HC Deb 26 February 1904 vol 130 cc1156-95


Order for Second Reading read.

* MR. MOUNT (Berkshire, Newbury)

said he had to claim the indulgence of the House, which was always accorded to those Members who intervened for the first time in debates in the House of Commons. The Musical Copyright Bill, the Second Reading of which he was about to move. enforced rights of which the House had already approved. This Bill introduced no new principles and established no new privileges. It inflicted no disabilities on those who endeavoured to keep within the spirit of the law, and its aim was to provide proper safeguards for rights which had already been sanctioned. He did not think he needed to labour the point that the same right of property belonged to copyright in music as to copyright in books and other things. Already the owners of musical copyright had been given the same benefits as was given to owners of literary copyright. In the Copyright Act of 1842, the House gave the owners of musical copyright the same privileges and benefits as the owners of literary copyright, and they were placed upon the same level. He would further point out that these rights and privileges given by the House to musical copyright were real and not imaginary rights, because in that Act remedies were given to enable those rights to be enforced, and means were provided to prevent any infringement or infraction of that right. That Act gave the best remedies that could be provided at that time. He would endeavour to show to the House that the intention that musical copyright should be placed upon the same level as literary copyright had never been reached. An Act was passed in 1902, which had for its aim and object the restraining of action which was undermining the rights recognised by Parliament. Until two years ago practically the only remedy which owners of a musical copyright had against infringement was an action for an injunction, and that remedy was found to be inadequate on account of the standing of the ordinary offender. Piracies, as they were all aware, had increased enormously, he did not need to labour that point. Why this was so it was not for him to say, but he thought the reason would probably be found in the fact that these musical pirates had discovered a very easy method of breaking the law without running much risk of bringing themselves within the arms of the law. The remedy was a civil action, but it was obvious that this was a quite inadequate remedy against those people who were breaking the law. Civil action was inadequate, because the hawkers who were selling copies of copyright music were men of straw, and it was useless to attempt to bring any civil action against people of that stamp.

The Act of 1902, therefore, was intended to put a stop to the infringement from which owners of musical copyright suffered. Under that Act a further advance was made beyond civil action, and power was given to a constable, in certain cases and under certain circumstances. to seize pirated copies and take them to the police court for destruction. That Art pointed clearly to the fact that Parliament at that time intended to protect the right in musical copyright. but that was about as far as the Act went. The Act was, unfortunately, a failure. and although it was passed with the object of putting a stop to this sort of proceeding they found that immediately following the passing of that Act the number of pirated copies sold greatly increased. In fifteen months after the passing of the Act no less than 468.000 copies of pirated music were seized by the police, and that was only a very small proportion of the number published and sold. What was more remarkable still was that in 1901 there were only forty-seven pirated editions known, but in 1903 the number of pirated editions had increased to 231. Whatever was the intention of the Act of 1902 that Act had failed, and he did not think the causes of the failure of that Act were very far to seek. Under the Act the constable might take to the Court the copies which he had seized, but it was held that unless a summons had been served on the person in whose possesion they were found the copies could not be destroyed. As the alleged owner in ninety-nine cases out of every 100 was an itinerant hawker with no settled place of abede he might quite honestly give a common lodging house as his address. and the evidence given before the Departmental Committee showed that in many cases these itinerant hawkers gave false and wrong addresses-Out of 5,000 summonses issued against musical pirates at the instance of the Musical Copyright Association they were only able to serve:287. Then, again, although 468,000 copies of pirated music had been seized, only 57,000 had been ordered to be destroyed. Therefore, it was necessary that something should be done to remedy this state of things. It might be said that the loss to the hawkers was the same whether the copies were destroyed or not, but he contended that this increase in piriacy showed that some other penalty was necessary. No doubt hon. Members had noticed that these hawkers carried very few copies with them at one time, and he was informed that arrangements were often made between the hawkers and the middlemen that no charge should be made for copies seized by the police, and consequently in many cases no loss whatever fell upon the hawkers. It was clearly obvious that some penalty ought to be inflicted. But there was another person in a much larger way of business than the hawker who ought to be dealt with, namely, the printer and the distributor, in whose premises the pirated copies were stored. They were not touched by the Act now in force and they carried on their work with very little chance of detection. It had been held that the Act of 1902 conferred no power of search so long as the business was conducted within closed and locked doors, but these persons were really more culpable than the hawkers in the street. Those were the main defects which had shown themselves in the Act of 1902. The penalties were not severe enough to be felt by the itinerant hawker, and some further power was wanted to get hold of those who evaded summonses, and to render amenable to the law those who were now able to avoid detection. He wanted the House to consider how far those defects were removed in the Bill he recommended to the House.

The present Bill followed on the lines of the Fine Arts Copyright Act of 1862, and made it an offence for any person to print or cause or procure to be printed, any pirated musical works or to distribute or carry about any copies of any pirated musical work for the purpose of sale or of being dealt with in the course of trade. It also made it an offence for any person to solicit orders by post or to import or export copies of pirated music or to be found in the possession of any plates' from which such copies were to be printed. Those offences, it was proposed, should be punishable by fine or imprisonment before a court of summary jurisdiction. The second clause gave power to the police to take into custody without a warrant any person who, within the view of the police, committed an offence under the Act, and whose name was unknown and could not reasonably be ascertained by the constable. This procedure was similar to that adopted under the Police Act of 1839, and was recommended by the Departmental Committee which dealt with this question. He did not think this clause would be dissented from even by the hon. Member for Mid-Lanark. He would point out that the majority Report of the Departmental Committee recommended it, and that Committee had as its Chairman Mr. Fenwick, whose great experience as a metropolitan police court magistrate ought to have considerable weight with the House on this question. The evidence went to show that this clause was not likely to inflict any injury or hardship. If a man was arrested he would be taken to the police station, and if he was an honest man he did not think there would be any difficulty in persuading the inspector that he would be forthcoming when the case was tried. There still remained the difficulty in regard to those who were not less culpable, but who were in a larger way of business. Under Clause 3 power was given to issue a search warrant where— There are reasonable grounds for believing that pirated copies of such musical work or the plates thereof are being kept for purposes constituting an offence under this Act. It is also provided that— The Court may, by warrant, authorise any police constable named and referred to in such warrant to enter such house, premises, or place at any time between the hours of nine in the morning and six in the afternoon, and to search for and seize and carry away such copies and plates and any other copies of pirated musics' works or plates kept as aforesaid. The hours of search had been limited to between nine in the morning and six in the afternoon, and this clause relating to the search warrant followed the precedent of a similar clause in the Merchandise Marks Act of 1887. The evidence showed that if power was taken in the Act to deal with the hawkers in the street and to issue search warrants under certain circumstances, this traffic would probably cease. Those were briefly the suggestions embodied in the Bill and he urged the House, if they desired to put a stop to this illegal practice, to give effect to the evidence which had been tendered upon this question.

With regard to dealing with forfeited copies, as the law now stood no order could be made for their destruction without a summons. If the Bill became law as it stood it was provided under Sub-section 2 of Clause 5 that— If the person alleged to have been dealing with such copies is unknown or cannot be found an information or complaint shall be laid by or on behalf of the owner of the copyright, or by his agent thereto authorised in writing, or on behalf of the police, for the purpose of enforcing the forfeiture and destruction of such copies and plates, and the Court may without summons, on proof that the musical work to which the copies or plates seized relte is pirated, or that such copies or plates were in the possession of such person under such circumstances as to constitute an offence under this Act, order such copies or plates or any of them to be forfeited and destroyed at the expiration of a period of twenty-eight days unless the rightful owner of the copies should within that time come and prove his claim to the copies. He ventured to think that a clause of that kind would meet the difficulty without inflicting any hardship upon any innocent persons.

