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CHARLES KNIGHT AND Co., 22, LUDGATE STREET.
Price Seven Shillings and Sixpence, bound in cloth.
Chairman-The Right Hon. LORD BROUGHAM, F.R.S., Member of the National Institute of France.
Vice-Chairman-JOHN WOOD, Esq.
Treaser-WILLIAM TOOKE, Esq., M.P., F.K.S.
B. Gompertz, Esq., F.R. and R.A.S.
G. B. Greenough, Esq., F.R. and L.S.
M. D. Hill, Esq.
Rowland Hill, Esq., F.R.A.S.
Right Hon. Sir J. C. Hobhouse, Bart., M.P. David Jardine, Esq., A.M.
Henry B. Ker, Esq.
Thomas Hewitt Key, Esq., A.M.
J. T. Leader, Esq., M.P.
George C. Lewis, Esq., A.M.
James Loch, Esq., M.P., F.G.S.
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Sir Frederick Madden, K.C.H.
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J. Herman Merivale, Esq., A.M., F.A.S.
The Right Hon. Sir Henry Parnell, Bt., M.P.
Edward Romilly, Esq., A.M.
The Right Hon. Lord John Russell, M.P.
Sir M. A. Shee, P.R.A., F.R.S.
John Abel Smith, Esq., M P.
The Right Hon. Earl Spencer,
Dr. A. T. Thomson, F.L.S.
H. Waymouth, Esq.
J. Whishaw, Esq., A.M., F.R.S.
John Wrottesiey, Esq., A M., F.R.A.S.
J. A. Yates, Esq.
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William Gribble, Esq.
Birmingham-J.Corrie, Esq.F.R.S. Chairman.
Bridport-Wm. Forster, Esq.
James Williams, Esq.
Bristol-J. N. Sanders, Esq., Chairman,
J. B. Estlin, Esq., F.L.S., Secretary.
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Sir Edward Ryan.
Sir B. H. Malkin.
James Young, Esq.
C. H. Cameron, Esq.
Cambridge-Rev. James Bowstead, M A. Rev. Prof. Henslow, M.A., F.L.S. & G.S. Rev. Leonard Jenyns, M.A., F. L.S. Rev. John Lodge, M.A.
Rev. Geo. Peacock, M.A., F.R.S. & G.S.
Rev. Prof. Sedgwick, M.A., F.R.S. & G.S.
Rev. C. Thirlwall, M.A.
Canterbury-John Brent, Esq., Alderman.
William Masters, Esq.
Canton. Wm. Jardine, Esq., President.
Rev. C. Gutzlaff,
J. R. Morrison, Esq.,.
Cardigan-Rev. J. Blackwell, M.A.
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William Roberts, Esq.
Chester-Hayes Lyon, Esq.
Henry Potts, Esq.
Chichester-John Forbes, M.Q», F.R.S.
Mr. Plato Pesides. ••
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Denbigh-John Madocks, Esq.
Thomas Evans, Esq.
Derby-Joseph Strutt, Esq.
Edward Strutt, Esq., M.P.
Lt. Col. C. Hamilton Smith, F.R.S.
John Milford, Esq. (Coaver.)
Alexander McGrigor, Esq.
Keighley, Yorkshire-Rev. T. Dury, M.A.
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T. Cooke, Jun., Esq.
R. G. Kirkpatrick, Esq.
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Orsett, Esser-Dr. Corbett, M.D.
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E. W. Head, Esq., M.A.
Penang-Sir B. H. Malkin.
Pesth, Hungary-Count Szechenyi.
Plymouth-H. Woollcombe, Esq., F.A.S., Ch.
E. Moore, M.D., F.L.S., Secretary.
Presteign-Dr. A. W. Davies, M.D.
Ripon Rev. H. P. Hamilton, M.A., F.R.S. and G.S.
Rev. P. Ewart, M.A.
Ruthen-Rev. the Warden of
Humphreys Jones, Esq.
Ryde, 1. of Wight-Sir Rd. Simeon, Bt., M.P. Salisbury-Rev. J. Barât.
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Henry Sewell Stokes, Esq.
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J. Phillips, Esq., F.R.S., F.G.S.
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London: WILLIAM Clowes and Sons, Printers, Stamford Street.
