§ (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, copyright shall subsist throughout the parts of His Majesty's dominions to which this Act extends for the term hereinafter mentioned in every original literary dramatic musical and artistic work, if—
- (a) in the case of a published work, the work was first published within such parts of His Majesty's dominions as aforesaid; and
- (b) in the case of an unpublished work, the author was at the date of the making of the work a British subject or resident within such parts of His Majesty's dominions as aforesaid;
§ (2) For the purposes of this Act "copyright" means the sole right to produce or reproduce the work or any substantial part thereof in any material form whatsoever and in any language; to perform, or in the case of a lecture to deliver, the work or any substantial part thereof in public; if the work is unpublished, to publish the work; and shall include the sole right,—
- (a) in the case of a dramatic work, to convert it into a novel or other non- dramatic work;
- (b) in the case of a novel or other non-dramatic work, or of an artistic work, to convert it into a dramatic work, by way of performance in public or otherwise;
- (c) in the case of a literary, dramatic, or musical work, to make any record, perforated roll, cinematograph film, or other contrivance by means of which the work may be mechanically performed or delivered,
§ (3) For the purposes of this Act publication, in relation to any work, means the issue of copies of the work to the public, and does not include the performance in public of a dramatic or musical work, the delivery in public of a lecture, the exhibition in public of an artistic work, or the construction of an architectural work of art, but for the purposes of this provision the issue of photographs and engravings of works of sculpture and architectural works of art shall not be deemed to be publication of such works.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I should like, Mr. Speaker, to have your ruling on a point of Order. I have on the Paper notice of an. Amendment to leave out the word "original." I do not quite understand why the Amendment of the hon. Member for Pontefract should be put ahead of mine.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member for Pontefract proposes to insert something. He proposes to construct, and not only to destroy.
§ Mr. BOOTH
It is necessary I should point out that if this Amendment were carried Sub-section (b) would have to be left out as a consequential Amendment. I think the House will easily see what is the object of this Amendment. The Clause 1913 proposes to deal with unpublished works, and I think we should be exceedingly careful what we do in that matter. We should proceed by gradual steps, and if we first of all pass an Act relating to published works we shall have an opportunity of seeing what would be the effect, and then, if necessary, we could extend the operation of the Act. Of course, in the case of a published work in the form of a definite volume which somebody has published the thing can be examined; but when we legislate as regards unpublished works we enter into a vague region—a region of mystery. I have ventured to point out to the House that in this proposal you are increasing the powers of the courts, and leaving points to be determined by the courts. We do not want this matter to be decided by judge-made law. We do not want the Clause interpreted by people who, however well educated they may be, and however keen their desire to be fair—and I must admit that generally that is so—still cannot enter into the feelings of the poor people in the back streets outside. I want to impress on the House the necessity of protecting people who cannot afford to go to law, who want literature exceedingly cheap, and who very often are interested in unpublished as well as published works. I presume that the Government are going to accept this Amendment, as they have indicated a very reasonable frame of mind. It is a very reasonable thing that the Government Department should deal first with published works, and in due course they will be able to see their way when they come to deal with unpublished works.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I desire to second the omission of the word "original." I do so for the same reasons as the hon. Member for Salford did on the Committee. The reason of the hon. Member was that this was the first change in the law of copyright. For the first time unpublished works were brought within the copyright law. It is not only the first change, but it is a change of considerable importance. I think if this had not been the very first Amendment moved in the Committee, while all of us on the Committee were ignorant of the fact that this Bill was a great change in the law as well as a consolidation of the law, there would have been far more discussion, and the Division taken upon it would, if not successful, at any rate have had sufficient force behind it to induce the Government to reconsider their position on the Report 1914 stage. What does it mean? It means that for the first time a man's letters written to a friend are copyright, or that any great discovery in science which is communicated by word of mouth instead of printed book and is announced in a lecture can be kept for all time by the discoverer to himself without allowing the public to have the advantage of the discovery. It means that the law of copyright, which has operated so long for the protection of printed matter, is to be extended to manuscript. That is a step in advance which I do not think the Committee wanted, and which the House will think will not be an advantage to the country as a whole, but must lead to an enormous increase of litigation and a vast amount of complication.
§ 1.0 P.M.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir John Simon)
My two hon. Friends who have just spoken are under an entire misapprehension, and I hope they will excuse me if I point out in what respects. The two points under which they are under misapprehension are, first, whether we should remove from the first Clause of the Bill the requirement of originality; and, second, whether the Bill should be limited to published works. Take the second question first, because it has been rightly considered as the more important question of the two by both the hon. Members who have spoken. One would have supposed, from the arguments just addressed to the House, that it was the desire of the Government to include within this Bill unpublished works, because there was an attempt to extend the privileges of monopoly in directions and to lengths to which they do not now extend. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the first place, the existing law of the country is that the author of unpublished works has protection. The only difference between this Bill and the existing law in that regard is that under the existing law the author of an unpublished work has protection for ever. Under this Bill we shall limit the rights of the author of an unpublished work to a period measured by the length of his life and fifty years. So that the first result of rejecting this Amendment is to substitute a limited for an unlimited period during which the author of an unpublished work has protection. In the second place, the hon. Gentleman who proposed the Motion expressed his dislike to judge-made law. He does 1915 not understand that if we accept the Amendment he is leaving all unpublished works to be dealt with by judge-made law.
