Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/698

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Legislature than is the title of the owner to his lands or bonds. Until about a century ago this principle was recognized and acted on in England, where perpetual copyright in printed books was not denied till 1774, when the House of Lords, following the empty declamation of Lord Camden instead of the sound opinions of Lord Mansfield, Sir William Blackstone, and other learned jurists, decided, on an equal division of the judges, that authors had no rights in their published works excepting what Parliament might choose to give them. This decision has since controlled the law in England and the United States, but, as Mr. Drone forcibly maintains, it was "contrary not only to right and justice, but to the true purpose and meaning of the statute" (of Anne) "as determined by settled rules of construction."

The question whether the unlicensed abridgment of a copyrighted book is piratical, is one which is likely to be brought home to any author of an elaborate work. n the law on this point is governed by loose judicial dicta and doubtful precedents, honest authors have little reason to hope for protection against piracy. But Mr. Drone, following his plan of determining the law by governing principles, shows that the unauthorized abridgment of a copyrighted work is piratical. After a thorough discussion of the subject, he thus sums up the whole matter: "A genuine abridgment embodies the substantial results contained in the work abridged, and, if unauthorized, is damaging to the author of the original. The question of piracy is determined by the application of the established principle that no one without authority shall take a material part of another's work to the injury of the person entitled to protection. It is settled that piracy may be committed by taking a few pages from a copyrighted book; to hold that the substance of the whole may be lawfully appropriated, if published in the form of an abridgment, is as absurd as it is inconsistent and unjust." Under the head of blasphemous publications, he considers the question whether a work hostile to religion is entitled to copyright. Lord Eldon refused an injunction against the piratical publication of Sir William Lawrence's "Lectures on Physiology, Zoölogy, and the Natural History of Man," on the ground that the original contained passages which "impugned the doctrines of the immateriality and immortality of the soul." For similar reasons, the same judge refused to protect Byron's "Cain." Mr. Drone criticises these decisions as being unsound and illiberal, and maintains that even in England, where the law on this subject is more stringent than in the United States, there is no good reason why protection should be denied to publications in which the prevalent doctrines relating to religion are doubted or denied with moderation and sincerity.

Many other important and interesting questions are ably discussed in language which is singularly concise, clear, and free from legal verbiage. The work will doubtless take its place as the standard authority on the subject of which it treats.

Ferns in their Homes and ours. By John Robinson. S. E. Cassino, Publisher. Naturalists' Agency, Salem, Pp. 178. Price, $1.50. Illustrated.

This is the first American work devoted exclusively to the cultivation of ferns, and it is intended to serve as a guide to those in this country who are interested in the subject and would like to know how ferns may best be cultivated. The spirit of the book is well expressed on its last page in the following words: "The writer will not claim that the fern-mania, which may be traced from its beginning across the ocean to its recent development in this country, is a hobby superior to most others; but he does claim that, properly guided, it can be the means of stimulating pure and healthy exercise and study; and that, whether pursued in a scientific way or only as a pastime, it can in any event do no harm, but may be the cause of great and permanent good. If this little book shall in any way conduce to the love of the graceful plants of whose culture it treats, or aid any beginner in the study of the ferns, the writer will feel that another pleasure has been added to that which he has already experienced in its composition."

As an example of the ability of the author to carry out his purpose, we quote the following from Chapter V., entitled "How to collect Ferns for Cultivation." Premising that the desire to collect ferns is