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AMERICAN COPYRIGHT AND LITERARY PIRACY. Until lately, the American publishers and the Ame- rican public evinced all that susceptibility upon this subject which an assembly of horses might be supposed to feel on the introduction of any allusion to such topics as a bridle. But our British pirates have for some time past shown themselves so bold, and plundered Jonathan as effectually as he ever plundered us, that the worthy man is at last awakening to more correct ideas on the question of property, though we entertain small hope that he will ever be induced to discriminate equitably in this affair between what belongs to his own country and what belongs to others. As the quadruped we have mentioned, however, frequently derives benefit from the obnoxious curb and, when stumbling, may even be supposed inherently to recog- nise its 'utility, &we are jjnot without some lingering belief that Jonathan will ultimately see and acknow- ledge that the present nefarious system only enriches a few unscrupulous adventurers on either side, and is injurious equally to authors and to literature on both. Even at the present day, the Americans may be con- sidered to have made some approaches towards the establishment of copyright, or at least granting, some allowance to British authors. Ten years ago, this was so unheard of, that when a New York publisher gave twenty dollars for the last number of an English serial then in vogue, he was in danger of being tabooed, if not put down by the whole trade and, like the Irish lawyer who was threatened with disbarment for taking a half-guinea fee, when a whole one was the regular price-but got off by declaring that it was the last sixpence the unhappy client had-was indebted for his escape solely to the confession that it was a stolen copy. He had not paid the author, he explained, for transmitting the sheets, but some imp or rogue in the printer's office for purloining them. The explanation was considered satisfactory, and held to reflect credit on his ingenuity; though he subse- quently incurred such suspicion by paying fifty dollars direct to a British litterateur for translating a novel of Eugene Sue's, when, had he waited a few weeks, he might, in common with the whole trade, have "appropriated" the work from London for nothing, that he was obliged to emigrate to California to avoid the penalty. Now, however, matters are changed. Messrs. Harper, of New York, are recorded to have given Mr. Thackeray as much as ten dollars a page for his sheets of his recent work, in advance; and another well-known publishing firm in the same city is said to have made an attempt upon that gentleman still more remarkable. According, we believe, to Mr. Thackeray himself, .an emissary of the house was dispatched for the purpose of waylaying him so soon as he embarked from Liverpool. Formerly it was the custom for enterprising American newsmen to board vessels on their arrival from Europe, and lay the prssengers under contribution with wonderful per- tinacity. But here was a manoeuvre bolder still; and Mr. Thackeray, it is alleged, amid all the horrors of seasickness at the vessel's side, was interrupted by the indefatigable emissary in a like position, belching forth the information that he would find the A s liberal men to publish with." Mr. Blackwood, and the, proprietors of some of the British quarterly reviews, a few years ago adopted the expedient of securing copyright in America, by engaging some native to write an article or a few pages for their journals, and leaving hIS countrymen ex- posed to all the perils of a transatlantic law-suit if they infringed. American authors have, on the other hand, resorted to the manoeuvre of coming over here, and obtaining protection until their works shall be pub- lished in America. But all measures against pirates on both sides might more effrcuually be supplanted by the adoption of some such modification as a royalty on either side. Were some allowance, like a tenth, made by both parties, the claims of authors might be satis- tied. But a compromise of this nature is improbable the Americans have long since reprinted every novel of the slightest standing in British literature and un- scrupulous London publishers have stolen theirs not less unceremoniously, even when the works were of the most trashy description. Jonathan, therefore, at all times averse to restriction, is not likely now to consent to any legislative measure, and he assuredly will never concur in the demand that British authors should have the same protection in his country as they receive in their own. Some enactment on both sides is, notwithstanding, at present desirable, and must every day becol .e more so. Under existing circumstances, literature suffers equa"y in either country. In America, chiefly devoted to works of fiction, few a ithors receive aught beyond the most wretched recomperse, while the productions of all British novelists are to b3 seized on gratuitously; and in England, works of a higher order in vain seek a mart, while those of transatlantic origin may be appro- priated for nothing. -Leisure Hour.

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