What we are doing under this Bill is we are substituting a standard law, which is better than the judge-made law, which is obscure and difficult to apply. Therefore, if the object of the House is to reduce within some definite period of time the rights of the author of an unpublished work, then it is clear that we cannot accept this Amendment. If the general desire of the House is to substitute for judge-made law the more precise and definite language of an Act of Parliament, there again the acceptance of the Amendment will produce an effect exactly the contrary to that which the House desires. There is another observation to be made. If my hon. Friends will look at Clause 31 of the Bill they will find that one of the merits of the Bill is that it removes judge-made law, the common law of the land, from copyright altogether, and provides that this Bill and nothing but this Bill, will contain the law of copyright. If you exclude unpublished works from the ambit of this Bill we must leave authors of unpublished works in the position in which they are today to be dealt with by the ordinary law, under the existing law, so that the unpublished work is entitled to protection, not as a statutory copyright, but under the analogous common law. Then as regards the requirement of originality, the hon. Member who seconded the Amendment raised a similar point on the Grand Committee, of which he and I were members. I pointed out to him then that to omit "original," unless you put something else in its place, would only produce a confusion which I am sure no one in the House would desire. Originality in the language of the law of copyright is not the same thing as novelty. That is to say, two perfectly independent persons may survey a piece of ground and produce each a map. Each is entitled to copyright of his own map, though each of the two maps is the same. Therefore, originality is not the same as novelty. But under the head of originality it is required before a man can claim protection of the law of copyright that that which he claims to protect as his should really be his in the sense that his is the brain that has first of all applied itself to the subject matter and produced the composition, or, at any rate, that his is the brain which, though it 1916 has not produced the composition, has expressed it in a new form. In one sense you may say a photograph of an existing picture is not original, but that is not the sense in which the word is understood by a lawyer in connection with copyright. I can assure the House that is not the way in which it would be understood by the courts hereafter. What would be understood by originality would be that there must be either in the form or in the composition itself some element of originality, a requirement that would not exclude derivative works from the ambit of the Bill. I submit that the Amendment is proposed under a misapprehension, and I hope my hon. Friend, who, I am sure, desires to assist the passage of the Bill, will not press it.
§ Sir WILLIAM ANSON
The hon. Member who moved the Amendment has raised a point which has been dealt with by the Solicitor-General. What we desire is that the copyright law shall be simplified and rendered readily accessible. The present law consists of a miscellaneous group of statutes not easy to interpret, and certainly the common law is still more difficult to interpret. The hon. Member's Amendment would limit the statute and would leave unpublished works to be dealt with by the common law. One of the merits of this Bill—I do not go into its general merits—is that the whole of the law of copyright will be found in this statute, and it really is a great thing to get the whole law within the four corners of an Act of Parliament. I hope hon. Members will bear that in mind in considering this Bill.
§ Mr. BOOTH
The Solicitor-General has answered a point I did not make. He answered very cleverly and very nicely, but he touched a mere fraction of my point, which was that after experience of interpretation by the courts of the law in relation to published works there should then be further legislation. I certainly would not like to leave unpublished works in the hands of the common law. What I want-is that we should see how the courts interpret the Act, and that then, upon the additional information acquired as to how the judges interpret the words of the first part of the Act—because this measure is sure to lead to a good deal of legislation—we should then bring in a second Bill. I want the second part dealt with in the fuller light thrown on the situation by the wisdom of the judges.
§ Amendment negatived.1917
§ Mr. BOOTH
I beg to move in Sub-section (2) to leave out the words "or in. the case of a lecture to deliver" ["to perform or in the case of a lecture to deliver"].
One of the astonishing things about this Bill is that in addition to incorporating existing Acts, it introduces so many new ideas, and here is a case in which we are asked to legislate with regard to the delivery of lectures. Ordinary people, in speaking of copyright, place a natural interpretation upon it, and I do not think, in regard to copyright, they would wish adjudication on the question of the delivery of a lecture. What is a lecture? I would like some explanation of that difficult question. The first lecture I ever went to hear was on Egypt, by a member of the Royal Geographical Society. When he was asked to allow it to be printed he handed over his notes, which were on sheets of paper, and which consisted of straight lines drawn down the length of the paper to represent the Nile, with here and there the names of places marked. These were the notes furnished in order that a verbatim report might be given. It may be that a lecturer gives an address, intending to state certain things, and, because of some interruption, he is led to say something totally different. Why spoil an ambitious Bill of this kind, which to some extent encroaches upon people's liberty—from my point it does—by going still further and dealing with the case of the delivery of a lecture? The lecture is one of the commonest forms of instruction at mechanics' institutes. Very often men of great attainments attend mechanics' institutes in the north to deliver addresses to working men, and they do not want any fee in giving their audience the very best work of their brains, though I know that occasionally a large fee may be asked. I should have thought that the mere fact that these lecturers can benefit their fellow men, exercise a good influence, and arouse interest in various useful subjects, is of itself sufficient reward. Why they should be brought into an Act of this description I cannot for the life of me see. I can quite understand the inclusion of an author who has spent years of research over compiling a book, and I do not deny that he should have consideration. But the spoken lecture is a very different thing. I appeal to the Government not to spoil this measure, of which they appear to be so very proud, by bringing in a provision of this kind, which would lead to litigation all over the 1918 country. We want good legislation, not lawsuits. The "delivering of a lecture" is one of those vague phrases which everybody will dispute about. It has been said by one of the hon. Members opposite that Whitfield's Tabernacle is filled every Sunday to hear a political lecture. It is very difficult to define where a political speech ends and a political lecture begins, or where a lecture ends and a sermon begins. I am rather in favour of freedom from all these trammels. If a man has a good message to deliver to his audience, and feels it to be a good message, why should he be embroiled in these considerations about copyright? Let him get up and give out to the world what is in him. Let it speed on its way. If it is wrong it will fail; if it is right he does not want money put into his pocket. Such a provision as this will lead to lectures of inferior quality, given merely for a certain amount of pay. I appeal to hon. Members to remember that we are living in old England, where we value freedom of speech, where a man has liberty to speak what is in his mind, as we occasionally do in this House, and I ask them to preserve that feeling. If lecturers and speakers in future are to consider what money they can make out of their utterances and lectures, if they are to consider how they can be protected by legislation, if they are to study provisions and regulations under the statute, then I do submit that such conditions will in future lead to the deterioration of public speaking and public lecturing.
