension of copyright would be just, I had been singularly unfortunate, because that great writer received, during the period of subsisting copyright, an unprecedented revenue from the immediate sale of his works. But, sir, the question is not one of reward-it is
I perfectly agree with the publishers in the evidence given in 1818, and the statements which have been repeated more recently-that the extension of time will be a benefit only in This allusion has been singularly misconceived by one case in five hundred of works now issuing the gentleman to whom it applies-Mr. Tegg, who thus notices it in his letter "To the Editor of the Times," of from the press; and I agree with them that 20th Feb., 1839: "The learned serjeant calls me a pioneer we are legislating for that five hundredth case. of literature, because I open my shop for the sale of books, Why not? It is the great prize which, out of and not for the encouragement of authors; but what is the object of my customers who buy the books? Not the five hundred risks, genius and goodness one in a thousand would allege that he bought a book for win. It is the benefit that can only be achieved the encouragement of the author; they come to procure the means of amusement, information, or instruction. The by that which has stood the test of time-of learned serjeant-a liberal-a friend to literature, a prothat which is essentially true and pure-of that moter of education--persists in bringing forward an ex which has survived spleen, criticism, envy, post facto law. to counteract the advantages of education. and the changing fashions of the world. Grant-to check the diffusion of literature, and to abridge the innocent entertainment of the public, by enhancing the ed that only one author in five hundred attains price of books. Iglory in the difference of our position." this end; does it not invite many to attempt it, It will be seen by the comparison of the text and the and impress on literature itself a visible mark comment, that Mr. Tegg is mistaken in supposing I had called him a pioneer of literature." I only called him of permanence and of dignity? The writers the pioneer of the opponents of the bill--and that he is who attain it must belong to one of two classes. equally mistaken in supposing that I complained that he The first class consists of authors who have opens his shop for the sale of books, and not for the encouragement of authors. I ask for no encouragement to laboured to create the taste which should ap- authors, but that which arises from the purchase of books preciate and reward them, and only attain that by those who seek in them "the means of amusement. information and instruction"-who voluntarily tax reputation which brings with it a pecuniary themselves for their own benefit and I venture to recompense when the term for which that re-think that, as the gains of the publisher are just as effecward is secured to them wanes. Is it unjust in this case, which is that of Wordsworth, now in the evening of life, and in the dawn of his fame, to allow the author to share in the remuneration that society tardily awards him? The other classes includes those who, like Sir Walter Scott, have combined the art of ministering to immediate delight with that of outlasting successive races of imitators and apparent rivals; who do receive a large actual amount of recompense, but whose accumulat
tually added to the price of a book as those of its author, it would be as beneficial to the public if the author of a book shared in the profit with the bookseller, even after the period to which the law now confines his interest in his own work, and when Mr. Tegg's good office in "opening his shop for its sale" sometimes commences. So far from regarding Mr. Tegg as the pioneer of lite rature." I have always contemplated him in the very opposite position,-as a follower of the march, whom the law allows to collect the spoils which it denies to the soldier who has fought for them. He has abundant reason, no doubt, to glory in the difference of his position" and mine; but he quite mistakes his own, if he think he has any relation to literature, except as the depository of its winnings.
