Page:Copyright, Its History And Its Law (1912).djvu/384
Eelley reso- lution, 1872
Congres- sional hear- ings
Beck-Sher- man bill, 1872
Probably as an outcome of the Philadelphia meet- ing, William D. Kelley, of Pennsylvania, introduced into the House, February 12, 1872, and caused to be referred to the Library Committee, the following reso- lution: "Whereas it is expedient to facilitate the re- production here of foreign works of a higher character than that of those now generally reprinted in this country; and whereas it is in like manner desirable to facilitate the reproduction abroad of the works of our own authors ; and whereas the grant of monopoly priv- ileges, in case of reproduction here or elsewhere, must tend greatly to increase the cost of books, to limit their circulation, and to increase the already existing obstacles to the dissemination of knowledge: There- fore, Resolved, That the Joint Committee on the Li- brary be, and it hereby is, instructed to inquire into the practicability of arrangements by means of which such reproduction, both here and abroad, may be facil- itated, freed from the great disadvantages that must inevitably result from the grant of monopoly privi- leges such as are now claimed in behalf of foreign authors and domestic publishers."
The Library Committee gave several hearings on the subject, February 12 and later, and among other contributions to the discussion received a letter from Harper & Brothers taking ground that "any mea- sure of international copyright was objectionable because it would add to the price of books, and thus interfere with the education of the people"; and a suggestion from John P. Morton, of Louisville, to permit general republication on payment of a ten per cent royalty to the foreign author. The same sugges- tion, providing for five per cent royalty, as brought forward by John Elderkin, was introduced, in a bill, February 21, 1872, by James B. Beck of Kentucky, in the House, and John Sherman of Ohio, in the Senate.