He wished to say a word on a question arising on the first section of the Bill. There was a provision that any person committing any offence indicated in the section— Shall be deemed to have committed an offence under this Act unless he proves to the satisfaction of the Court that he did not know and could not with reasonable care have ascertained that—(a) such musical work was pirated; (6) or that such plates were the plates of pirated musical works. The clause placed the onus of proof on the defendant. This was a matter which would be dealt with in Committee, but as it had been referred to in the Report of the Departmental Committee he thought it right to say a word or two on it now. He would say first of all that the clause was framed in accordance with precedent. By the Police Act of 1839 a person charged with being in possession of property suspected of being stolen or unlawfully obtained must satisfy the magistrate that it came into his possession rightfully. There was another, and he ventured to say a stronger, precedent in the Merchandise Marks Act passed in 1887. When the Act of 1832 was passed this provision in regard to the onus of proof was not incorporated in it, but after twenty-five years experience it was found advisable to enact such a provision. The hon. Member for Mid Lanark had pointed out in the Minority Report that the difference between the Merchandise Marks Act and the Bill now before the House was that the object of the latter was to safeguard the interest of the owners of copyright, while the former was to safeguard the interest of the public. With all due deference he would suggest that the reason why in both cases the onus of proof was placed on the defendant and not on the prosecutor was that they dealt with matters which were particularly within the knowledge of the defendant. He knew there were some who objected to the Bill because they thought the price charged by music publishers too high. They might think that publishers were making exorbitant profits; he ventured to differ from that view, but he would leave this part of the subject to be dealt with by his hon. friend the Member for South-West Manchester, who had always taken a great interest in this matter. He had endeavoured to point out that Parliament intended to grant the right of property in copyright, and so long as such intention lasted it was, he thought, their duty to safeguard it.

MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S.W.)

congratulated his hon. friend on the manner in which he had spoken when addressing the House for the first time in introducing this Bill. This was a measure by which it was proposed to deal effectively with a gross injustice which had been perpetrated far too long upon a law-abiding section of the community. He trusted that the House would pass the Bill, and that, despite the obstructive efforts of the hon. Member for Mid Lanark, they would put an end once and for all to the abominable practice which had grown up with such rapidity in recent years. Many motives had been attributed to those who had taken an interest in this question. He was sure that the hon. Member for Mid Lanark had no financial interest, direct or indirect, in the publication of music. Nor had he himself any such interest in the matter, either as composer or publisher. His interest was that of a purchaser, and he was proud to say that he had no sordid or pecuniary benefit to derive one way or another. In June last year his right hon. friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland came and told him that the publishers were in despair because the hon. Member for Mid Lanark was not only as obdurate as in previous years, but that he was blocking their Bill with even greater pertinacity than before. He endeavoured to get the hon. Member to withdraw his opposition which, he considered, was neither in the public interest nor creditable to himself. His efforts were unavailing and the session passed without any Act being placed on the Statute-book dealing with the subject. His hon. friend who moved the Second Reading of the Bill to-day had pointed out how serious the position was. It was essential, if the citizens of the country were to have confidence in the laws of the land, that some change should be made immediately in the copyright law. He took the opportunity early in the recess of presenting this view to the Prime Minister, who suggested after some discussion that the Government early this session should ask the House to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into the matter. There would have been many advantages in having a Select Committee, but there was one great disadvantage. It was impossible, as experience had shown, to pass an unopposed Bill through the House dealing effectively with (he subject so long as the hon. Member for Mid Lanark remained a Member of the House. That being so, it seemed to him that, if a Select Committee were to be appointed, it would take some time to hear evidence, and the probability was that there would not have been much time left in which to pass the Bill. He was sure the ingenuity of the hon. Member and his friends would have been quite sufficient to prevent the passing of the measure, which he hoped would be placed on the Statute-book before the end of the session. He, therefore, suggested to the Prime Minister that it would be advisable to have the matter dealt with more quickly, and the right hon. Gentleman agreed to the suggestion that a Departmental Committee should be appointed. He desired to associate himself entirely with everything that fell from his hon. friend, who moved the Second Reading of the Bill, with respect to. the ability and courtesy with which Mr. Fenwick presided over the Committee. It was on the Report presented by the Committee that his hon. friend asked the House to pass this Bill. The hon. Member for Mid Lanark had made a great complaint that what he called the interests of the public had not been represented on the Committee.

MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)

I did not say that they were not represented on the Committee, but that there was no representation of them in the evidence. The publishers were represented—the other side was represented—but there was no witness on behalf of the public.


said he would read a paragraph from the separate Report by the hon. Member for Mid Lanark and leave the House to judge— The evidence given disclosed the existence of another interest—that of the general public interested in the cultivation of music—an interest, however, which was not specially represented at the inquiry; which is practically ignored in the Report of the majority of the Committee; but which, nevertheless, falls to be considered in any amendment of the Law which may be deemed necessary. The hon. Member now came forward as the great apostle of the cultivators of music, whose interest, he said, was not specially represented at the inquiry. As he himself had something to do with the appointment of the Committee ho would call the attention of the House to the Gentlemen who constituted it. Mr. Fenwick, the chairman, represented more especially the Home Office; Mr. Scrutton, an eminent lawyer, was put on to represent the Board of Trade, who, curiously, had an interest in copyright. It was an extraordinary fact in connection with the public service that copyright came under the Board of Trade. What was more extraordinary was that copyright was dealt with in the Railway Department. Mr. Murray was put on the Committee to represent the publishers. He was an eminent publisher with a world-wide reputation. Then there was the hon. Member for Mid Lanark and himself. He certainly thought that they were put on to represent the general interests of the public. If he was not put on for that reason he did not know for what reason he was put on. He was quite sure if that was not the reason for the hon. Member for Mid Lanark being put on, the only other possible explanation was that the Prime Minister thought him an dequate representative of the pirates.


Is the hon. Member in order in attributing that motive to the Prime Minister. He suggests that the Prime Minister selected me because he considered that I would adequately represent the pirates. I venture to say that is not an observation which should be put in the Prime Minister's mouth.


I do not know whether it was intended as a jest or seriously, but if it was intended seriously it was certainly somewhat objectionable to suggest that the hon. Member was put on the Committee to represent the interests of the pirates.