§ Mr. LEACH
I beg to second the Amendment. It has been my lot to deliver hundreds of lectures, and I am still delivering them every week-end, but I have never had any thought of any copyright in any address which I delivered. When, at considerable expense, those lectures have been printed and published, then I am protected, but I have never sought, and do not seek now, for any protection for any address I speak. Hon. Members may think my addresses are not worth copyrighting. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] I am quite opposed to this part of the Bill. I am sorry to be in opposition for a second time to matters in this Bill in which I take some interest, but before the proceedings are over I shall have to speak often against the Bill.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
I do not complain of my hon. Friends raising their voices on matters which are matters for protest. I would just ask for one consideration in 1919 return, and that is that they should really first of all master what the provisions of the Bill are on the particular point of which they speak. My hon. Friend (Mr. Leach) speaks with the greatest sincerity, but I would ask him to observe that during all the time he has been delivering lectures he has been doing so under a law which does protect them, and that when, he has published his lectures he has exercised the right which the existing law gives him. All that we do in this Clause is to provide that the lecturer has copyright in his lecture, subject to the other provisions of the Bill. If the House will look at the next Clause they will find that it is not an infringement of a lecture to use it for study, research, criticism, review, or a newspaper summary, and Sub-section (4) of Clause 2 provides that no lecturer is to have copyright unless he goes through elaborate formalities which, I am quite certain, would be foreign to the purpose of both hon. Members, and which are deliberately made stringent in order that they may strictly confine the class of lecture. He is not the lecturer who gets up and delivers a lecture for ordinary public purposes, for social or other purposes, and who, of course, does not seek to exercise his protective privileges at all. But you do get a class of person who is entitled to protection. Some of the very greatest scientific researches of the last century, as the result of years of original work, have been given to the would in the form of lectures. It would be a gross hardship if we protected the novelist and protected an encyclopædia, and did not protect the man who may give forth the results of years of study in the form of a lecture. In the first place, we say the law cannot protect you unless; you give conspicuous written or printed notice, affix it, and so forth. We say that even then you must consent to a reasonable newspaper summary. A case of that sort is not the kind of case that should be excluded from this Bill, especially since, if we did exclude it, we should be altering the law.
§ Mr. LEACH
I hope I did not misunderstand the learned Solicitor-General, but I understood him to say that during the whole of my lecturing career I have been protected. Am I not correct in saying that I am not protected in any lecture I deliver now, unless I give due notice that I wish to be protected?
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I do not think that is quite fair, since, as a matter of fact, under the existing law he has to go before a magistrate and make a declaration.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
The Government do not make a great many changes in the case of lectures, and I would suggest to the hon. Member that it is hardly worth while dividing. The restrictions are so stiff now in the way of a lecturer that it would be a very hard case to get a copyright protection. He has got to put up his notice "Copyright" on his desk, and the newspapers are allowed to publish a full newspaper summary. I do not think there is really much to complain of there. The only person who is going to be protected on easy terms is the bishop or the parson in the sermons, which are the last things that ought to be copyrighted. They are delivered to a congregation and it might be assumed they are speaking to the world. I suggest it is hardly worth while dividing.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I do not propose to go to a Division, not because I have changed my views in the least. The very fact that all these regulations have to be gone through shows that this, is protection for the rich man and not for the poor man. The rich man will know all about this and has time to go before a magistrate under the existing law. Under the future law we are told it is very complicated. The rich man and the idle man will have the means to protect himself, and the poor man whose lecture is equally important will get no protection. That is one of the most hateful features of this Bill. I beg leave to withdraw.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment not seconded.1921
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), to leave out the words, "or the construction of an architectural work of art."
I desire by this Amendment to raise the question of copyright in architecture, which is of considerable importance. It was debated a good deal in Grand Committee and in this House on the Second Reading. I venture to suggest that the inclusion of architects for the first time in the history of Great Britain as a subject matter of copyright is copyright run mad. In the Grand Committee I moved an Amendment to eliminate this subject, and I received a considerable degree of support, although there was a somewhat small meeting of the Committee. The Amendment was only negatived by four votes. If I remember rightly the figures were nineteen to fifteen. In these circumstances, I fell more than justified in appealing from the Grand Committee to this House for a decision. I do venture to suggest in the first place, that there has been in the past, neither in this nor in any other country any provision as to copyright in architecture. The whole suggestion comes from the Berlin Conference, and I ask the House not to be too much bound by the Berlin Conference. It was a conference of what I may call copyright experts. The ordinary public was certainly not adequately represented at that conference, and the intention of those who were parties to it, the representatives of various countries, was undoubtedly to increase the subject-matter of copyright throughout the world and in the different countries. We are here to look after the interests, in the first place, of the general public, and I submit that really in the interests of architectural art it is undesirable to make it the subject-matter of copyright. All those great buildings which are the glory, not merely of one country, but of many countries, from the earliest times up to the present, have been the expression of what we may call increased architectural art. Very rarely, or hardly ever, since the time of the Great Pyramid is there a really new architectural building. Each one grows out of its predecessor by almost imperceptible means, and if you are going for all time to stereotype some particular form of architectural building you may, by doing so, prevent a growth, such as we all desire to see, in architectural art.
