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ITS HISTORY AND ITS LAW

BEING A SUMMARY OF THE
PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF COPYRIGHT

WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO
THE AMERICAN CODE OF 1909 AND

THE BRITISH ACT OF 1911

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FOREWORD

The American copyright code of 1909, comprehen- Copyright sively replacing all previous laws, a gratifying advance progress in legislation despite its serious restrictions and minor defects, places American copyright practice on a new basis. The new British code, brought before Parliament in 1910, and finally adopted in December, 1911, to be effective July 1, 1912, marks a like forward step for the British Empire, enabling the mother country and its colonies to participate in the Berlin convention. Among the self-governing Dominions made free to accept the British code or legislate independently, Australia had already adopted in 1905 a complete new code, and Canada is following its example in the measure proposed in 1911, which will probably be conformed to the new British code for passage in 1912. Portugal has already in 1911 joined the family of nations by adherence to the Berlin convention, Russia has shaped and Holland is shaping domestic legislation to the same end, and even China in 1910 decreed copyright protection throughout its vast empire of ancient and reviving letters. The Berlin convention of 1908 strengthened and broadened the bond of the International Copyright Union, and the Buenos Aires convention of 1910, which the United States has already ratified, made a new basis for copyright protection throughout the Pan American Union, both freeing authors from formalities beyond those required in the country of origin. Thus the American dream of 1838 of "a universal republic of letters whose foundation shall be one just law" is well on the way toward realization.

Field for In this new stage of copyright development, a comthe present prehensive work on copyright seemed desirable, estreatise

pecially with reference to the new American code. Neither Eaton S. Drone nor George Haven Putnam were disposed to enter upon the task, which has therefore fallen to the present writer. He hopes that his participation for the last twenty-five years in copyright development, — during which, as editor of the Publishers' Weekly and of the Library Journal, he has had occasion to keep watch of copyright progress, and as vice-president of the American (Authors) Copyright League, he has taken part in the copyright conferences and hearings and in the drafting of the new code, — will serve to make the present volume of use to his fellow members of the Authors Club and to like craftsmen, as well as to publishers and others, and aid in clarifying relations and preventing the waste and cost of litigation among the coördinating factors in the making of books and other forms of in

tellectual property. Authorities The present work includes some of the historiand ackow- cal material of the Bowker-Solberg volume of 1886, ledgments

“Copyright, its law and its literature.” This material has been verified, extended and brought up to date, especially in the somewhat detailed sketch of the copyright discussions and legislation resulting in the “international copyright amendment" of 1891 and the code of 1909. The volume is in this respect practically, and in other respects entirely new. It has had the advantage of the cordial co-operation of the copyright authorities at Washington, especially the Librarian of Congress, Herbert Putnam, and the Register of Copyrights, Thorvald Solberg; also of helpful courtesy from the Canadian Minister of Agriculture in the recent Laurier administration, Sidney Fisher, and the Canadian Registrar of Copyrights, P. E. Rit

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