HL Deb 27 July 1838 vol 44 cc701-2
Lord Brougham

said, he had to present to their Lordships a bill on the same subject—the protection of copyright—as had lately occupied the attention of the other House of Parliament. The people of this country took great interest in the success of a measure of this nature; and a learned Friend of his, Mr. Sergeant Talfourd, had introduced a bill on the subject. That bill had encountered much opposition elsewhere, and, undoubtedly, it was liable to very great objections. Still, though that attempt had failed, there was a general feeling throughout the country, that a better protection should be extended to the labours of literary men. It was deemed right, that greater security should be given to authors and to their assignees than at present existed. Now, though he did not agree with all the provisions of the bill which had been withdrawn, still he was of opinion, that a measure should be passed doing justice to authors on the one hand, without, on the other, neglecting the interests of the public. He proposed by his bill—first, to do justice to authors, at the same time not extending their claim to copyright to too long a term. The bill which he now introduced had met with the approbation of many individuals of the legal profession, and had also been approved of by some of the learned judges. The plan which he proposed was similar to that which had been adopted with respect to patents. It was his object to enable authors, or their assignees, by application submitted to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, to obtain an extension of time, when their term of copyright was about to expire. And, to enable the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council to perform this duty without adding much to their labours, he proposed, that one member of the Judicial Committee, with two others not members of the judicial Committee, should form a quorum, empowered to decide on such applications. Experience had shown, that the labours of the Judicial Committee With reference to patents since 1835 had been most successful. They had recently refused a renewal of Kyan's patent whilst they had, after a brief but searching investigation, extended for seven years Stafford's patent for a safety coach. He hoped that his noble Friend, the President of the Council would assist him in getting the Bill, which he now laid on the table, passed before the termination of the Session.

Bill read a first time.

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