one of justice. How would this gentleman | author. It will not be denied that it is desira -pprove of the application of a similar rule to ble to extend the benefit to both classes, if it his own honest gains? From small beginnings can be done without injury to the public, or to this very publisher has, in the fair and honour- subsisting individual interests. The suggested able course of trade, I doubt not, acquired a injury to the public is, that the price of books splendid fortune, amassed by the sale of works, would be greatly enhanced; and on this asthe property of the public-of works, whose sumption the printers and bookbinders have authors have gone to their repose, from the been induced to sustain the publishers in refevers, the disappointments, and the jealousies sisting a change which is represented as tendwhich await a life of literary toil. Who grudges ing to paralyze speculation-to cause fewer it to him? Who doubts his title to retain it? books to be written, printed, bound, and bought And yet this gentleman's fortune is all, every to deprive the honest workmen of their subfarthing of it, so much taken from the public, sistence, and the people of the opportunity of in the sense of the publisher's argument; it is enjoying the productions of genius. Even if all profit on books bought by that public, the such consequences are to be dreaded, and jusaccumulation of pence, which, if he had sold tice requires the sacrifice, it ought to be made. his books without profit, would have remained The community have no right to be enriched in the pockets of the buyers. On what princi- at the expense of individuals, nor is the Liple is Mr. Tegg to retain what is denied to Sir berty of the Press (magic words, which I have Walter? Is it the claim of superior merit? heard strangely blended in the din of this conIs it greater toil? Is it larger public service? troversy) the liberty to smuggle and to steal. His course, I doubt not, has been that of an Still, if to these respectable petitioners, men honest laborious tradesman; but what have often of intelligence and refinement beyond been its anxieties, compared to the stupendous their sphere, which they have acquired from labour, the sharp agonies of him, whose deadly their mechanical association with literature, alliance with those very trades whose mem-I could think the measure fraught with such bers oppose me now, and whose noble resolution to combine the severest integrity with the loftiest genius, brought him to a premature grave-a grave which, by the operation of the law, extends its chillness even to the result of those labours, and despoils them of the living efficacy to assist those whom he has left to mourn him? Let any man contemplate that heroic struggle of which the affecting record has just been completed; and turn from the sad spectacle of one who had once rejoiced in the rapid creation of a thousand characters glowing from his brain, and stamped with individuality for ever, straining the fibres of the mind till the exercise which had been delight became torture-girding himself to the mighty task of achieving his deliverance from the load which pressed upon him, and with brave endeavour, but relaxing strength, returning to the toil till his faculties give way, the pen falls from his hand on the unmarked paper, and the silent tears of half-conscious imbecility fall upon it-to some prosperous bookseller in his country house, calculating the approach of the time (too swiftly accelerated) when he should be able to publish for his own gain those works fatal to life, and then tell me, if we are to apportion the reward to the effort, where is the justice of the bookseller's claim? Had Sir Walter Scott been able to see, in the distance, an extension of his own right in his own productions, his estate and his heart had been set free, and the publishers and printers, who are our opponents now, would have been grateful to him for a continuation of labour and rewards which would have impelled and augmented their own.
These two classes comprise, of necessity, all the instances in which the proposed change would operate at all; the first, that of those whose copyright only becomes valuable just as it is about to expire; the last, that of whose works which, at once popular and lasting, have probably, in the season of their first success, enriched the publisher far more than the
mischiefs, I should regard it with distrust and alarm. But never, surely, were the apprehensions of intelligent men so utterly baseless. In the first place, I believe that the existence of the copyright, even in that fivehundredth case, would not enhance the price of the fortunate work; for the author or the bookseller, who enjoys the monopoly, as it is called, is enabled to supply the article at a much cheaper rate when a single press is required to print all the copies offered for sale, instead of the presses and establishments of competing publishers; and I believe a comparison between the editions of standard works in which there is copyright, with those in which there is none, would confirm the truth of the inference. To cite, as an instance to the contrary, "Clarendon's History of the Rebellion," is to confess that a fair test would disprove the objection; for what analogy is there between the motives and the acts of a great body, having no personal stimulus or interest, except to retain what is an ornament to their own power, and those of a number of individual proprietors? But, after all, it is only in this five-hundredth case-the one rare prize in this huge lottery-that even this effect is to be dreaded. Now, this effect is the possible enhancing the price of five-hundredth or five-thousandth book, and this is actually supposed "to be a heavy blow and great discouragement to literature," enough to paralyze the energies of publishers, and to make Paternoster-row a desert! Let it only be announced, say our opponents, that an author, whose works may outlast twenty-eight years, shall bequeath to his children the right which he enjoyed, that
The case of the Scriptures seems decisive on this point-on which the entire argument against the bill right; and does any one believe it would be cheaper hinges. In the First of Books there is perpetual copythan it is if it were the subject of competition? The truth is, that the only way in which the printer could suffer by the extension of copyright is by a process which would make books cheaper the employment of one press. instead of many, to produce the same number of copies.
