Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/53

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43
THE ENGLISH COPYRIGHT COMMISSION.

You think that the system now proposed would not act as advantageously as the present system does; that is only putting one belief against the other, is it not?

A. Irrespective of beliefs I object to my liberty of action being interfered with. Even if I felt sure that I should lose nothing by the proposed change, I should still fight for my liberty of action.

Q. Now I am going to ask you a question which you can answer or not, as you like. Are your books published in America at a cheaper rate than they are in England?

A. It will perhaps be best to answer by definite examples. My volume on "Sound" was published at 9s. in England, and at 8s. 4d. in the United States. A little volume entitled "Forms of Water" was published at 5s. in this country, and 6s. 3d. in the States. "Heat" was published at 10s. 6d. in this country, and at 8s. 4d. in the States. Considering the price of labor in America, I should have inferred that books there were dearer than here, but on the whole my books appear to be somewhat cheaper in the States than in England. It should not, however, be forgotten that I usually send them stereotyped from my printer here to my publishers in New York, and that some of them have been published in a smaller form in America than here.

Q. May I ask if the percentage that you receive (if it is not a liberty to ask the question) in America on your books is as large as it would be if you had copyright in America, this voluntary percentage that they give you?

A. I cannot say, but I should be inclined to think so, because I am in the hands of a most high-minded publisher. I believe that T should gain no advantage by the copyright in America that I do not possess at present. But though I should be unaffected, on public grounds I hold that a copyright ought to exist.

Q. Then there are illustrations, I suppose, in your books, are there not?

A. Many of them are illustrated.

Q. Do you give them the plates of your illustrations, or do they reproduce them?

A. I send them over the plates of everything. I say, for instance, to Messrs. Longman, "Messrs. Appleton will require stereotyped plates, and also plates of the engravings of this book." The Longmans fix the price of the plates and receive it from the Appletons, and I am saved any further trouble in the matter.

Q. Then you have a greater protection altogether than an ordinary popular writer, inasmuch as in the first place you address yourself to a particular class, which I suppose you do to a certain extent?

A. Yes, undoubtedly.

Q. And in the second place you have the hold over your plates. To pirate your books, supposing they did that against your will, they would have to go to a great expense?