Letter from C.J. Dennis to The Argus



Sir,-Will you favour me with space in your columns to bring under notice of the public the injustice Australian authors suffer by reason of the manufacturing clause in the United States Copyright Act. In the hope that Mr. Hughes will find time to look into the matter before leaving London. I have cabled the following to him, and quote it because it puts our case in a nutshell:- "William Morris Hughes. Australia House, London. United States authors secure Australian copyright by merely selling a copy of American edition in London. To obtain United States copyright Australian authors must set up, print, and bind in United States. Pray inform Imperial authorities your intention to introduce bill reciprocating United States manufacturing clause. No other course likely bring about settlement in our lifetime."

Foreign authors were unable to secure copyright in the United States until 1891, and were glad, to accept any sort of protection, however inequitable, against the American "pirate" publisher. At that time the United States had few authors worth the attention of the British "pirate" publisher but, it is very different now, as a glance round our bookshops will show. American books are everywhere. Indeed, in 1891 the value of American literary property bore very much the same relation to the British that Australian literary property now does to the American.

The United States will never voluntarily remove this injustice, and negotiation would not bring about a settlement in the lifetime of any living Australian author. But if the Commonwealth Parliament passed an act restricting United States authors' copyright here in the way United States restricts us there, a satisfactory settlement would probably be arrived at within twelve months. At any rate, until Congress gave redress we should have the satisfaction, of knowing that what's sauce for the Australian goose is sauce for the American gander.-Yours, &c.

Toolangi, June 19.


First published in The Argus, 21 June 1919.
[Thanks to the National Library of Australia's newspaper digitisation project for this piece.]
William "Billy" Hughes was Prime Minister of Australia from 1915-23.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on September 26, 2008 9:02 AM.

Exposing Untruths was the previous entry in this blog.

It's Hard to be a Saint in the City is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en