I want to point out that architectural plans are entirely protected. It will be still quite impossible, if the House agrees 1922 to my Amendment, to take the plans of an architect and copy them, or to build a house directly from his plans. You may photograph plans of architecture, but I will not trouble the House with that section. It is enough to say that that is all amply and completely protected. It is protected as far as plans are concerned. It is merely the general aspect of the building that has never been the subject matter of copyright. I submit that it is entirely against the interests of the general public that the external appearance of a new building should be for all time, or for the period given by this Act, kept in the hands of some particular architect. Moreover, I suggest this reason whereby architectural art is entirely differentiated from other forms of work for which copyright is claimed. The author and the musician cannot get adequate reward for their work unless it is copyrighted. The man who writes a book only gets a reward for it under the provisions of the Copyright law, but the architect is in an entirely different position. He is paid by the man for whom he builds, and he gets his reward. He makes his bargain with the owner of the house, his fee is fixed, that fee is paid, and therefore he does not depend upon Copyright law for adequate remuneration as an author or a musician does. Then I want the House to consider the difficulties of this matter. In ordinary copyright, all you have got to decide is whether the work is original and whether that work has been infringed. But under the provisions of this Bill the Government in-its wisdom have added a third difficulty. Not merely have you got to find out in the case of architecture whether the new building is original, which would be an exceedingly difficult question for anyone to decide, not merely have you to decide whether it is infringed in its architectural appearance, but you have to go a step further, and if you look at page 23 of the Bill you will find that copyright is not preserved in architecture unless it is not merely original, but unless it is also artistic. It may be possible to say that a building is original, but who on earth is to decide whether it is artistic? Is a judge of the Chancery Court to be called upon on a motion for an injunction to decide as to a new building whether it is an infringement of an old one, and, secondly, that the old one is an original building? That is to say, the point was original that has been copied in that particular building, and that the architect who designed it 1923 derived nothing from architectural traditions. Then, are that unfortunate judge and a jury to be asked to decide whether the building which is the subject matter of copyright is an artistic one? Surely to put that point before the House is enough to show that it is absolutely impossible for any judge or any jury to do so? Are you going to call experts on both sides? Are you to hear half a dozen architects on one side, from one school of architectural thought, to say the building is artistic, and on the other side half a dozen architects who will say "That is not an artistic building," and then leave the unfortunate judge and jury to decide?
I want to call the attention of the House to the fact that one of our most eminent judges, Mr. Justice Scrutton, who served on the Departmental Committee which considered this Bill, joins with myself in a Minority Report on this question of architecture. His report is very short. As the House well knows he is one of the greatest experts in Copyright Law. After saying that he defers generally to the report of the Committee, he says:—I have a strong view against the inclusion of architecture as the subject matter of protection. I see great difficulties in the trial of what are new and original houses and features of a house, and equal difficulties in the remedies for infringement. I agree with the view of the Commission of 1878, that architecture should not be included.Therefore in the opinion of one of our most eminent judges, there are great difficulties in the trial of what are new and original houses, and equal difficulties in the remedies for infringement. Would not the House be most unwise to pass a law which very probably, the leading copyright expert tells you, you would have great difficulties in carrying out. I will conclude by reading a letter I have received from an architect of eminence, upon whose advice the House last month came to an important decision. The House will remember in connection with the scheme for a bridge over the Thames we were very much influenced by the opinion of letters from architectural experts. One of these was Sir Beresford Pite, and I may ask the House to listen to the following letter from that great authority:—Dear Mr. Joynson-Hicks,—I know that a Committee of the Institute and an International Convention have taken steps to secure the inclusion of works of architecture amongst those protected by law from copying or piracy. Therefore with very great diffidence I object that this may be an ideal impossible of attainment, and that, if possible, it will be useless. As originating artist it will be no privilege to have secured to me that I may repeat myself in copies rather than by designs. I will cheerfully 1924 bestow this unprogressive operation upon the world at large, and look for nothing but public benefit from the-absence of copyright in a stimulating work of architecture. That Bramante closely followed Alberti's originalities, that Raphael copied Bramante, followed by San Gallo. Perruzzi, and other contemporaries would seem to prove that the inclusion of architecture in a copyright Bill of the cinque cento would have stagnated the re naissance and dried up the sources of artistic progress. I am convinced that the true interests of art will not be served by restricting the intelligent copying of works of good architecture, though the bad may be copyrighted with advantage.Yours very sincerely,BERESFORD PITE.I cannot put the case in better words than those in which the professor has put it in that letter. This matter was one on which the Committee was largely divided; it is one on which outside the House there is much difference of opinion; and I would appeal to the Government to allow the House to express its opinion unfettered by the appointment of party Whips.
Mr. DUNDAS WHITE
I beg to second the Amendment.
I regard this provision as one of the main blots on the Bill; I think the measure will be much improved if the blot is removed; and I hope the matter may be left entirely to the House to decide.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
I have already intimated to the hon. Member opposite that on this matter the Government do not propose to take any action which would prevent any Member of the House expressing with the greatest freedom his opinion in the Lobby when the Division is taken. But before hon. Members express their opinion in the Lobby I hope they will realise the strength of the arguments for the inclusion of architecture within the terms of the Bill. In what I am now saying, I am expressing a view which I and other Members of the Government have formed, and I am not in the least qualifying the assurance that it is a matter for the House as a whole to decide. The first thing I ask the House to consider is the extent to which recent investigations into this subject give us guidance. I do not say this with a view to substituting the judgment of other people for the judgment which Members of the House of Commons must form for themselves, but I think that a wise man, who is endeavouring to judge a necessarily difficult subject, will pay some regard to the conclusions arrived at by a body of people who have devoted themselves to the matter, had evidence before them, and considered the subject from various points of view. The first point is that there was a great convention signed as the result of the Conference at Berlin. There was an 1925 international discussion, followed by an international convention. I do not suggest that any desperate international consequences will follow if we depart from that convention, but I ask the House to observe that the inclusion of architecture in the scheme of the Copyright Bill was then recommended, and, so far as this country was a party to that convention, is covenanted for in the Berlin Convention. Therefore, if we do not include it in the Bill, we are deliberately refusing to do a thing which our representatives, negotiating with other great civilised countries of Europe, came to the conclusion ought to be done. It is perfectly open to the House of Commons to say that, although it sent its specially qualified representatives to consider this matter, and although it desires to pay every attention to the views of other people, still it refuses to follow the Berlin Convention. I am not suggesting that any inconvenient diplomatic consequences will ensue, but it is a fact that the House of Commons ought to bear in mind before it light-heartedly votes against the exclusion of architecture from the Bill.