possibly some sixpence a volume may be added a smaller term, and really assign a greater? to its price in such an event, and all the ma- Now, either the publishers have no interest in chinery of printing and publication will come the main question, or this is that interest. If to a pause! Why, sir, the same apprehension this is that interest, how will the public lose was entertained in 1813, when the publishers by paying their extra sixpence to the author sought to obtain the extension of copyright for who created the work, instead of the gentleman their own advantage to twenty-eight years. who prints his name at the foot of the titleThe printers then dreaded the effect of the page, and who will still take his 25 per cent. prolonged monopoly: they petitioned against on the copies he may sell? This argument the bill, and they succeeded in delaying it for applies, and, I apprehend, conclusively, to the a session. And surely they had then far greater main question-the justice and expediency of plausibility in their terrors; for in proportion extending the term. I am aware that there is as the period at which the contemplated exten- another ground of complaint more plausible, sion begins is distant, its effects must be in- which does not apply to the main question, but distinct and feeble. Fewer books, of course, to what is called the retrospective clause-a will survive twenty-eight years than fourteen; complaint, that in cases where the extended the act of 1814 operated on the greater number term will revert to the family of the author, if at all; and has experience justified the fears instead of excluding, by virtue of an implied which the publishers then laughed to scorn? compact, all the rest of the world, they, like all Has the number of books diminished since the rest of the world, will be excluded; that they then? Has the price of books been enhanced? had a right to calculate on this liberty in comHas the demand for the labour of printers or mon with others when they made this bargain; bookbinders slackened? Have the profits of and that, therefore, it is a violation of faith to the bookseller failed? I need no committee deprive them of their share of the common of inquiry to answer these questions, and they benefit. That there is any violation of faith I are really decisive of the issue. We all know utterly deny-they still have all they have paid that books have multiplied; that the quartos, for; and when, indeed, they assert (which in which the works of high pretension were they do when they argue that the measure will first enshrined, have vanished; and, while confer no benefit on authors) they would not the prices paid for copyrights have been far give an author any more for a copyright of higher than in any former time, the proprietors sixty than of twenty-eight years, they themof these copyrights have found it more profit- selves refute the charge of breach of faith, by able to publish in a cheap than in a costly showing that they do not reckon such distant form. Will authors, or the children of authors, contingencies in the price which they pay. If be more obstinate-less able to appreciate and any inconvenience should arise, I should reto meet the demands of the age-more appre-joice to consider how it can be obviated; and hensive of too large a circulation-when both will be impelled by other motives than those of interest to seek the largest sale; the first by the impulse of blameless vanity or love of fame; the last by the affection and the pride with which they must regard the living thoughts of a parent taken from this world, finding their way through every variety of life, and cherished by unnumbered minds, which will bless that parent's memory?
If, sir, I were called to state in a sentence the most powerful argument against the objection raised to the extension of copyright on the part of the public, I would answer,-"The opposition of the publishers." If they have ground to complain of loss, the public can have none. The objection supposes that the works would be sold at something more than the price of the materials, the workmanship, and a fair profit on the outlay, if the copyright be continued to the author; and, of course, also supposes that works of which the copyrights have expired are sold without profit beyond those chargesthat, in fact, the author's superadded gain will be the measure of the public loss. Where, then, does the publisher intervene? Is the truth this that the usage of the publishing trade at this moment indefinitely prolongs the monopoly by a mutual understanding of its members, and that besides the term of twentyeight years, which the publisher has bought and paid for, he has something more? Is it a conventional copyright that is in danger? Is the real question whether the author shall hereafter have the full term to dispose of, or shall sell
with that view I introduced those clauses which have been the subject of much censure, empowering the assignee to dispose of all copies on hand at the close of his term, and allowing the proprietors of stereotype plates still to use them. But supposing some inconvenience to attend this act of justice to authors, which I should greatly regret, still are the publishers entirely without consolation? In the first place, they would, as the bill now stands, gain all the benefit of the extension of future copyrights, hereafter sold absolutely to them by the author, and, according to their own statement, without any advance of price. If this benefit is small-is contingent—is nothing in 500 cases to one, so is the loss in those cases in which the right will result to the author. But it should further be recollected that every year, as copyrights expire, adds to the store from which they may take freely. In the infancy of literature a publisher's stock is scanty unless he pays for original composition; but as one generation after another passes away, histories, novels, poems-all of undying interest and certain sale-fall in; and each generation of booksellers becomes enriched by the spoils of time, to which he has contributed nothing. If, then, in a measure which restores to the author what the bookseller has conventionally received, some inconvenience beyond the just loss of what he was never entitled to obtain be incurred, is not the balance greatly in his favour? And can it be doubted that, in any case where the properties of the publisher and of the author's representatives
are imperfect apart, either from additions to the original, or from the succession of several works falling in at different times, their common interest would unite them?