said that, of course, he wished at once to withdraw the remark. He was sorry he had wounded the feelings of the hon. Member. If the hon. Member were only half as careful about the feelings of other people as he was about his own, he would have had no reason to object to the expression used. He certainly intended it as a jest. He understood that the hon. Gentleman was put on to represent the general interest of the public. The Committee took a large amount of evidence, and the result of their deliberations was presented to Parliament in the form of two Reports. He thought the House owed a deep debt of gratitude, not to himself, and he might also exclude the hon. Member opposite without wounding his feelings, to the three other gentlemen who, entirely from public spirit, served on the Committee without fee or reward. They had to give their time at a period when they could have been financially more profitably employed, and he thought their services ought not to pass unnoticed. The Reports spoke for themselves. All the other members of the Committee sincerely regretted that they were unable to carry the hon. Member for Mid Lanark with them. They endeavoured by every means in their power to obtain unanimity, and even refrained from asking questions of witnesses which might indicate antagonism to the views which the hon. Member had retained so strongly. Anyone reading the Report would see that the hon. Member showed a bias against the publishers which made the other members fearful that they would not get him to agree to their Report. The hon. Gentleman grudgingly gave a remedy, but he ought to know, if he did not already know, that his remedy would be entirely ineffectual and useless. His hon. friend who moved the Second Reading of the Bill said that copyright in music-was really part and parcel of the general system of copyright in the country. Parliament gave those rights to prevent the productions of authors and composers being appropriated by third parties before those authors and composers had any fair opportunity of obtaining proper remuneration for their skill, labour, and time. The hon. Member for Mid Lanark admitted that a remedy was needed, but he would not agree to a remedy that was any good. He tried a remedy of his own in 1902, and not only did it do no good, but it did a great deal of harm. There was another reason why Parliament gave copyright rights. It was to encourage authors and composers to produce works which they otherwise would not produce unless a prospect of remuneration was secured. Surely those two objects should be respected, not only from the point of view of justice, but from a national point of view, if this nation desired to take its place among the artistic nations of the world. The author and the composer ought to have the same right given to them as is given to the owner of a watch, to use. the example given by the hon. Member for Mid Lanark. It was quite right that the nation should ultimately get the benefit of an author's or a composer's brain at the end of a certain period of time, and that his work should be circulated as widely and as cheaply as possible, but he said deliberately that if authors and composers were not fairly remunerated they would turn their talents in other directions. The hon. Member for Mid Lanark desired to pose as a great supporter of cheap music. Last session he himself moved a Resolution dealing with the question of national opera and the desirability of placing music within the reach of the poorer classes. What action did the hon. Gentleman take? At 10 o'clock he drew Mr. Speaker's attention to the fact that forty Members were not present, and he is the hon. Gentleman who now comes forward and poses as being interested in increasing the knowledge of music. The deathbed repentance of the hon. Gentleman was not worth very much.

With reference to the piracy of music it began in 1901 and had been spreading ever since. His hon. friend who moved the Second Reading of the Bill said that there were now about 231 copyrights which had been pirated. The number of summonses issued was between 5,000 and 6,000, but only 287 had been served owing to the fact the hawkers had given inaccurate addresses. Only 400,000 pirated copies had been seized, whereas if they had a proper remedy the number would be infinitely greater. Messrs. Boosey & Company, one of the most eminent firms, issued twelve summonses at a cost of £500, and in only two cases did they recover any costs, and then they amounted to only £30. It cost them £500 to endeavour to protect their own property, and by the remedy offered by the hon. Gentleman opposite they were refunded to the extent of £30. Was that fair? At present the remedy was entirely ineffectual. He received a letter from the agent to Messrs. Hopwood & Crew, written only yesterday. The writer travelled all over the country and had considerable experience. He said that he knew the Musical Copyright Bill was coming on that day, and he wished to communicate an incident which happened yesterday to show the difficulty of dealing with pirates under the present law. In Cardiff a man had two shops in the market, in one of which he sold legiti-mate music, and in the other, which was in the gallery and which was locked up, he sold pirated music. The agent called in the aid of a constable and gave them his warrant, and requested him to seize the pirated copies which were exposed for sale. The owner of the shop defied them and threatened an action for trespass. The constable thereupon refused to act. The agent went to the chief police office and saw the chief officer, who also refused to act, as he said he was afraid of the magistrates hauling him over the coals. The agent applied for a search warrant and after he had waited an hour and a half it was refused. The man who kept the shops supplied all the gutter merchants in the town who acted as his salesmen, and ultimately it cost the agent £13 to secure the destruction of the copies which were exposed for sale. In such a state of things could it be denied that his hon. friend was justified is asking the House of Commons to apply the simple but effectual remedy proposed in the Bill? If the persons who sold pirated music were a respectable class of the community then there might be something to be said on the other side, but it was well known that they were not in any sense respectable citizens who were carrying on a respectable trade. Willats, who was called the king of the pirates, admitted that he had been summoned four or five times for selling pirated music, and that he had been fined.


The man was not fined; he had to pay the costs.


said he was surprised at the hon. Gentleman's want of information. Still, he was content to accept his definition of the case.


I may say I know nothing whatever about this man. During the whole time of the inquiry I had no communication direct or indirect with anyone. Until his letter came before the Committee asking to be heard, I was absolutely ignorant of the existence of any pirate of the name. I think it is not fair that the hon. Member should attack me in this way.


I think it is a case of honi soit qui mal y pense. I did not accuse the hon. Member of having been connected with pirates. I only said he seemed to know all about them.


Yes, because on the evidence laid before the Committee, it was plain what had taken place. I paid attention to what the Committee was doing.


I am aware that the hon. Member did pay careful attention to what the Committee was doing. I am bound to admit that I did not stop there all the time, but I never made any suggestion that the hon. Member was in league with the pirates, and I do not do so now. I am quite prepared to accept his statement that he had no knowledge of the man Willats. At all events, that man, when he gave evidence before the Committee, admitted that he had had to pay the costs of the action which had been brought against him. Does the hon. Member defend this man seeing that, by having been called upon to pay the costs, he was shown to be in the wrong? Does the hon. Member defend him for having, under such circumstances, endeavoured to break the law of the country? If he does not, why did he interrupt me when I stated that this man had been fined; why did he seek to draw the distinction that the man had only paid the costs? I have gone into this matter thoroughly, and I know a great deal about Willats that is not to his credit; but I do not see any necessity for going into his past character now. I only ask the House to remember what sort of a man he is, so that they may know how much reliance to place upon his word. I do not believe that the House would be justified in believing him under any circumstances.


I do not ask that, but perhaps the House will allow me to enlarge the knowledge of the hon. Member as to this man's real character. I will quote from the evidence which he gave. He was examined by Mr. Serutton, and he was asked whether this was the first time he had come in conflict with the laws of thiscountry. Tothatheanswered— I do not understand. then came the question— You have been imprisoned? and to that the answer was— I will tell you what it was for. next he was asked— Were not Messrs. Whittinghame the proseeutors? and to that he replied— Yes. There they had evidence that the man had been guilty of embezzlement.


Read the rest of it-Let the House hear his explanation.


I did not want to take up the time of the House. This man pleaded guilty, and he has been imprisoned for three months for embezzlement, but, if the hon. Member is so impatient, I will read on. Am I not right in saying he pleaded guilty?


No, he did not.


Then he was found guilty of embezzlement, and sentenced by the judge to three months imprisonment in the second division. The man certainly goes on to explain the circumstances under which he was convicted. He said that Messrs. Whittinghame owed him, £25, that they were going into bankruptcy, hat he collected an account from one of their customers, and informed them that he had so collected it; that no notice was taken of his having done so until after the bankruptcy, when the matter went into the hands of the Official Receiver, who wrote and told him that; if he liked to pay the money back, no more would be heard about it, but otherwise, he would be prosecuted. That letter was not produced in Court, and he had serious doubts whether it was ever written.


I rise to a point of order.


I decline to give way to the hon. Gentleman. I really do not know why he is anxious to defend this man; it is most extraordinary on his part. All I wish the House to bear in mind is that this man was a pirate, and his position should be carefully considered before he is believed.


here rose again.