The next point is that although the greatest importance may attach to the conclusions arrived at by international conferences in the realms of peace, literature, and civilisation, I still think that this country must judge for itself. Therefore, after the Berlin Convention had been signed and the different countries had come to the conclusion I had named, there was appointed a Departmental Committee consisting of sixteen persons, one of whom was the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Joynson-Hicks), and amongst other subjects they considered the question whether our copyright law ought to include architecture. I do not in the least belittle the importance of the views of the minority on this matter; but a minority is a minority, and in point of fact, as the result of the consideration of that Committee, out of sixteen members fourteen came to the conclusion, not hastily formed, but after debate, inquiry and evidence, that it was desirable to include architecture. In this matter we are not acting entirely without the guidance of experience in other parts of the world. I listened with respectful attention to the letter read just now by the hon. Member opposite. But does anybody with knowledge of Germany doubt that the modern school of German architecture is an admirable school? Yet they have this law in Germany. Does anybody doubt that architectural ingenuity and 1926 architectural taste are in an advanced state in France? Yet they have this law in France. Since the convention the law has been adopted in two other countries also—Denmark and another.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
I will have that point checked. In the case of France the law was adopted in 1902; in the second case it was a year or two later; in the other two countries it is since the convention. It is quite fair to say that the experience is short, but that does not prevent this being a fact which the House ought to take into consideration, namely, that other countries with a great architectural position, where modern architectural development is beyond doubt, have thought it right to adopt this rule, and, although their experience is recent, that experience so far jusifies what they have done. The next point is that the Departmental Committee, which by fourteen out of sixteen Members thought that this should be done, had before it evidence, and particularly the evidence—which hon. Gentlemen who wish to go to the bottom of the subject should read—of a very distinguished Frenchman. Mons. Maillard gave detailed evidence, which the Committee in their Report state greatly impressed them, as to the view taken in. France and as to how such a rule was working and would work. We have all these facts before us, and all I ask is that Members of the House of Commons should weigh them carefully and judge them fairly before they light-heartedly throw out this provision. The Grand Committee has gone through its labours in order that it might report its conclusions to the House, and this is the proper occasion for the House, if it thinks fit, to reject or revise those conclusions.
That is fair enough. Nothing I have said prevents that. But let it be remembered that this matter was carefully discussed in the Committee. I recollect a speech being made by an hon. Gentleman opposite which certainly had a great effect upon us. The case against copyright 1927 was very powerfully put, and though in the long run the Committee came to the conclusion it did, it was not by a large majority. So far as I know, that guidance is all the guidance we have from I may call experience. If we endeavour to approach the matter apart from the realm of experience nobody can give us advice here. The hon. Member who moved the omission of these words said that not only had an architect's work to be original, but also artistic. Does he suppose that this is some special recognition of the interests of architecture as opposed to other works which have to be protected by this Bill? Not at all! This introduction of the test of the artistic has to be applied by the courts whether we exclude architecture or not. It is one of the inherent difficulties with a thing of this sort that, assuming there is an application to the courts, the tribunal has to endeavour rightly to ascertain the facts and then to apply the law to them. I quite agree it is not an easy thing in every case to say that a given piece of work of an architect is artistic. It is quite true that there are these inherent difficulties in the law of Copyright.
May I point out—and I am sorry to occupy so long—that it is against the law of the country at this moment, and it will continue to be against the law of the country when we pass this Bill, for a man to use the plans of an architect in order to put up a building either exactly like the original or colourably resembling it. It is an offence against the law of England which will continue to be so that a man should copy these plans or make any questionable use of them. But it is not an offence against the law of England for a man to take photographs of the four sides of a house, to go inside and observe the arrangements, then go outside again, write the necessary details on paper, and build a replica of the house. Is that common sense? While I can quite understand the view which will be adopted by hon. Members if they thought this Bill was going seriously to interfere with the cost of the production of cheap houses and artistic houses; I do say that if you are going to make a law to intervene to protect the architect whose plans are stolen, if you are going to bring the pressure of the law to protect the architect whose plans are copied or even colourably copied, it is absurd—unless it be too difficult to accomplish—to refuse to accomplish the further step and say that the artistic and 1928 original idea as expressed in a building—if you can prove it—is a thing for which you are not just as much entitled to claim protection as for plans which are to deal with its construction.
When it is said, "Oh, but just imagine the difficulty of applying this Bill," I ask "Upon whom does the difficulty fall?" It falls upon the architect. It is the man who considers that his rights have been wronged to prove it. In my view, and in that I fancy of most people who have looked into the matter, the cases will be very rare in which the architect will be able effectually to make use of this provision. But the circumstances that these cases will be rare surely ought not to justify us in excluding from the Bill that protection which will operate in those rare cases. It is said by some hon. Gentlemen that the result of this may be to increase the cost of small houses. If I thought so I would take a very different view of the matter. I take a very different view of the matter. I think that the result as far as any hon. Member may expect is likely to be the opposite. If you want to employ an architect of taste in order to design small houses you must pay him a fee which an architect of taste is enabled to demand in the market. If you are not prepared to give him that fee you must put up with a local builder. And if you say to an architect that when you have built your house, if it really contains something which is truly original as well as artistic the law will protect him from that idea being stolen, then he will be in a position thereafter to reproduce that house, or to allow others to reproduce, even though it be a pure replica. I suggest that it is possible by these means that one should introduce into humble homes opportunities to use the best and most tasteful artistic talent, and that the result is rather secured than otherwise by this provision. If an architect has really got an original idea he ought to be in the same position as the author of a book. The very fact that it is possible for many copies to be sold enables a man to charge for a single copy a great deal less than he otherwise would.
