HL Deb 23 May 1862 vol 166 cc2094-5

Order of the Day for the House to be put into a Committee on the Copyright (Works of Art) Bill read.


proposed that the Committee should be postponed till Thursday next, with the view to the consideration of the suggestions offered for its amendment.


trusted that the postponement of the Bill might be taken as an indication that the Government were alive to the full force of the objections which had recently been urged against it. It was not his intention to propose any amendments in Committee, because the vices of the Bill were so numerous, and so interwoven in its texture, that it would be impossible to bring the measure into a state in which it could be passed with satisfaction to the country; but, nevertheless, he might throw out one or two suggestions for the consideration of the Government. In the first place, he thought it was reasonable and proper that the words "new and original" should be introduced before the word "picture" in the first clause. Secondly, he thought, that if Parliament were prepared to grant a copyright, it ought at once and absolutely, without any necessity for negotiation or arrangement between the parties, to vest that right in the employer, and not in the artist. Such was the law in France, and in the discussion upon the Bill the other night the Lord Chancellor rested his argument upon the expediency and necessity of making our law correspond with that of our neighbours on the Continent. His third suggestion had reference to the question of registration. Not a single word had yet been said in explanation of that extraordinary clause in the Bill, which provided that copyright was to be obtained without the necessity of registration, except after the lapse of a twelvemonth. An arrangement more in expedient, more impolitic, and more inconsistent with justice, could not well have been devised. He trusted the objections, which had been raise against the Bill would lead his noble Friend the President of the Council more carefully to consider its provisions, and introduce into it those modifications of which it stood in need. He thought, however, that the more the provisions of the Bill were examined, the more they would be found impracticable or disadvantageous.


said, that as the Committee was to be postponed, he would not now enter into these questions. It appeared to him that the noble Lord was attempting to rediscuss the second reading of the Bill, which had been agreed to last night.


observed, that under the operation of the Bill, as it stood, an artist in Australia who happened to make a copy of a work sent out to the colony, might do so without knowing that the work had been registered in this country; and might, in consequence, unwittingly be subjected to all the inconvenience which the penal operation of the Bill would entail.


reminded the noble Earl (Earl Granville) that next Thursday was Ascension Day, when the House would not sit.


agreed to fix Friday for the Committee.

Committee put off to Friday next.

House adjourned at a quarter before Six o'clock, to Monday next, half-past Eleven o'clock.