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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

exemption of the latter was attributed to their being isolated from the ground by means of their plaster floors. The change of the other cottages into modern dwellings, with exposed foundations, was hygienically a reformation for the worse. We frequently commit the mistake, in carrying out our ideas concerning the salubrity of a house, of confounding hygienic considerations with those of comfort."

Dr. Port brings forward other facts speaking for the influence of ground-air, and summarizes his view in the remark that he regards "a proper treatment of the soil as the first hygienic consideration, the chief prophylactic measure against certain infectious diseases, as the means by which we may make houses, barracks, tents, etc., dwelling-places free from disease. . . . From such dwellings we need not flee on the appearance of epidemics, but in them can bid defiance, as from a fortification, against disease; of such a dwelling we may say with truth, 'My house is my castle.'" It is very much to be desired that the building art could be turned, at least experimentally, in the direction indicated by Dr. Port. Practical hygiene is as little capable of being advanced without experiments as any other art; and where individuals can not experiment, the state should step in, in the interest of the public weal, and provide the means for answering important questions.

 

PROGRESS OF COPYRIGHT LAW.
By BENJAMIN VAUGHAN ABBOTT.

WHATEVER progress has been made in the law of copyright, during the past year or two, is seen in decisions of courts. In the realm of legislation no positive progress has occurred. A project of a general revision of the English enactments, which has been several years in preparation under parliamentary authority, has been fully completed and submitted for debate and enactment; and a very interesting and important negotiation for an international treaty has been carried far toward successful completion. But no actual results are yet achieved by either of these efforts to improve the law.

What literary compositions may be secured by copyright? The claim of a "law-reporter" has been sustained. For more than a century it has been customary to publish reports of the decisions of courts, in form somewhat peculiar and characteristic. The main thing to be given is, of course, the opinion of the court; and this, by general opinion, can not be copyrighted in the reporter's behalf; it is the official work of the judge, and is public property; or, at the least, it is not the reporter's property; whether the government employing and paying a judge can, by copyrighting reports, maintain a literary property in his official opinions, is a question not yet decided. But a