Page:Copyright, Its History And Its Law (1912).djvu/396

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364

COPYRIGHT

Approval by

President

Harrison

Review of the publish- ing situation

should be "printed from type set within the limits of the United States, or from plates made therefrom, or from negatives or drawings on stone, made within the Hmits of the United States or from transfers made therefrom," and extending copyright to citizens of a foreign country only when such country protects American citizens "on substantially the same basis as its own citizens," or is a party to international arrangements, as determined by proclamation of the President.

The signature of President Harrison was promptly affixed before the close of the legislative day, and the United States at last, though in a restricted form, ac- cepted international copyright after an exciting and dramatic contest, which began more than half a cen- tury before. The bill became effective July i, 1891.

There had been a continuous growth in the United States, though displayed somewhat intermittently, of an active sentiment in favor of international copy- right. For some years the question was less insistent, from the practical point of view, because of what was called "the courtesy of the trade," by which a pub- lisher who was the first to reprint an English work was not disturbed by rival editions of that and of suc- ceeding works by the same author. Under this cus- tom, the leading American publishers voluntarily made payments to foreign authors, in many cases the same ten per cent paid to American authors, and reaching in one case of "outright" purchase of "ad- vance sheets" $5000, though there was no protection of law for the purchase. American and English works then competed on much the same terms. In 1876 the cheap " quarto libraries " were started, reprinting an entire English novel, though on poor paper and often in dangerously poor type, for 10, 15, or 20 cents. They presently obtained the advantage, by regular