I am not going to give way to the hon. Gentleman. He will have an opportunity of placing his explanation before the House later on. I will read further what the man said in explanation. He said he did not think he had done anything wrong; he looked upon what he had collected as belonging to him. Unfortunately, however, for him the judge took a different view. Had I known that the hon. Member was going to challenge my statement on this point I should have come prepared with further facts about this man which would have put, I think, an entirely different construction upon the case. Still, I repeat that all I want the House to bear in mind is that this man, Willats, is one of the class of hawkers and pirates. The Committee also had before it Superintendent Moore, of the Police, who had had a great deal to do with this question, and had dealt with it so far as the police could possibly do anything under the existing law. He was asked a question in regard to the class of people from whom these pirates were drawn, and he informed the. Committee that they were mostly of the criminal class, that they were persons who had been convicted, that they were gutter-men, that they lived in common lodging-houses, and that, consequently, there was considerable difficulty in serving summonses upon them. He also added another fact in which the House would be interested, namely, that a large number of them were foreign, alien Jews, so that, unfortunately, we in this country not only had pirates among our own countrymen, but we imported them from foreign countries. He trusted that by the end of the session the Home Office would have put a stop to that practice. In considering the remedies which they were to apply in a case like this it was well to understand the character of the people with whom they were dealing. They must apply their remedies carefully. He wished to give one or two words of personal explanation. During the Parliamentary recess he issued to every Member of the House a copy of the Bill which he proposed to introduce, with a short statement as to what the Bill was about, and he asked for assistance in obtaining a position in the ballot. The Bill was drafted before the Departmental Committee had reported, and all the remedies he suggested were remedies which had been practically agreed to by (he hon. Member for Mid Lanark last session.


I thought the hon. Member represented me as opposed to any remedy whatever?


said he was sorry that either the hon. Gentleman had wilfully misunderstood him, or was incapable of understanding him. What he said was that the hon Member had opposed every effectual remedy that had been put forward, and that he wished to repeat. The Bill, as he had said, contained all the remedies to which the hon. Gentleman last session had agreed. He merely mentioned that in order to explain to the House why, while he was willing to try certain remedies then, he was now supporting the much more drastic remedies proposed by the hon. Member in charge of the Bill. The evidence given before the Departmental Committee had convinced him that there was no possibility of effectually dealing with the evils by the remedies which he had proposed, and he had, therefore, come to the conclusion that if they were to effectually deal with them it would be necessary to have the much more severe remedies which the Committee suggested. The evidence given before the Committee left them in no doubt whatever as to what remedies ought to be applied. One of the witnesses was Sir Harry Poland, for many years the Chief Public Prosecutor, of whom it was said that in the whole course of his experience he had never once been known to prosecute a prisoner unfairly. If that were true, and he believed it was, surely the House ought to attach great weight to what he had said in his evidence. The Committee also had before them two distinguished police magistrates—Mr. Rose and Mr. Dickinson. Their evidence was practically identical. They suggested the same remedies, and he would like to be allowed to read one extract from the evidence of Mr. Rose He said he was not so shocked as might perhaps be expected, at the idea of apprehending persons who were selling pirated music. If those persons could only be readied by making it penal, and by apprehending them, he confessed he could not see why they should not be so treated That was sufficient to show how necessary it was that the House should grant an effectual remedy for this evil.

When talking of pirates, he wondered how many Members there were in the House who knew how piracy was carriedon. Now, piracy was the taking of another man's property and selling it as though it were his own—a process not indistinguishable from stealing. The pirate selected what songs he would sell. He selected only those songs which had proved to be a success; he photographed them, put that production on a plate and then printed any number of copies. Not only that, but sometimes a song was copied out in rough hand. Now, unless power was given to destroy these plates the root of the evil could not be struck at. Having produced these copies, how were they sold? The manufacturers of these copies were much too wary to go themselves out into the street to sell them. They had agents. They employed a middleman who had no shop or abode, but had what was known as a "lock-up"—a place on an upper story of a building in the city or elsewhere. He himself had been anxious to discover how this process was carried on, and had visited one of these "shops." He found there shelve? carefully partitioned off, in which the various pirated copies were kept. But the middleman was wary; he did not purchase any very large number of copies from the printer, so that he only kept a few there. Moreover, he did not sell them to the public. He employed somebody else; and went to where hawkers were to be found. Now, hawkers were to be found principally in public houses. He made that statement because it might be agreeable to the advocates of temperance reform. The hawker was found in the public house by the middleman, who sold him the limit of twenty-five copies. There was no risk of detection as to who was the printer in purchasing from the hawker, because the hawker did not know who the printer was. Moreover, the hawker adopted various forms of selling. He sold in the street; he canvassed from house to house, from door to door; and solicited orders by post. He sold either from the kerbstone, or from a barrow, or from market stalls. He might even go outside a music-seller's shop who was selling legitimate copies of the music and sell there pirated copies of the music. He could also sell outside a music hall, not according to the merit of the song, but to its popularity. He commended that fact to the hon. Member for Mid Lanark, if that hon. Gentleman was going to turn a music publisher! Moreover, the pirate sold the music by the yard, so to speak. Four sheets were sold for a penny, no matter what its merits might be; eight sheets for 2d.; and twelve sheets for 4d. But care was taken to print the music as closely as possible. When the hawkers' sales, either in the street, or through the post, or by canvas from door to door, fell off, the middleman issued leaflets or advertised in the newspapers, and assumed various names. Here was a specimen of an advertisement which appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 5th September last year— Special Notice.—For the last many years we have been supplying the public at a price unheard of for cheapness, carrying out our orders promptly, scrupulously and conscientiously, with the highest-class music, of which we have always a large variety in stock. The public have not been slow in appreciating our services, in token of which we daily receive letters thanking us for our never-failing attendance. We return thanks to our customers, and warn the public against falsehoods spread by self-interested mischief-mongers misrepresenting us as obtaining money under false pretences. If any lady or gentleman will send us at our undermentioned letter address a claim of an order unfulfilled (if in accordance with our books) we promise to supply order, or send back money within three days. Note letter address, A. Brown, 66, Highbury New Park. N. It was not a little pathetic that underneath that advertisement there appeared another in regard to the Local Examinations for the Royal College of Music from a student who seemed to be studiously anxious to pass that examination, and in which he asked where he might obtain cheap music. But the middleman also dealt through the post. He issued circulars, and here was one of them from Birmingham— Dear Sir,—If you are desirous of purchasing any further copies of high-class music at the present low prices please send your order at once, as after the proposed amendment of the Act of Parliament relating to Musical Copyright is passed it will be impossible for us to supply you with the same copies after a short time.


Hear, hear.


said that the pirate was quite aware that the ability of the hon. Member for Mid Lanark to prevent an efiectual remedy being provided was coming to an end, and that he would have to cease soon carrying on his nefarious trade. What was the "high-class" music that was being sold? "The Honeysuckle and the Bee," "The horse the missus dries the clothes on," "You can get a sweetheart any day, but not another mother," "Looping the loop with Lucy," and so forth. If that was the high-class music the hon. Member for Mid Lanark wished to see taught in the board schools, and if it was for the production of such music at cheap rates that the hon. Member thought pi rates should be leniently dealt with, he could only say that, as one who had been interested in music all his life, he would be sorry for the musical development of the country. What class of person were the hawkers v ho issued this cheap music? If they were carrying on an honest or a reputable business they would have no need to take any name or address other than their own. but in the cases of hawkers who had been traced they were found to be trading under various names and at different addresses. Another practice was to print a large number of circulars and send them round to their own friends in the trade, who simply placed their names on them by means of a rubber stamp. So the game went merrily on, and the existing powers were not sufficient to stop it.

