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International Copyright of Photographs
1888, 17 August
In the section "Talk in the Studio" in "The Photographic News",Vol.XXXII, No.1563, August 17, 1888, p.528.
International Copyright Of Photographs. A. E Whitehouse, of the Hyde Park Gallery, 30, St. George's Place, S.W., appeared before Mr. d'Eyncourt, at the Westminster Police Court, yesterday, to answer eighteen summonses under the Copyright Act of 1862 (25 and 26 Vict., chap. 68) at the instance of Sir. Charles Hauff, the London agent of Messrs. Adolphe Braun and Company, of Paris, charging him with selling and multiplying for sale pirated copies of their registered copyright photographs La Longeuse, La Beequee, En Bacchus, and A. Cythere. Mr. Mann (Mann and Taylor) appeared for the prosecution; and Mr. R. C. Glenn was counsel for the defendant. Mr. Maun said that Messrs. Braun and Co., the well known photographers of Paris, had been in the habit of acquiring from artists of celebrated pictures exhibited in the Salon the right to take negatives for the purpose of producing a copyright photograph, copies of which could be sold. Within three months of the opening of the Salon they registered their copyright at Stationers' Hall, England. In 1862 photographs first became the subject-matter of copyright to the author, being a British subject. The author was the person who made the negative, not the mere operator. The Act of 1862 dealt only with the right of a person who was a British subject, but it incorporated the International Copyright Act of 1814, which provided that an Order in Council might be made giving to subjects of foreign countries with whom a treaty or convention might be made the same right of acquiring a full and perfect copyright in their works in this country as an Englishman possessed, subject of course to proper registration. In 1886 the copyright law was amended and consolidated, but it did not take away a foreigner's right of registration in this country, and therefore, by an Order in Council made Jan. 10, 1852, following a treaty or convention with the French Republic, the complainants, who had done everything which the law required to preserve their property rights, complained that the defendant had and still continued to infringe them by selling and exposing for sale the photographs specified in the informations. Mr. D'Eyncourt pointed out that the proceedings were under the Act of 1862 which admittedly only applied to British subjects. It was a case of very great difficulty. Mr. Mann said the complainant was proceeding as if he was a British subject. To all intents and purposes, the Order in Council following the International Copyright Act of 1814 made him one. Mr. Glen stated that his idea of the law was very different from his friend's. This case was of great importance because it raised a large international question, and he thought that it ought to be argued in one of the superior courts. The complainants had no copyright they could register in this country. Mr. d'Enycourt: I confess I should not be sorry to find I have no jurisdiction. Mr. Mann: But you have, sir. You have express jurisdiction conferred by statute. After a great deal of additional argument as to the provisions of the International Copyright Acts, the magistrate adjourned the case, the learned counsel for the defence stating that his client claimed the right to sell the pictures in dispute.