Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/733

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

POPULAR MISCELLANY.

A Cod-Mountain in the Sea.—The "conference" at the Fisheries Exhibition was opened with a lecture by Professor Huxley, in which he said: "Those who have watched the cod-fisheries off the Loffoden Isles, on the coast of Norway, say that the coming in of the cod, in January and February, is one of the most wonderful sights in the world; that the cod form what is called a 'cod-mountain,' which may occupy a vertical height of from twenty to thirty fathoms—that is to say, one hundred and twenty to one hundred and thirty feet in the sea; and that these shoals of enormous extent keep on coming in great numbers from the westward and southward for a period of something like two months. The number of these fish is so prodigious that Professor Sars tells us that when the fishermen let down their loaded nets they feel the weight knocking against the bodies of the codfish for a long time before it gets to the bottom. I have made a computation which leads to this result, that if you allow each fish four feet in length, and let them be a yard apart, there will be in a square mile of such shoals something like one hundred and twenty million fish. I believe I am greatly under-stating the actual number, for I believe the fish lie much closer. These facts about the cod apply also to the herring, for not only Professor Sars, but all observers, who are familiar with the life of the cod when it has attained a considerable size, tell us that the main food of the cod is the herring, so these one hundred and twenty million of cod in the square mile have to be fed with herring, and it is easy to see, if you allow them only one herring a day, that the number of herring which they will want in a week will be something like eight hundred and forty million."

 

Copyright in China.—A pamphlet on this subject, by Dr. D. J. Macgowan, has been published in Shanghai, and from the copy sent us by the author we extract the following: "One finds not infrequently on the title-pages of Chinese newly-published books a caution against their unauthorized publication, in some instances threatening the forfeiture or destruction of all blocks that may be cut for their printing, showing at once that literary property is liable to be stolen, and that redress is afforded to authors thus wronged. The penal code, however, will be searched in vain for an enactment on the subject of copyright. Chinese law has never conceived it necessary to specify that particular form of robbery which consists in despoiling a scholar of the fruit of his toil, any more than to name the products of husbandmen and artisans as under the protection of law, all alike being regarded as property by natural right. The offending publisher is arraigned and punished under that section of the code which takes cognizance of larcenies of a grave character, the penalty, to which one who prints and sells an author's works without authority is liable, being one hundred blows and three years' deportation. This right of exclusive publication by an author of his works is held in perpetuity by his heirs and assigns. It is not the custom with Chinese authors to make arrangements with publishers, that being undignified. They have their books cut and printed on their own premises, and then sell them to the trade, usually at twice the cost of publication. Manuscript novels and other ephemeral books are sold to publishers, but in such a case neither author nor publisher can prosecute a printer for bringing out a rival edition. Among the subjects which this new era brings to the consideration of Chinese statesmen, that of international copyright may be included. Cheng Ch'engchai, an artist and also a poet, has lately published several hundred of his choice pictures, accompanied by stanzas, the fruit of a life of toil. There is some prospect of his literary harvest being blighted by the appearance of his work at four dollars a set—the author's charge being eight dollars. The pirated copies come from Japan. In Japan the rights of authors are regarded in the same light as in China, but, as a license must first be obtained before a book can be published, the prevention of copyright infringements is more facile there than in China. It is well known that the Japanese Government have long been maturing a copyright law, and the time is favorable, therefore, for these two empires to concert measures for increasing the security of literary property.