THE PENNY CYCLOPÆDIA
THE SOCIETY FOR THE DIFFUSION OF
COPYRIGHT, or, as it was formerly termed, copy, has | been defined by Lord Mansfield, to signify an incorporeal right to the sole printing and publishing of somewhat intellectual, communicated by letters.' By this somewhat intellectual' is to be understood something proceeding from the mind of the person by whom, or through whom, such a right is claimable. Yet, although mere republications of the compositions of others are no subject for copyright, it is by no means limited to such productions as contain new or original ideas. Thus translations both from ancient and modern languages, notes and additions to existing works, even mere compilations and abridgements, are similarly protected. As to these last however it is often a question for courts and juries to decide, whether the compiler or abridger really intended to present the original matter in a more useful or agreeable form, expended his own labour upon it, and so entitled himself to protection, or whether he only sought, under false pretexts, to defraud the author or his assigns of a portion of their lawful profits. This decision depends of necessity on the circumstances of each particular case. Further, a right of copy attaches to the authors of ideas expressed by other symbols as well as letters, to musical composers for example.
The origin of copyright must be sought in the general conviction which has always prevailed of its justice and expediency. When a man,' says Blackstone, by the exertions of his rational powers has produced an original work, he seems to have clearly a right to dispose of that identical work as he pleases; and any attempt to vary the disposition he has made of it, appears to be an invasion of the right. Now the identity of a literary composition consists entirely in the sentiment and the language. The same conceptions, clothed in the same words, must necessarily be the same composition; and whatever method be taken of exhibiting that composition to the eye or ear of another, by recital, by writing, or by printing in any number of copies, or at any period of time, it is always the identical work of the author which is so exhibited, and no other man, it hath been thought, can have a right to exhibit it, especially for profit, without the author's consent.'
Accordingly it has been supposed that a common-law right of copy existed in England previously to any statute on the subject. As a legal proposition however this cannot be supported by the proper and direct proof of a fair judicial decision before the passing of the first statute relating to it in the reign of Queen Anne; inasmuch as it never appears to have been directly controverted up to that time. But, in the absence of positive authority, it may be fairly inferred, from the old charters of the Stationers' Company, and much more from their registers, whence it appears that some thousands of books, even as early as the times of Elizabeth, passed from one owner to another by descent, sale, and conveyance; from acts and ordinances of parliament which necessarily imply a recognition of it by the nature of their provisions respecting printing; and from decrees of the Star-chamber, which, though not binding precedents, are
evidence of the opinion of many learned men as to the then state of the law. It is further to be noted, that the non-ex istence of express decisions on the point is accounted for down to 1640 by the necessity of obtaining a license prior to the printing of anything, so that authors had no occasion to apply to civil tribunals for protection, as none but themselves and those claiming under them were so licensed, and he who printed a book without this was subject to enormous penalties.
It has hardly been controverted in the various arguments that exist upon this common-law right of copy that literary compositions in their original state, and the incorporeal right of the publication of them, are the private and exclusive property of the author. The question made has been that this property was put an end to by publication: and yet without publication it is useless to the owner, because it is without profit, and property without the power of use or disposal is not property. In that state it is lost to society as a means of improvement, as well as to the author as a means of gain. Publication is therefore the necessary act and only means to render such a property useful to the public and profitable to the owner. If, says Lord Mansfield, the copy which belonged to the author before publication does not belong to him after, where is the common law to be found which says there is such a property before. All the metaphysical subtleties from the nature of the thing may be equally objected to the property before. It is equally detached from the manuscript or any physical existence whatsoever. There is in fact nothing in the act of publication to vary the nature of the right, so that that which is necessary to make a work useful and profitable should be taken as destructive at once of an author's confessed original property against his expressed will. It has accordingly been the almost unanimous opinion of the high authorities who were called on to decide the point, that by the common law of England authors were entitled to copyright, and as there was nothing in statute or custom to determine it, or distinguish this from other species of property, that such right was once perpetual. The arguments for the contrary opinion are collected in the judgment of Mr. Justice Yates in the case of Millan v. Taylor, 4th Burrow, p. 2354.
From the above premises arose the question, after the passing of the first statute respecting literary property in 1710, whether by certain of its provisions this perpetual copyright at common law was extinguished for the future. After some less important decisions in the negative on motion in the Court of Chancery and elsewhere, the question was solemnly argued before the Court of King's Bench, during the term, when Lord Mansfield presided, in 1769. The result was a decision in favour of the common-law right as unaltered by the statute, with the disapproval however of Mr. Justice Yates. Subsequently, in 1774, the same point was brought under the consideration of the House of Lords, and the decision of the court below reversed by a majority of six judges in eleven, as Lord Mansfield, who adhered to the opinion of the minority, declined to inter