I say frankly this is an experiment. It may be an experiment which will not produce any particular result at all, but in view of the fact that the burden of proof is inevitably on the architect, I cannot see how the fact that it is an experiment, that it is perhaps going to produce no result, is going to damage anybody's interest. On the other hand we do deal with this branch of artistic endeavour in a way 1929 which is logical, because anybody can see that if it is right to protect, say, the sculptor who makes a group of statuary such as that which you may see in front of Buckingham Palace—if these are to be protected—the man who creates a structure equally artistic, equally original, equally capable of being proved to be his own work, ought not to be deprived of the protection which the law may afford him. May I, in conclusion, point out to the House that hon. Members perhaps do not always realise, or have not always realised—those who do not happen to have had the misfortune to be trained in the law—that the idea of copyright is very much more limited than many people think. Copyright is not a protection of ideas; you cannot protect ideas—
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
It is not the protection of ideas, it is the protection of the original and artistic form in which the idea is clothed. That is all it is. Nothing which I am urging upon the House in the least prevents a well-planned mode of arrangement or a new general view from being reproduced, as it ought to be reproduced, with the greatest freedom and the greatest ease, just as new ideas in poetry or pictures are, of course, constantly reproduced in this form or that. All it is designed to do is to stop the case, the rare case, but none the less a very gross case of palpable, obvious and complete plagiarism, and I submit to the House that on that case alone it is not improper that we should do this. The House will bear in mind that in a later Clause of the Bill we are careful to provide for not allowing the full remedy to the architect which we allow to the owner of other alternative forms, because when a building has been started you cannot possibly have it pulled down. My hon. Friend would have to keep in mind we do that because to that extent we are no doubt dealing not indeed with a different subject matter, but with a difference in material, and it would be a very hard thing to say to an owner that he has got to pull down his house because it turned out that the architect who designed the house was palpably indulging in plagiarism. For these reasons, I ask the House to regard this matter with care and candour. The Government does not propose to bring any sort of pressure upon hon. Members going into the Lobby, so that they will be perfectly free to express their opinions as they wish.
§ Mr. BARNES
The hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down, has made a very able speech, as he always does, characterised by great courtesy to his opponents as his speeches always are. At the same time he has left my mind rather more strongly inclined to vote for the Amendement than before he spoke, because the general impression left upon my mind by his speech is that if architects were included within the four corners of this Bill, the lawyers will gain a great deal more than the architects. The difficulties of the situation have been recognised by the framers of the Bill, as the hon. Gentleman has pointed out. The hon. and learned Gentleman has made two pleas for the adoption of the Bill in its present form—one is that we should be guided by authority, and the other is that the architect has to prove his case. The architect, he says, has to prove original artistic merit and various other things, and therefore we are giving nothing to the architect that will conflict with public interest. Well, now, the first point, so far as authority is concerned, does not appeal to me at all. We have been accustomed to doing things in this country as we think proper, and, so far as I am concerned, I am going to follow that rule, and it comes rather strange from a distinguished Member of a Government which generally upholds the system of Free Trade which is against "authority" almost all over the world, to plead "authority" in this particular case. So far as "authority" goes, what does it amount to? Architecture has been a feature of the whole world's history, and "authority," so far as it can be cited in this matter consist simply of a Convention of Berlin followed by another, and a Departmental Committee of this House. That amounts to very little, having regard to the range of the subject, and therefore I dismiss it. Now in regard to the other plea; we were told that the architect has to prove original artistic merit and various other things, and the very fact of the statement being made shows how little there is for the architect in this particular part of the Bill. As was pointed out by an hon. Member opposite, architecture has grown by almost imperceptible stages from the early ages, and at any particular stage it would have been difficult to say that this or that or the other was original. The Solicitor-General imagined a case of a man putting up a house and then another man getting photographing it and reproducing the house on his own account, and 1931 pointed out that that would be a great injustice to the architect if the house was his original ideal and creation.
I venture to say it would be almost impossible and beyond the wit of man to prove that the house was original, and in that lies the whole difficulty of the situation. I am inclined to think that if we adopt the Bill in its present form we shall be conferring very little upon architects, but we shall be opening the way to litigation and endless expenditure, and, after all, the people who pay for the product of the architect, are the people who will have to pay the lawyers' Bills in the long run. I hope the House, specially in the absence of any pressure from the Government, will adopt the Amendment.
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY
After listening to the speech of the hon. Gentleman, the Solicitor-General, I am bound to say that it made no more impression on my mind than it seems to have made upon the hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division of Glasgow. The hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood) is very much against the creation of fresh judges, but if this Amendment is not carried we shall have a demand for three or four more judges to decide whether there has been a genuine claim in every bow-window in every room in every house. I do not suggest for a moment that that is the reason the right hon. Gentleman the Solicitor-General has for defending this proposal, but I say that if the Bill is carried as it stands that would undoubtedly be a very excellent thing from the point of view of the legal profession, but from the point of view of the ordinary man, he may find himself landed in lawsuits, because he copied something that was supposed to be original. Supposing I go to the country to a friend of mine, and supposing I see there a couple of cottages that I like, and I ask him to let me copy these cottages and erect similar ones on my own property. Then someone comes along and says, "You must not do that because it is the copyright of a certain architect who built that cottage." I say, "It seems to me to be an ordinary sort of cottage, and I see no copyright in it," and immediately the architect goes to the courts and seeks an injunction; and so when I was proposing to spend £450 on a pair of cottages I may find myself landed in a lawsuit which compels me to employ eminent counsel. Take another case. Supposing I go to 1932 spend a week-end with my hon. Friend the senior Member for Oxford University, who is of a very artistic disposition, and I say to him I like the design of that window in your library very much. "Oh, yes," he says, "it was put in by somebody or other," and I say to him, "I will take a photograph of it, and I will put a similar design into my own library." Later on I get a letter from a lawyer saying, "This is a copyright design, and if you adopt it you will do so at your peril." Surely a man might be allowed if he sees something he likes to put it up without the danger of being involved in costly suits in courts of law. The hon. and learned Gentleman said there was no copyright in ideas, but that is the whole thing. The artistic bow-window of my hon. Friend is only an artistic idea, and if there is no copyright in ideas there can be no copyright in bow-windows.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
I am not an architect, nor indeed am I a judge of architecture, and, therefore, I speak on this question from a position of entire detachment. I must express my surprise at the speech we have just heard from the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London. The surprise, however, is mitigated from my experience during the whole course of this controversy. I find that gentlemen who have the highest idea of the sacredness of the rights of property—one man in Consols, another man in chinaware, another man in insurance, another in cotton, another in coal. I find that these gentlemen always draw the line at the sacredness of the right of property in ideas. That kind of property which comes from a man's own brain is, in my opinion, more in need of protection than the divine right of property of any other kind. I appeal to this House to stand by the decision of the Committee in this matter. This question was thoroughly thrashed in Committee, which met frequently and worked very hard, and which on the whole, in spite of some rather stormy episodes at the commencement, ended in a more harmonious agreement than I have ever known before. Therefore I ask the House to stand by the decision of the Committee. We have in favour of this course the decision of the Departmental Committee. Taking the question of the convention. The convention itself was to a large extent an international agreement. Every Power that took part in it was bound by the decisions of the convention. We sent our representative 1933 to that convention, and he listened to the whole case, and, in the name of this country, he agreed to this international convention, and to-day we are being asked to make an exception to it.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
That is an extraordinary question. I do not know that what every Ambassador of ours does comes, either before or after it is done, under the supervision of this House, but surely the hon. Member does not argue that we are not bound by their acts. We are now asked to break this international conventions and break away from the decision of what I may say, with the exception of the United States, is practically the decision of the civilised world in this matter. I am jealous of the reputation of this country in the matter of its dealings with questions of art and literature. It has often been made a reproach to this country that we pay less regard and respect to culture and art than other countries, and, in face of a law like this in Germany, France, and Belgium, we are asked to take the lower and more vulgar position of depriving the architect of protection for his ideas. I say, with all due respect to the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London, that that is a position which may recommend itself to the banker and the dealer in Consols, but I do not think it will recommend itself to those who are jealous for the artistic reputation of this land.
