HC Deb 11 February 1875 vol 222 cc235-6

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)


, in rising to move "That the Chairman be directed to move the House, that leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the Law relating to International Copyright," said, the Bill was exactly the same as that which passed through the Commons last year, but did not get through all its stages in the House of Lords in time to enable it to become law.


said, he did not oppose the Motion for the introduction of the Bill; but he must express the strong feeling of dissatisfaction which was entertained against the Government because they had not seen fit to introduce a Bill of a more general character in reference to the important subject of International Copyright. Last year the Secretary for Foreign Affairs was waited on by deputations, who represented to him the serious injustice which was experienced by authors in Great Britain in consequence of the present state of the law. Probably, there was no class of Her Majesty's subjects who suffered at this moment such wrongs as authors. If he were asked to classify Her Majesty's subjects from below upwards, he should begin with the scavengers, theirs being the lowest trade, put sweeps in the second place, and in the third, authors. Not only were authors subjected to injustice at the hands of their publishers at home, but they were continually plundered by publishers abroad. Again and again had this subject been brought under the notice of the Foreign Office, with special reference to the plunder of British authors by publishers in the United States of America. The United States had repeatedly beaten us in diplomacy by means of knowledge obtained from the brains of British authors, and yet American publishers were permitted year after year to continue this plunder, without any attempt being made on the part of the Foreign Secretary to get the injustice remedied. When he saw that a measure was to be introduced with so large a title as "International Copyright" he had hoped that the hon. Gentleman would submit to the House something more worthy of its attention than the mere rag introduced to-day.

Motion agreed to. Resolved, That the Chairman be directed to move the House, that leave he given to bring-in a Bill to amend the Law relating to International Copyright.

Resolution reported:—Bill ordered to he brought in by Mr. BOURKE, Mr. RAIKES, and Sir CHAULES ADDERLEY.

Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 56.]