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International Copyright



    MB. G. WHEN HOWARD and Mr. Stanley Unwin, both of whom are past presidents of the Publishers Association of Great Britain, have issued a statement raising the thorny issue of international copyright. They point out that the last International Copyright Convention, signed at Berne in 1908, afforded a very considerable degree of protection to the literary and artistic property belonging to the nationals of those countries which signed it. The position to-day, however, is that, of the major active members of the United Nations, the British Empire alone is adherent to the Berne Convention. While Germany, Italy and Japan signed it, the United States of America, the U. S. S. R., and the Chinese Republic did not do so. For practical purposes, almost complete protection is enjoyed by the literary property of United States citizens throughout the British Empire, but it is difficult, owing to the conditions imposed, for British subjects to obtain copyright for their property in the United States. Again, while a translation from the Russian into English is copyright in Great Britain and throughout the Empire, no copyright is afforded to any British literary material by the U. S. S. R. ; in China, a considerable trade in material reproduced by photographic process has grown up. It is therefore urged that steps should be taken forthwith, as a part of the plans for reconstruction which are under discussion, to introduce a system of international copyright as soon as world conditions permit.

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