I hold no brief for the architect, and not one has approached me on this subject, but I do not see why he should not be regarded as a man and a brother. The painter, the author, the composer and the sculptor are protected, and yet it is proposed to make the architect an outlaw who alone is to be deprived of the right of protection for the creation of his own brain. Is architecture so mean an art that we should deny it protection? The great architects of the world are as much entitled to respect and protection as our great artists. Is the man, in whose divinely inspired brain the idea which is enshrined in Westminster Abbey originated, any less a man of artistic genius than the man who paints a great picture? I do not criticise the action of the Government in deciding not to put on the Party Whips in regard to this question. I do not regret that decision, because I believe that the common sense, justice, 1934 and equity of the House will fully justify the attitude we are taking. I implore the House, for the sake of the artistic reputation of this country, not to separate us from the decision of the other civilised lands of the world, and I ask hon. Members to give to the architect the same protection for his ideas that we are ready to give to authors.
§ Mr. ROBERT PEARCE
I am glad that upon this question we are free agents in this House. Up to the present I do not think anything has been said relevant to this particular Amendment. The Amendment is to leave out the words "or the construction of an architectural work of art," but what has been said to-day has not in any way guided us as to whether it is advisable that those words should be included in the Clause. Take the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London. His view of the effect of this Clause was that he could not go to a neighbour's place, admire his cottage, and take a photograph of it, and afterwards proceed to build a house like it. The hon. Baronet is quite wrong, because that is not the effect of this Clause, which has nothing to do with that question. The hon. Baronet can go and look at his friend's house and afterwards erect similar houses on his own estate, and there is nothing in this Bill to interfere with his action. What is really desired for the architect is that his original plans and drawings should be the subject of copyright.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The hon. Member has omitted to notice the effect of consequential Amendments later on which deal with this matter.
§ Mr. R. PEARCE
Even if you pass this Amendment as it stands on the recommendation of the Committee, you will not interfere with your right to question afterwards the further development of the protection of architectural drawings and construction. Let me apply this to a concrete case. In my division there is a gentleman who builds cottages which have this very valuable peculiarity, that by the arrangements of the rooms he makes one fireplace do the work of the whole cottage. It not only serves as a kitchener, but it warms all the rooms, supplies hot water for the bath, and flushes the sewers of the house. That gentleman prepared his plans, and they are subject to copyright, but I may go into one of those cottages and then proceed to build another cottage exactly like it. That 1935 would not be affected by this clause as it now stands. Whatever may be my views about the general subject of architectural copyright, it seems to me proper this Clause should provide that for the purposes of this Act "publication" should not include the construction of an architectural work of art.
§ Sir CROYDON MARKS
I would like the House to understand that this matter was discussed, and discussed very fully, in the Grand Committee, of which I happened to be a member, and it was only carried by a narrow majority. I am quite sure many voted for it because they wanted to support the Government, and, as we are now freed from that condition, and it is to be left absolutely to the House, I would like to ask what the position of any man would be supposing this passed without the Amendment. Under the Bill as it stands, there is no necessity for any person to register his design. There is no necessity for any person who is the owner of any copyright to enter it at Stationers Hall or to take any other proceedings whereby the members of the public would know it is copyright. This is to be a trap for the unwary. A person may have seen some ingenious device for letting light into rooms and determine when building a house for himself to include what he may remember to have seen as a good feature. There is nothing on record to show that is proprietary. There is no office where a man can go to see whether that design is registered or whether it is proprietary. A man erects a building with this feature in it. He may employ a draughtsman to design it for him, but he gives him the idea.
It is perfectly true Clause 9 and 10 provide you cannot make-him take it down, but you are making the owner or the man who made the drawing liable to damages for an act which he could not know was illegal, because there is no way by which he could find out that it was illegal. There is no registration of designs, and there is no method by which any person who is about to build can find out if any part is copyright, because that which was done in Committee was to remove all matter that was previously required to be registered. Hence we are going to pass a Bill which is to create in every man's house erected hereafter as many offences as there are features of interest in it. These features of interest may emanate from different persons, any one of whom may say, "That is my idea, and I will restrain you from 1936 copying it." You cannot find out whether it is anyone's idea until you have an injunction threatened against you. That is an extraordinary way of legislating, and I say this House of Commons is doing something by this Bill that is going to promote a great deal of litigation. It is going to harass every man's home and to prevent architecture extending as it ought to extend from the adoption of features which are good. A good architect who has a good design is employed upon another building not exactly like it because of his skill. Hence he loses none of his originality and no chance of being engaged again. The more that is done with regard to copying the more it leads persons to say, "That man had a good idea. Probably he has some others. I will employ the originator of the idea if I can find him, rather than copy the feature."
