a view of enforcing, incidentally, that protection from the United States which we accord to them. This might be done by withdrawing from the Americans the privilege of copyright on first publication in this country. We have, however, come to the conclusion that it is advisable that our law should be based on correct principles, irrespective of the opinions or policy of other nations. We admit the propriety of protecting copyright, and it appears to us that the principle of copyright, if admitted, is one of universal application. We, therefore, recommend that this country should pursue the policy of recognizing the author's rights, irrespective of nationality."
On a subject which presents so much that is conflicting and unsettled, it is not to be supposed that there would be complete unanimity of opinion among the fifteen members of this commission, who were chosen because they are men of intelligence, and capable of forming their own views. The subject, besides, was one of great extent and complication of rival interests, involving the policy to be pursued regarding home and foreign copyrights, abridgments of books, musical compositions, dramatization of novels, lectures, newspapers, paintings, photographs, translations, registrations, forfeitures, infringements, and scores of other matters hitherto left to a chaotic system of legislation. But, considering the task they had before them, the commissioners have come to substantial agreement as to the measures recommended. There were two or three wrong-headed and crotchety men, who made dissenting reports on various points, although concurring in the main practical results. Chief among these eccentric dissentients was Sir Louis Mallet; he could not agree with his coadjutors, and with some of the leading gentlemen who testified before them, as to the ground of rights in literary property. Many ingenious and fanciful arguments have been made to prove that men have no right to the property they create by brain-labor, or have only such a qualified right to it that to appropriate it without consent is not stealing. What a man earns by his hands, and by capital invested in tools and machinery, they admit he has a right to against the world; but what he earns by laborious thinking, and by capital invested in education, may be taken from him by anybody who wants it. Many funny reasons, as we have said, have been offered for allowing those who can make anything by it for themselves to plunder authors of the products of their toil, but Sir Louis Mallet has the honor of contributing the last curious pretext for this sort of robbery. He says: "The right conferred by a copyright-law derives its chief value from the discovery of the art of printing; and there appears no reason for giving to authors any larger share in the value of a mechanical invention, to which they have contributed nothing, than to any other member of the community." But, if authors are not to be permitted to hold their property because the discovery of the art of printing has contributed to its value, what right has anybody to hold any property that is the result of an invention or discovery to which he has not contributed? The doctrine would make sad havoc of the rights of capitalists and laborers in all countries, whose earnings and accumulations are due to the use of steam-engines, telegraphs, spinning-machinery, and a thousand other devices to which they have never contributed.
Sir Louis Mallet coincides in the practical recommendations of the report, although not agreeing with the grounds upon which they are made. Yet he exhibited a good deal of ingenious perverseness in embarrassing the inquiry. This was well illustrated by the case he undertook to make out against the necessity of international copyright by the success of the "International Scientific Series," where foreign authors are paid without the compulsion of an international copyright-