the inventor the entire benefit of his discovery, the copyright does not give it to the author for a single hour, but, when published, it is the free unincumbent property of the world at once and for ever; all that the author retains is the sole right of publishing his own view of it in the style of illustration or argument which he has chosen. A fact ascertained by laborious inquiry becomes, on the instant, the property of every historian; a rule of grammar, of criticism, or of art, takes its place at once in the common treasury of human knowledge; nay, a theory in political economy or morals, once published, is the property of any man to accept, to analyze, to reason on, to carry out, to make the foundation of other kindred speculations. No one ever dreamed that to assume a position which another had discovered; to reject what another had proved to be fallacious; to occupy the table-land of recognised truths and erect upon it new theories, was an invasion of the copyright of the original thinker, without whose discoveries his suc
One of the arguments used, whether on behalf of the trade or the public I scarcely know, against the extension of the term, is derived from a supposed analogy between the works of an author and the discoveries of an inventor, whence it is inferred that the term which suffices for the protection of the one is long enough for the recompense of the other. It remains to be proved that the protection granted to patentees is sufficient; but supposing it to be so, although there are points of similarity between the cases, there are grounds of essential and obvious distinction. In cases of patent, the merits of the invention are palpable; the demand is usually immediate; and the recompense of the inventor, in proportion to the utility of his work, speedy and certain. In cases of patent, the subject is generally one to which many minds are at once applied; the invention is often no more than a step in a series of pro-cessors might labour in vain. How earnest, cesses, the first of which being given, the consequence will almost certainly present itself sooner or later to some of those minds; and if it were not hit on this year by one, would probably be discovered the next by another; but who will suggest that if Shakspeare had not written Lear, or Richardson Clarissa, other poets or novelists would have invented them? In practical science every discovery is a step to something more perfect; and to give to the inventor of each a protracted monopoly would be to shut out improvement by others. But who can improve the masterpieces of genius? They stand perfect; apart from all things else; self-sustained; the models for imitation; the sources whence rules of art take their origin. Still they are ours in a sense in which no mechanical invention can be;-ours not only to ponder over and converse with-ours not only as furnishing our minds with thoughts, and peopling our weary seasons with ever-delightful acquaintances; but ours as suggesting principles of composition which we may freely strive to apply, opening new regions of speculation which we may delightfully explore, and defining the magic circle, within which, if we are bold and happy enough to tread, we may discern some traces of the visions they have invoked, to imbody for our own profit and honour; for the benefit of the printers and publishers who may send forth the products of these secondary inspirations to the world; and of all who may become refined or exalted by reading them.
But it may be said that this argument applies only to works of invention, which spring wholly or chiefly from the author's mind, as poems and romances; and that works which exhibit the results of historical search, of medical or scientific skill, and of philosophic thought, ought to be governed by the same law as improvements in mechanics employed on timber and metal. The analogy here is, to a certain extent, correct, so far as it applies to the fact discovered, the principle developed, the mode invented; the fallacy consists in this, that while the patent for fourteen years secures to
how severe, how protracted, has been the mental toil by which the noblest speculations in regard to the human mind and its destiny have been conducted! Even when they attain to no certain results, they are no less than the beatings of the soul against the bars of its clay tenement, which show by their strength and their failure that it is destined and propertied for a higher sphere of action. Yet what right does the author retain in these, when he has once suggested them? The divine philosophy, won by years of patient thought, melts into the intellectual atmosphere which it encircles; tinges the dreams and strengthens the assurances of thousands. The truth is, that the law of copyright adapts itself, by its very nature, to the various descriptions of composition, preserving to the author, in every case, only that which he ought to retain. Regard it from its operation on the lowest species of authorship-mere compilation, in which it can protect nothing but the particular arrangements, leaving the materials common to all; through the gradations of history, of science, of criticism, of moral and political philosophy, of divinity, up to the highest efforts of the imagination, and it will be found to preserve nothing to the author, except that which is properly his own; while the free use of his materials is open to those who would follow in his steps. When I am asked, why should the inventor of the steam-engine have an exclusive right to multiply its form for only fourteen years, while a longer time is claimed for the author of a book? I may retort, why should he have for fourteen years what the discoverer of a principle in politics or morals, or of a chain of proof in divinity, or a canon of criticism, has not the protection of as many hours, except for the mere mode of exposition which he has adopted? Where, then, the analogy between literature and mechanical science really exists, that is, wherever the essence of the literary work is, like mechanism, capable of being used and improved on by others, the legal protection will be found far more liberally applied to the latter-necessarily and justly so applied-but
affording no reason why we should take from | tice; but the principle is eternal. True it is
the author that which is not only his own, but can never, from its nature, be another's.