The hon. Member for Mid Lanark had argued in his Report that the Copyright owners had used their privilege in such a manner as to be detrimental to the interests of the public, and to the advancement of the cause of music, and so as to induce piracy. He would take those argument sin order. As to the interest of the public, what was the method adopted? The composer got his lyrics from the author, who was paid either by royalty or by fee; and then he went to the publisher, who either bought the copyright outright or agreed to pay certain royalties. The song had then to be sung and advertised, and publishers sometimes actually ran concerts to advertise their songs. This method, which was the growth of years, was fair to the public, because the copyright lasted only forty-two years, and it was fair as between composer and publisher because it was the system adopted all over the country. There was no compulsion whatever upon the composer and author to adopt this method unless they thought fit. As a matter of fact, at one time the composers and authors endeavoured to do without the publisher by forming a combination amongst themselves. but the attempt utterly failed, the reason of the failure being that capital was necessary, and for the most part neither composers nor authors were possessed of much wealth. If the present system was detrimental to the interests of the public, it necessarily followed that some other system ought to be adopted, but he maintained that there was no other system possible except that of the composers and authors themselves publishing. That meant that a person would be able to acquire the copyright only if he composed, published, advertised, and sung his own songs. He might be able to satisfy the first three, but the fourth of those requirements would be a serious impediment to composers. The next argument of the hon. Gentleman was that the present system was detrimeiital to the advancement of the cause of music. It was difficult to understand the sudden desire evinced by the hon. Member to advance the cause of music. Doubtless he had some ulterior motive—he did not say it was a bad one, but it was not apparent on the face of the circumstances. It was the more difficult to understand inasmuch as the hon. Member was the person who succeeded in preventing the House of Commons from discussing the question last year. The third argument of the hon. Member was that "the excessive price charged to the public for music, as compared with the cost of production (even after allowing the fullest remuneration to the composer) offered a great temptation to piracy." If there was anything in that argument, it followed logically that if the price was reduced piracy would cease. But what had happened? An eminent firm of publishers, Messrs. Day & Co., had published a sixpenny edition of a cheaper class of music, and those very songs were amongst the first taken by the pirates. In the face of that fact how could it be argued that the dearness of music had anything to do with the piracy? The complaint was that the price of music was excessive. How was a song produced? The publisher had to agree with the author, and his royalty was frequently about 1d. per copy, and sometimes he was paid a fee of perhaps twenty or thirty guineas. He was speaking from the point of view of the publisher. He often had to pay to the composer not only a retaining fee, but sometimes a royalty of 6d. per copy. One of the most eminent of English musicians, whose memory was still fresh to the English musical public, got as much as 6d. per copy in royalties during the latter years of his life. The publisher having got the song and published it, it had to be advertised, which often was very expensive; and not only this, but it had to be sung, and some of the eminent singers, like Miss Clara Butt and Mr. Andrew Black, had been known to get as much as 3d. per copy. He had heard of one eminent singer who got as much as £600 for singing a copyright song. The hon. Member for Mid. Lanark, who had discussed this subject without having mastered the facts, believed that English copyright music was largely printed abroad. Here was one of those cases where a little knowledge was a dangerous thing. The hon. Member had got that information from the evidence given by Mr. Enoch in reply to a question put by himself. Mr. Enoch stated that four-fifths of English copyright music was printed abroad, and upon that the hon. Member for Mid Lanark made his statement that four-fifths of English music was printed abroad. That was a mis-statement of the facts, although he did not wish to throw any reflection on Mr. Enoch's evidence or the Report of the hon. Member opposite. Take, for example, Messrs. Chappell&Co., Boosey & Co., and Messrs. Novello, who were the principal publishers of music in London. Messrs. Novello had got their own printing works and engraving staff, and not a note of any kind produced by them was sent out. Messrs. Chappell & Co. employed their own printers and engravers, and so did Messrs. Boosey & Co. The hon. Member had referred to Glasgow. Was he aware that even from his own native town of Manchester they sent music to be engraved and published in Glasgow, and what was more, it was done more cheaply there than abroad. The statement that four-fifths of English copyright music was printed abroad was therefore very misleading, and it was absurd for the hon. Member for Mid Lanark, on this statement, to take that to be an absolute fact without inquiring into its accuracy.


said he took it from the evidence of the hon. Member for Manchester's own witness, and he had no other evidence or knowledge; and in his Report he referred to the answer that four-fifths of the English copyright music was printed abroad.


said he did not think the hon. Member knew anything else, and when he knew that fact he did not know much about the question. The hon. Member for Mid Lanark issued a Minority Report containing some statements which ought to be dealt with. The statement that the printing of copyright music was done mostly abroad was misleading and inaccurate. Then again, the publisher had to pay office expenses, and rent and other expenses, and for the first few months every song was sold at not more than 8d. per copy to the trade. He wished to add, and he believed he was right in stating, that the number of successes proportionate to failures in the publication of new songs, was about one in fifty, and in some cases only one in a hundred. Surely if that was true it ought to be taken into consideration. The purchaser did not need to pay those prices and there was no compulsion upon anyone to buy the music. Frequently the public paid 6s. for a new book, and therefore it could not be said that 1s. 4d. was a very high price for a piece of music. The 6s. novel was, as a rule, only read once, but a piece of music was played time after time and often played by many persons. The hon. Member had argued that music was more expensive in England than in other countries. He did not think that was accurate, for his experience was that music was far more expensive abroad than in England. Take, for example, a copy of a musical play like "The Geisha." That was sold at 6s., or with the discount taken off, 4s. 8d. If they went to France they would have to pay twelve francs for a copy of "The Geisha." He could give the House many instances of that kind, and it was erroneous to say that the cost of music was more in this country than it was abroad.

The hon. Member opposite had said that he could only agree to certain remedies on condition that the precedent of the Patents Act was carried out. That Act under certain circumstances provided that they might insist upon the owner selling at a certain price. Nobody had any settled idea as to the actual working of the Patents Act in this respect. They were entirely in the dark as to the view of the Privy Council upon it, and it was not unreasonable to say that before they extended that principle they should at least know the result of the working of the Act. He did not attach any importance one way or the other to it, but he did not think that composers and music publishers should have such an extreme remedy used against them. The hon. Member opposite in his Report objected to two points, but he would deal first with the question of exports. As regarded exports the Committee had received some extraordinary evidence from Mr. Stephen Adams who said he had been in Canada and his works had been sold there. In his opinion what they required was to get at the printer, and not so much at the person who aided and abetted the printer, and that was a point which it was most desirable should be dealt with. It had been suggested in the Minority Report that the piracy of books in America was stopped by bringing down the price of books, and it had been argued that if they did the same thing in regard to music they would stop piracy here. He doubted this, but his point was that in America the stopping of piracy had not been brought about by the reduction in the price of books. In 1892 there was no law dealing with piracy in America and books were pirated there wholesale, with the result that the Copyright Act was passed.

MR. EUGENE WASON (Clackmannan and Kinross)

I beg to call attention to the fact that there are not forty Members present.

Forty Members being present the House resumed.


said he had taken an interest in music all his life. He had had many friends who had been deprived of their livelihood and brought to the direst straits of poverty through the piracy complained of. The House was probably aware that the Berne Convention had been construed as giving the same protection to owners of foreign copyright in England as was given to English copyright in foreign countries. He thought it was essentially desirable that that should be done. If this country received favour from foreign countries in this matter it was equitable that we should give the same advantages to others. He wished to say a few words with regard to the price of music. Anybody who had read the Report by the hon. Member for Mid. Lanark would see that he made a great point on that matter. The whole of the hon. Member's Report was based on the assumption that music was too dear, and that in consequence the poorer classes were shut out from purchasing it.


rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."


