The copyright of a work, engraving, or piece of music, is secured for forty-two years, and passes from the author or proprieter to his children, by payment of Five Schillings into Stationers’ Hall for registration, and an equal sum for a Certificate, and the presentation of a copy to the Stationers’ Company, and of four others to the British Museum and he Universities. See Registration, &c.
The first edition did not have an entry for Registration.
The right to the sole publication of literary matter. The Act of Parliament relating to this subject is 5 and 6 Victoria c. 45. In the preamble and first clause various former Acts are repealed; in the second clause, the word “book” is enacted to include a volume, part or division of a volume, pamphlet, sheet of letter-press, sheet of music, map, chart, or plan separately published, and “copyright” to mean the sole and exclusive liberty of printing or otherwise multiplying copies of any subject to which the said word is applied to the Act. The three leading sections of the Act are:—
“And be it enacted, that the copyright in every book which shall after the passing of this Act be published in the lifetime of its Author shall endure for the natural life of such Author, and for the further term of seven years, commencing at the time of his death, and shall be the property of such Author and his assigns: provided always, that if the said term of seven years shall expire before the end of forty-two years from the first publication of such book, the copyright shall in that case endure for such period of forty-two years; and that the copyright in every book which shall be published after the death of its author shall endure for the term of forty-two years from the first publication thereof, and shall be the property of the proprietor of the Author’s manuscript from which such book shall be first published, and his assigns.—Sec. 3.
“And whereas it is just to extend the benefits of this Act to Authors of books published before the passing thereof, and in which copyright still subsists: be it enacted, that the copyright which at the time of passing this Act shall subsist in any book heretofore published (except as hereinafter mentioned) shall be extended and endure for the full term provided by this Act in cases of books thereafter published, and shall be the property of the person who at the time of passing of this act shall be the proprietor of such copyright; provided always, that in all cases in which such copyright shall belong in whole or in part to a publisher or other person who shall have acquired it for other consideration than that of natural love and affection, such copyright shall not be extended by this Act, but shall endure for the term which shall subsist therein at the time of passing of this Act, and no longer, unless the Author of such book, if he shall be living, or the personal representative of such Author, if he shall be dead, and the proprietor of such copyright, shall, before the experation of such term, consent and agree to accept the benefits of this Act in respect of such book, and shall cause a minute of such consent in the form in that behalf given in the schedule to this Act annexed to be entered in the book of registry hereinafter directed to be kept, in which case such copyright shall endure for the full term by this Act provided in cases of books to be published after the passing of this Act, and shall be the property of such person or persons as in such minute shall be expressed.—Sec. 4.
“And whereas it is expedient to provide against the suppression of books of importance to the public: Be it enacted, that it shall be lawful for the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty’s Privy Council, on complaint made to them that the proprietor of the copyright in any book after the death of its Author has refused to republish or to allow the republication of the same, and that by reason of such refusal such book may be withheld from the public, to grant a licence to such complainant to publish such book, in such manner and subject to such conditions as they may think fit, and that it shall be lawful for such complainant to publish such book according to such licence.—Sec. 5.
“A printed copy of the whole of every book which shall be published after the passing of this Act, together with all maps, prints, or other engravings belonging thereto, finished and coloured in the same manner as the best copies of the same shall be published, and also of any second or subsequent edition which shall be so published with any additions or alterations, whether the same shall be in letter-press, or in the maps, prints, or other engravings belonging thereto, and whether the first edition of such book shall have been published before or after the passing of this Act, and also of any second or subsequent edition of every book of which the first or some preceding edition shall not have been delivered for the use of the British Museum, bound, sewed, or stitched together, and upon the best paper on which the same shall be printed, shall, within one calendar month after the day on which any such book shall first be sold, published, or offered for sale within the bills of mortality, or within three calendar months if the same shall first be sold, published, or offered for sale in any other part of the United Kingdom, or within twelve calendar months after the same shall first be sold, published, or offered for sale in any other part of the British dominions, be delivered on behalf of the Publisher thereof at the British Museum.—Sec. 6.
“Every copy of any book which under the provisions of this Act ought to be delivered as aforesaid shall be delivered at the British Museum between the hours of ten in the forenoon and four in the afternoon on any day except Sunday, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Christmas Day, to one of the officers of the said Museum, or to some person authorised by the Trustees of the said Museum to receive the same;&rddquo; and such officer or other person is required to give receipt in writing for the same.”—Sec. 7.
By another clause in the Act a penalty of some not exceeding £5, besides the value of the copy which ought to have been delivered, is imposed for every default in delivering books pursuant to the Act.
[Publications due to the British Museum under the Copyright Act are to be delivered at the Copyright-office only. No other delivery will be legal.]
The Act proceeds to direct that to secure copyright in literary productions, the proprietor shall make entry “in the Registry Book of the Stationers’ Company of the title of such book, the time of the first publication thereof, the name and place of abode of the Publisher thereof, and the name and place of abode of the Proprietor of the copyright of the said book, or of an portion of such copyright, in the form that behalf given in the Schedule of this Act annexed, upon payment of the sum of five shillings to the officer of the said company; and that it shall be lawful for every such registered Proprietor to assign his interest, or any portion of his interest therein, by making entry in the said book of Registry of such assignment, and of the name and place of abode of the assignee thereof, in the form given in that behalf in the said Schedule, on payment of the like sum; and such assignment so entered shall be effectual in law to all intents and purposes whatsoever, without being subject to any stamp or duty, and shall be of the same force and effect as if such assignment had been made by deed.” The following is the form of requiring entry of proprietorship:—
I, A. B. of ............ do hereby certify, That I am the Proprietor of the copyright of a book intituled Y. Z., and I hereby require you to make entry in the Register Book of the Stationers’ Company of my Proprietorship of such copyright, according to the particulars underwritten:
|Title of Book.||Name of Publisher and Place of Publication.||Name and Place of Abode of the Proprietor of the Copyright.||Date of First Publication|
|Y. Z.||A. B.|
Dated this ................ day of .......................... 18....
Witness C. D. (Signed) A. B.
In the United States, copyrights are granted by the United States District Courts, through their respective clerks, on payment of one dollar by the applicant and a deposit of the copy of the title of the work, and a further deposit of one copy of the first edition of such work within three months after the publication of the same. Fourteen years is the specified term of copyright, renewable for a second term of like duration.