It has, sir, been asserted, that authors themselves have little interest in this question, and that they are, in fact,, indifferent or hostile to the measure. True it is, that the greatest living writers have felt reluctant to appear as petitioners for it, as a personal boon; but I believe there are few who do not feel the honour of literature embarked in the cause, and earnestly desire its success. Mr. Wordsworth, emerging for a moment from the seclusion he has courted, has publicly declared his conviction of its justice. Mr. Lockhart has stated his apprehension that the complete emancipation of the estate of Sir Walter Scott from its encumbrances depends on the issue; and, although I agree that we ought not to legislate for these cases, I contend that we ought to legislate by the light of their examples. While I admit that I should rejoice if the immediate effect of this measure were to cheer the evening of a great poet's life, to whom I am under intellectual obligations beyond all price, and to enlarge the rewards of other living authors whose fame will endure, I do not ask support to this measure on their behalf; but I present these as the proofs of the subsisting wrong. The instances pass away; successive generations do successive injus
that in many instances, if the boon be granted, the errors and frailties which often attend genius may render it vain; true it is that in multitudes of cases it will not operate; but by conceding it we shall give to authors and to readers a great lesson of justice; we shall show that where virtue and genius combine we are ready to protect their noble offspring, and that we do not desire a miserable advantage at the cost of the ornaments and benefactors of the world. I call on each party in this house to unite in rendering this tribute to the minds by which even party associations are dignified. I call on those who anticipate successive changes in society, to acknowledge their debt to those who expand the vista of the future, and people it with goodly visions; on those who fondly linger on the past, and repose on time-hallowed institutions, to consider how much that is ennobling in their creed has been drawn from minds which have clothed the usages and forms of other days with the symbols of venerableness and beauty; on all, if they cannot find some common ground on which they may unite in drawing assurance of progressive good for the future from the glories of the past, to recognise their obligation to those, the products of whose intellect shall grace, and soften, and dignify the struggle!
The motion was opposed by Mr. Hume, Mr. Warburton, the Solicitor-General, Mr. Pryne, Mr. Warde, Mr. Grote, the Attorney-General, Mr. John Jervis, and Sir Edward Sugden; and supported by Sir Robert Inglis, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. D'Israeli, Mr. Milnes, and Mr. Wynn. On the division, the numbers were, for the second reading, 39; against it, 34. On the question that the bill should be committed, Mr. Philip Howard, who had voted in favour of the second reading, moved that it be referred to a select committee. This was declined by the mover: and after a short conversation, the house divided-for the committal of the bill in the usual course, 38; against it, 31,-upon which the bill was ordered to be committed on the following Wednesday.
On Wednesday, 2d of May, for which day the committee was fixed, there was no house; and the "dropped order" was fixed for the following Wednesday. On that day, Mr. Wakley,— adverting to the thinness of the house on the second reading of the bill, and the small majority by which it was carried,-pursuant to notice previously given, opposed the motion for the speaker leaving the chair. His speech on this occasion consisted chiefly of statements with which he had been supplied by Mr. Tegg, of the low prices at which he had purchased several popular works of living authors, some of whom were members of the house;-a series of per sonalities which afforded that kind of amusement which attend such allusions, and which, being delivered without ill-nature, gave no pain to the authors who were the subject of them; but not tending with very exact logic to show that the extension of the copyright, which protected all these works, would injure the public by maintaining a price beyond its reach. The motion for going into committee was also opposed by Mr. Warburton and Mr. Strutt, and supported by Mr. Wolverly Attwood, Mr. Milnes, and Sir Robert Inglis. On a division the numbers were, for the committee, 116; against it, 64. In a desultory conversation which followed, Sir Edward Sugden complained that, as the bill then stood, the children of an author who had assigned his copyright to them "in consideration of natural love and affection," would be precluded from enjoying the proposed extension-the justice of which was felt by the supporters of the bill-and obviated in its further progress. The house then resolved itself into committee; but the lateness of the hour rendered it impossible to proceed with details; and the evening was spent without the measure having made any progress, except in the great increase of the majority by which it was supported.
The state of public business on the following Wednesdays-for which day the bill was always, without objection, fixed, and on which alone it had any chance of being discussedprevented its further consideration till Wednesday, 6th of June. In the interval, an anxious consideration of the objections of the publishers of London and Edinburgh to the clause whereby a reverting interest in copyrights absolutely assigned was created in favour of authors, convinced those who had charge of the bill that it was impossible by any arrangements to pre