I cannot accept that Motion, but I hope that the hon. Member will confine himself strictly to the question raised in the Bill before the House.


said he was going to deal with the question of the price of non-copyright music, but he would pass from that and deal with another question which he thought was as essential as that of price. It was said that the remedies proposed by the Bill should not be given because Parliament had already passed enactments restricting the price, and had thereby done all that was necessary to protect the composers of music and at the same time to protect the public. He did not in the least hold that view. He thought it was founded on an incorrect interpretation of the Statute. He did say that Parliament, having given the right which was established by the Act of 1882, ought to provide powers by which the Statute could be carried out. He submitted that the remedies proposed by the Bill were the only remedies which would effectually carry out that object. He asked the House to accept the principle of the Bill by agreeing to the Second Reading, reserving minor points for consideration in Committee.


said the speech to which they had just listened was a complete justification of the action taken last year in refusing to allow the Bill to pass without discussion. He thought it was very useful indeed that they should have an opportunity of discussing the Bill. He did not know how far the hon. Member had helped the progress of his Bill, because if it had taken two hours to deliver one speech on the Second Reading he did not know how, in the limited time after Whitsuntide, it would be possible to get through a contentious measure containing a great many clauses. That was, however, probably a matter for the future. He was not going to follow the hon. Member into his personalities. The hon. Member had referred to his opposition to Bills. He would point out in answer to the hon. Member that of about 170 private Member's Bills introduced in the past two sessions only a very small number (15) became law. and that, of those which were passed, the majority were Bills which were introduced on the Government side of the House, and not one of which had an early place on the ballot. The suggestion that Bills were blocked on the Opposition side of the House was not justified. When the hon. Member talked of the blocking of Bills he would remind him of one Bill which passed the Second Reading by a large majority, and passed through the Standing Committee and through Report in the House down to the last Amendment, by large majorities. That was the Innkeepers Liability Bill, which was promoted with the view of providing refreshments for cyclists. The hon. Member for South-West Manchester talked it out. Not only did he do that once, but on another occasion, when there was half an hour to spare, he talked it out again. He was not the man who should come forward and reprove sin of that sort. Reference had been made to the constitution of the Committee.

He received a letter from the Home Office, when in Scotland, asking him if he would attend a Departmental Committee. It was said that another Member of Parliament was to be on the Committee. The subject was one which he thought ought to be inquired into by a Committee, and he consented to serve, stating that he thought the Government ought to introduce the necessary legislation. He came from Scotland to London and spent the whole of January sitting on the Committee in the interest of a Bill dealing with the matter, and then the hon. Member suggested that he was put on the Committee because he was the representative of the pirates. That was a dishonourable imputation to bring against a Member of the House. What was the composition of the Committee? The hon. Member for South-West Manchester represented the copyright owners. He did not conceal his friendship for them. Another member was Mr. John Murray, Publisher, the man who held the greatest interest in copyrights in the kingdom. Another was Mr. Serutton, K.C. It had been said that he represented the Board of Trade. He was counsel and adviser for the Musical Copyright Association, in proceedings under the Musical Copyright Act, 1902. How could he judge impartially in the matter? In this House it was understood that when counsel was engaged in a case he should not take part in the vote upon it. Mr. Scrutton was the member of the Committee who wrote out the Report of the Majority of the Committee. It was not a Report written by the chairman. The House had only to look at the questions put by him from the beginning to see exactly where his bias lay. Mr. Fenwick was, he admitted, impartial, able. and courteous, but everybody knew that matters of piracy had been before the magistrates, and that they had formed a definite opinion on the subject. Not only so, but the Musical Copyright Association in one of their statements said that they had received "loyal assistance" from the magistrates as well as the police. It was a grand thing to have on the Committee one who had given loyal support to the copyright owners when the matter was being considered and reported on. The only Member of the Committee left was himself, and it could be seen at once that there was a great disparity—four against one. The witnesses were all brought forward by the Copyright Association. Not one was brought forward by him (Mr. Caldwell) and as to the king of the pirates, he absolutely knew nothing about him or about a single pirate until the Committee received a letter from Willetts asking to be heard. He had no sympathy with the pirates, and he had had no communication, direct or indirect, with anyone. He had no grievance to represent on the Committee. He was there to look at the matter purely from the public point of view.

Coming to the merits of the Bill he thought he could state the matter shortly in this way. The difference between the two Reports lay in the difference of view which had been taken as to copyright. The majority had acted on the view, which was openly stated, that they considered copyright was a right of property the same as a man had in his watch. They also asserted that he had a right to charge the public anything he pleased for his copyright [An HON. MEMBER: No.] and that the public had no right or interest whatever with regard to price or the manner in which the right of copyright was exercised. Every witness maintained that it was a right of property, and therefore the Report of the Committee was a logical consequence. If copyright was the same right as a man had in his watch obviously they got in the criminal law at once. But they were not content with getting in the criminal law, because it was proposed to change the onus of proof. They said that a man must prove his innocence They said that an accused person could give evidence as a prisoner to prove his innocence. If it was to apply in this case it should apply to every other. The contention of the Minority Report was that copyright was a privilege conferred by Parliament. The words conferring that privilege were— the sole and exclusive liberty of multiplying copies. That liberty was conferred by Parliament for a limited number of years, and under certain conditions, and the public had a right to demand that the privilege should be exercised fairly and reasonably in the interests of the public. That privilege was not absolute property in the same sense as a watch was a man's absolute property. In the case of musical compositions, copyright carried with it not only the sole and exclusive right of multiplying copies but also the sole right of representation and performance, the penalty for infringement in the latter case being not less than 40s. or the proceeds of the entertainment whichever was greatest. Under this law, copyright holders mulcted people in villages in penalties of not less than £2 for singing a song in public without receiving the authority of the holder of the copyright; but in 1888 Parliament interfered, and imposed more modest penalties, and gave absolute discretion to the Judges as to costs. The result was that now no one had the slightest compunction in singing a song in public, even supposing they had not asked the consent of the composer. If Parliament granted a privilege to anyone, Parliament could take that privilege away. For instance, under the Patents Act, 1802, where it is proved to the satisfaction of the Privy Council that the reasonable requirements of the public are not being satisfied, the Privy Council have the power to compel Licences or may revoke the patent. Why was it that there had been so much piracy in regard to music, and so little in the case of books? The explanation of that was very simple. Cheap 6d. editions of novels originally published at 6s. were offered to the public. The cost of production had something to do with piracy. The engraving only cost a few shillings, and a thousand copies could be printed for £1–10s. for the printing off and 10s. for the paper. That only came to one halfpenny a copy, and it would be even less if more than 1,000 copies were printed.

Reference had been made to advertising, but everybody knew that advertising did not add to the cost of production. A man advertised because it paid him to advertise; and it was ridiculous to talk about advertising adding a single penny to the cost of production. The net price to the trade was 7d. per copy, and the lowest price charged at the stores to the public was 1s. 4d., so that the dealers got 9d. for handing a piece of music over the counter. In Birmingham and Scotland the retailer charged the public 1s. 8d., and there were retailers who charged 2s. The music was published at 4s. and professors and teachers of music could charge up to that amount. The burden of the song of the hon. Member for Manchester was that the brains of the poor composer were being stolen. If they were, it was the publishers who were stealing them. The customary royalty in the case of the very few tiptop composers was only 2½d. net. A great number, however, only got a few shillings for a song, and some only a few copies, which cost a farthing each, as their reward for the copyright. In the case of "Ora Pro Nobis" by Piccolimini thousands of pounds had been drawn by the publishers, and how much did the composer get?—A miserable sum of £10! The public paid the same price for the most trashy piece of music as they did for the best, because the publishers had a ring or combination among themselves to keep up the price, whilst the Musical Copyright Association, according to their own statement, had an army of agents, and spent thousands of pounds in enforcing the copyright law. This putting forward the poor composer was like putting women and children in front of a line of soldiers.

The next question was, "Was there a market for cheaper music?" They all knew that things had changed very considerably since 1842. Singing was now a part of the code in every public elementary school, and there were now pianos and other musical instruments in working men's homes in abundance. Parents did not complain of the fees paid for teaching singing and music, but they complained of the enormous price charged for the sheets of music—2s. for what only cost a halfpenny to produce, plus the royalty to the composer. The complaint was that there was piracy. Why was there piracy? It was because the hawkers could not get cheap music. They and the stall-holders in the market places were selling large quantities of classical music at popular prices, and naturally desired to supply their customers with popular music of the day at reasonable prices, and claimed that they had as much right to sell music and have their profits as any man in Bond Street. The hon. Member for Manchester said that 500,000 copies of music had been seized; but did not that show in what direction the public sympathy and demand lay? The existence of a large market for cheap music was admitted by Mr. Day the president of the Musical Copyright Association. He stated that the pirates did not claim that the price of all music should be reduced, but that there should be two editions, one at a high price and another at a low price, like the cheap sixpenny novels. Mr. Day, whose firm established a sixpenny series last October, in all respects the same as the 4s. series, said he felt sure that there was a demand on the part of the public for it. The sixpenny series was sold to the trade at 2d. per copy and that included the copyright, the cost of engraving, of printing, an I every other expense. That series was commenced in October, and was it not a blessing that the Bill was not passed last session. Hawkers bought that series at 2d and could sell it at anything between 2d. and 6d. That showed what could be done if the wide market instead of the narrow market were taken. What did the Bill ask for? It asked for the power of imprisonment, in order that the price of music should be kept up to a minimum price to the public of 1s. 4d. per copy and anything from that up to 4s. It would shut out the hawkers from earning a living in the market places in the interest of a few West End music sellers. As regarded the composers, if a wide market were opened up, they would be appreciated by the working classes, and their talents would find an opening which was now closed against them by the music publishers. A smaller royalty would bring in larger returns owing to the enormously larger sale through the reduction in price. Concurrently with any remedy for putting down piracy, care should be taken to safeguard the rights of the general public. There ought to be a clause in the Bill that, if the reasonable rights of the public were not satisfied, the Privy Council should have the power to compel licences or cancel the copyright. He was sure that no hon. Member who was concerned for the public interest rather than for the selfish interest of the publishers would object to give power of that kind to such a responsible body as the Privy Council. It appeared to be imagined that imprisonment would be a remedy, but imprisonment would be useless unless there was public sympathy behind it. As long as there was a public grievance owing to the excessive price charged for the music, no matter what legislation was passed it would be a failure. The solution was the 6d. edition, which would enable hawkers and others to sell to their customers at a profit, and only legitimate music would then be sold. As regarded imprisonment, it was complained last year that prison accommodation was becoming insufficient. Imprisonment was now being passed for the smallest thing—almost for blowing one's nose—and the result was that the prisons were becoming overcrowded, numbers going to prison rather than pay the fines. How many men were there in the market places of London who would run the risk of being sent to prison, where they would be better fed and better housed, for what would not be considered a dishonourable offence? For himself he would not object to the Second Reading of the Bill. The question was not the rejection of the Bill but the protection of the public, and he hoped the House would remember when the Bill came back in the Report stage to take their time at any rate in discussing the details.

* MR. MALCOLM (Suffolk, Stowmarket)

said he ventured to intervene in the debate because he had been for a very long time interested in the subject before the House. Hon. Members who had been any considerable time in the House had seen the hon. Member for Mid Lanark play many parts, and he hoped the hon. Member would forgive him for a good-humoured analogy when he said that the hon. Member surprised the House by sailing in in the character of Captain Kidd, under the Jolly Roger, to look after the interests of the pirates. There was no doubt that those who were interested in the Bill were at present suffering from certain quite admitted evils. The operations of the pirates struck not only at the roots of the prosperity of the musical community and the rights of property, which some people did not appear to regard very much, but he was not putting it too high when he said that they struck also at that respect which people ought to fee for the law and public morality generally Parliament had granted absolute privileges to the musical profession in the Copyright Act, and he thought that the hon. Member for Mid Lanark was quite wide of the mark when he said that those privileges were granted solely in the interests of the public. They were granted to protect the brain-property of British citizens, who had as much right to that property as people had to material property. It was a humiliating position for Parliament to find that the Act which was passed in 1842, and which it was thought granted privileges to the musical community, was nothing but an empty form which was defied by the enemies of musical copyright. Was it any wonder, when a procession of four-in-hands was driven through an Act of Parliament over the defenceless bodies of music publishers and composers, that they should come to Parliament and ask Parliament to make good its word and intention as expressed in the Act of 1842? The evidence before the Committee showed falling receipts on the part of music publishers and diminishing royalties on the part of musical composers and singers, as a result of what he might call the State-aided invasion of the pirates, most of whom were foreigners. After an intimate acquaintance of fifteen years with music publishers and composers he knew that not only the publishers who had given evidence suffered but that the small men suffered too. Were they not to be allowed to stand up for the small men? The hon. Member for Mid-Lanark ought to have justified his self-confident assertion that the music publishers were making large profits. As a matter of fact they did not. If on a fine song they made a profit, there was to be set against it the losses on other songs. The remedy provided in the Bill was swift, sure and cheap, and he hoped the Government would help to pass the measure into law.

He objected to the new morality which was being preached by the hon. Member for Mid Lanark. The hon. Member said, in effect, that what the public wanted it was to have at its own price and honestly, if it could get it, otherwise dishonestly; legally if it could get it, otherwise illegally. To satisfy this alleged craving on the part of the public they were asked to continue to allow a coach-and-four to be driven through an Act of Parliament. It was said that the pirate helped musical education and that it would be retarded if this Bill were passed; but he thought it very questionable whether the songs which were pirated had any educational value at all. No one admired more than he did songs from "The Geisha" or "The Country Girl," but he doubted if they had any educational value, and he was quite certain that their composers did not learn their art from either musical comedies or sentimental songs. As for the pirates he thought that the last thing that entered their dishonest brain was that they were giving the people music of educational value. But although the works pirated might have no educational value, they were the property of the man who produced them, and he ought to be protected from the man who waited for the moment when, after expensive advertisement, they had become popular, and then stepped in to deprive him of his profits. This man waited till he heard the hon. Member for Mid Lanark whistling the song on the top of a bus, then bought a copy, photographed it, sold it at a ridiculously low price, and earned a dishonest income out of it. The hon. Member advised music publishers to take a leaf out of the book of the pirate and sell music at 6d. instead of 1s. 4d. Mr. Day himself admitted that his firm did not aim at publishing high-class music, but even the music-hall songs published by Mr. Day's firm were pirated and there would be no chance for his firm in the long run. He regretted that the genius and geniality of the hon. Member for Mid Lanark should have been wasted in opposition to the Bill. He had once looked on the hon. Member as the model of all the Conservative virtues; then he became the apostle of advanced Radical views, and now he was the arch-priest of the old-time calling of piracy and of unearned increment. The hon. Member would take a great responsibility on himself if this Bill was rejected. He would be doing a great deal to ruin a trade which had branches not only throughout this country but also in the Colonies, and he would be doing a great deal to diminish the incomes of musical composers who were giving their best work for the benefit of the country. The hon. Member would also be doing much to show the impotence of Parliament to enforce its own laws of copyright, by methods which were well known and very effective in foreign countries.


said he desired to briefly express his views on the Bill which was introduced in such an eloquent and able speech by the hon. Member for the Newbury Division. He would not attempt to emulate the eloquence of the hon. Member for Mid. Lanark, but would put a simple statement before the House. The hon. Member for Mid. Lanark complained of the nature of the speech of his hon. friend the Member for South-West Manchester, but the hon. Member himself in explaining last session his attitude in blocking the Bill, said that it was of such a contentious character that it ought not to be passed without full discussion, which it could not receive at the then period of the session. He did not think that his hon. friend did more than his duty in bringing before the House all the arguments. He wished to associate himself with all that had been said in praise of the manner in which the Departmental Committee had carried out the task entrusted to it by the Home Office. Mr. Fenwick was one of the most experienced of men, and he thought that for the pains which were taken by it, the Committee deserved the thanks of the House of Commons. The two hon. Members who had addressed the House showed how thorough the investigations had been, and he thought their painstaking labour ought to be appreciated. The conclusion at which the Committee arrived was that a widespread system of piracy had grown up and was doing serious injury to the property of composers and publishers of music; that this piracy owed its origin to the inadequacy of the remedies provided by Parliament to protect that property against persons, of no means and no settled abode, who deliberately conspired to break the law. The Acts which had been found by the Committee to be inadequate were the Acts of 1842, 1869, and 1902. As regarded the Act of 1842, which the hon. Member for Mid Lanark said was passed to encourage music and not to protect property, the preamble said— Whereas it is expedient to amend the law relating to copyright and to afford greater encouragement to the production of literary works of lasting benefit to the world. Then "copyright" was construed to mean— The sole and exclusive liberty of printing or otherwise multiplying copies of any subject to which the said word is herein applied. The remedy against piracy in that Act was that the pirate should be liable to a civil action on the suit of the proprietor of such copyright to be brought in any Court of Record in that part of the British dominions in which the offence was committed. Then a further section said that pirated copies should be deemed to be the property of the proprietor of such copyright. The hon. Member for Mid. Lanark seemed to deny that copyright was in any sense personal property. He said that copyright was not property as was a watch. That was perfectly true; but was not copyright like the lease the hon. Member probably had of his own house. If the hon. Member disputed that he would refer him to Copyinger, a well known authority on copyright who asked what property could be more a man's own than his literary works. There was clearly property in copyright, not perhaps the same as with the hon. Member's watch, but as was possessed by a leaseholder, and Parliament ought to give similar remedies for infringement of copyright as were given if a lease were in any way infringed. The Act of 1842 said that the pirate could be proceeded against by civil action, but it was absolutely impossible to proceed against a man who gave no name or address, or who gave a false address. A typical case had been mentioned in which a man transferred his business to his wife, and thus, though continuing to sell pirated music, evaded the injunction. It was obvious that civil proceedings against an anonymous person without means were useless. The Newspaper Act of 1869 had been held by the Attorney-General not to apply to publications such as music, and the fiat of the Attorney-General was necessary to give effect to proceedings under that Act. The Act of 1902 was deficient because it gave no power to enter premises by force to search for pirated copies. The case had been mentioned of a seller of pirated copies whose open shop was in the basement and whose stock of pirated music was in a locked-up shop upstairs which could not be entered by the police. In another case the door was barred and pirated music sold through a wicket. It was known that there was any number of pirated copies of music in the house, but the police were in the circumstance unable to make an entry and seize them. The police did eventually get in when the people inside got thirsty and sent out for beer, and several thousands of pirated copies were seized. That showed that the law required strengthening. Again, copies when seized remained at the police offices for a long period. The whole stock was not accessible when seizures were affected, and, before what was seized could be destroyed, the proprietor had to be summoned to appear; but it was impossible to discover the owner, so that the police were rapidly accumulating enormous-masses of these productions, which they had no legal power to destroy. He thought that that required the remedy provided by the Bill.

Let the House glance at the extent of the evil which they had to face. Its magnitude had only become apparent since 1901. In that year, only forty-seven copyrights were infringed, now no fewer than 231 pirated copyright editions were known, and 467,575 copies had fallen into the hands of the Metropolitan Police in eleven months. In one week 45,000 copies were seized, and the "king of the pirates" had described these as only a small toll of the numbers that might be found. The composer and publisher, having invested their brains and money, had a right to look for some protection. Mr. May brick had told the Committee that, on asking the street-seller of a pirated work of his who the publisher was, the man said, "Good morning," and ran away too quickly to be overtaken. Some better remedy should be open to the composer other than that dependent on his ability to pursue the pirate through the streets of London. That the law was ineffective was well-known to those who had knowledge on the subject. Sir Harry Poland, Mr. Dickinson and Mr. Rose had all testified to that effect. They had described the method adopted by these pirates, and pointed out how a man hawking these piracies in the street only had a few copies in his possession at a time, which were practically of no value, and when he had sold them drew more out from his store in a depot close by. Then there was the practice of canvassing from house to house, and of soliciting orders through the post, the letters being addressed from some small shop where only a few copies were kept. It was hard that the composer and publisher should put their brains into their work and secure publicity for it at great expense, risking many failures for a percentage of successes, and that then the pirate should step in and by ingenious means undersell them. Civil actions were unsatisfactory in their results, for out of twelve Messrs. Boosey had only succeeded in recovering any costs in two instances, and they had spent no less than £500 in doing so. That was a very heavy outlay for so small a result, and what did the public gain by buying these cheap productions of copyright music? If it were a gain at all, it was one obtained at great cost, for ultimately it must result in starving out the best composers and discouraging all legitimate enterprise in this direction. The hon. Member for Mid Lanark had stated that the right of copyright was not an absolute one.


I pointed out that in 1888 Parliament had so whittled down the sole right of representation and performance owing to abuses by the owners of copyright that it was practically inoperative.


said the hon. Member had complained also of the prices charged for copyrighted music. Did he want it fixed by some authority; did he desire a return to the Sumptuary Laws? Really he was a great Conservative at heart! Probably he would like to go back to the enactment of Queen Anne, under which the copyright prices were ordered to be fixed at a reasonable figure by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Chancellor and Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, the Bishop of London, the Chief Justices of the Queen's Bench and Common Pleas or other designated officials. The Bill in its main principles was one the House would do well to adopt. Some of the details would require careful consideration in Committee, especially those having relation to penalties. He believed it was in the public interest that the law should be clearly defined and its provisions made more stringent for the prevention of piracy leading to all kinds of fraud and impropriety. He hoped the House would give the Bill a Second Reading and refer it to the Standing Committee on Trade.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be committed to the Standing Committee on Trade, etc."—(Mr. Mount.)


objected, and urged that the purely legal character of the Bill required consideration by the Committee on Law.

SIR FREDERICK BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)

agreed with this view, and moved the substitution of the Law Committee for the Trade Committee.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the words "Trade, etc." and insert the words "Law, etc."—(Sir Frederick Banbury.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


submitted that the Bill dealt with a purely trade matter, and therefore they thought the Grand Committee on Trade the proper body to deal with it. So far as the promoters were concerned, however, it did not matter which Committee it was sent to.

MR. COHEN (Islington, E.)

, as? A member of the Standing Committee on Trade, confessed that he felt totally disqualified to deal with the intricate points of law raised by the Bill. Could not the difficulty be met by nominating, the President of the Board of Trade to represent that Department on the Grand Committee on Law while the Bill was under consideration?


said he suggested that the Bill should go to the Standing Committee on Trade because the question was one largely dealt with by that Department.


pointed out that the Standing Committee on Law dealt with shipping questions which were essentially matters of trade.

MR. SAMUEL EVANS (Glamorganshire, Mid.)

hoped that the Bill would be sent to the Grand Committee on Law.

Question put and negatived.

Words added.

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

Bill committed to the Standing Committee on Law, etc.