We ought not, as there is no registration of any design and no method by which a person can find out he is going to commit an offence, to introduce into the Bill something which would penalise a man for doing that which he did not know was illegal when he was about to do it. There is no other realm in which a man has proprietary rights in arts and industry where he does not have to register and cover himself. If any gentleman produces a design capable of being applied to an article to be created, he registers that design. He gets protection for five years, and he may get subsequent protection for another five years, but there is one condition. If he omits to put the number of the design on any one article that he sells, then the copyright vanishes. That is so, that when any person sees an article which appears to be good he can see the number of the design upon it and know he must not touch it. If this Bill is to be logical it should require every man who considers he has a copyright to put upon the window, "Copyright, owned by so and so," and upon the door, "Copyright, owned by so and so." That ought to be the case if you are going to follow up that which is the law with regard to other cases. Any person who has a trade mark, unless he puts the words "Registered Trade Mark" in front, has no right whatever to prevent another person from trading on that trade mark providing he does not use it in a way to lead persons to believe his goods are the goods of another. A person who has been skilful enough to devise a fireplace which heats the bath and does everything except sweep up the 1937 room, as my hon. Friend said, has invented something which may be the subject of a patent. He could have protected that, but, in so protecting it, the law requires—
§ Mr. R. PEARCE
It is not the subject of a patent, but the subject of registration of an architectural drawing simply.
§ Sir CROYDON MARKS
If it was the subject of registration of an architectural drawing simply, it had reference to one feature and not to the method of carrying it out, and the man was badly advised in having it done in that way. He could have covered the whole thing. With regard to patents, you must mark the article and put the number of the patent on it before you can get any person into trouble who copies the article. There are three ways of protecting ideas. You protect them by registration and you put the number on them. If you do not put the number on them, the design fails. You protect them by registering a trade mark. If you do not so register it, then your mark fails under the common law. You protect them by means of the creation of a device, or a method, or a process, and you patent that. If you do not put your number on, the patent fails. Here we are going to make every house and every building free from numbers, and to penalise anyone who unwittingly copies anything that he could not possibly find out to be the subject of proprietary rights.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
May I venture to draw the attention of the House in regard to the remarks just made to the further fact that if a sculptor makes a statue he does not register the design, nor does he necessarily mark the statue and deface it with any indication of the fact that it is copyright. I believe the same is the case with the painter of a picture. If the painter of a picture sells it, he may retain the copyright for the purpose of protecting engravings, but the law does not require him to deface the picture by giving notice to the world it is copyright. Even in the case of the preacher of a sermon, which may be considered a lecture, you do not require him to deface his sermon by placing a notice on his pulpit. Those are cases which, I venture to submit to the House, do not satisfy the condition of the hon. Gentleman opposite.
I rose really to draw attention to the fact, as it seems to me, that a good deal of the opposition to this Clause is due to an exaggeration of the consequences of 1938 passing it. The Clause, as constructed, must be taken with the remainder of the Bill. May I remind hon. Members of the definition they will find in the Bill of "architectural work." It is provided that it must be a building or structure having artistic character or design; it is not merely certain methods of admitting light, for instance, through a particularly shaped window; it has to be of artistic design. Further originality must be proved. It is very difficult to be original in architecture nowadays. Architecture is carried out according to certain orders. There is such an immense amount of architecture in the world that really it is practically impossible for an architect except under exceptional conditions to do more than combine the artistic features of the past. Then you have to prove that it is artistic. The-learned Solicitor-General is not present, but I do not think I misrepresent what he said in the Standing Committee to the effect that "artistic" was a term which would be carefully and narrowly studied in a court of law. Further, it has to be original, and it would be an eminently difficult thing to prove that in the case of architecture. Then you have to consider the question—Who are going to law? [An HON. MEMBER: The blackmailer.] If he is going to be defeated the blackmailer is not likely to go into a court of law. I venture to assert that in face of the fact you would have to prove to a court of law that the work was artistic in an effective sense, and not merely in the grouping of rooms for the purpose of a dwelling house, and further not only that it was artistic, but that it was original—in face of the difficulty of proving these things you would have no case taken into a court of law unless it was a gross—I might almost say a wicked—copying in detail of the work of the artist, and that is a thing exceedingly unlikely to occur. The Bill is intended in this Clause to protect only against gross-abuse: it is not in the least likely to be resorted to for anything else. The architect of a great cathedral is well paid and well protected. But we want to help the spread of art in our mean streets. We want the architect to turn his brain not merely to great public buildings but to houses for garden sites, and the best way is to enable him to obtain royalties of a small amount on each copy of his design instead of compelling him to obtain the whole of his return for the erection of a single building. The result of the present state of the law is that the 1939 architect will work only for the rich man or on great public buildings. It is sought to pass this Clause in the interests of art and to enable the architect to secure a proper protection for his work. Those who fear litigation are simply meeting a bogey, because what it will be required to prove in a court of law would render it very difficult for anyone to succeed in litigation who has not been the subject of gross abuse and the practical robbery of his brain.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
I am glad my hon. Friend has brought this matter to a practical point. A great deal of this Debate has been taken up with general considerations. I was greatly impressed by the very ingenious and powerful speech of the learned Solicitor-General, and so far as it went it was very conclusive, a strong case being made out from the point of view of international agreements. The hon. and learned Gentleman also made a very strong case as to the recommendations of the Departmental Committee. It seems to me both of the parties have been led to their conclusions not by any particular evidence as to the need for this special protection but by knowledge of the protection given in relation to other parties. It seems to me it has not been the practice in this House or in this country generally to legislate on mere abstract theories or on the ground of finality. There has always been a practical reason for legislation. In this instance there has been no suggestion put forward that architects are suffering from constant or deliberate robberies of their designs. There is no evidence of any complaint on the part of any single architect in this country that such a state of things exists.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
I listened very carefully to the speech of the learned Solicitor-General with reference to the findings of the Committee, and only one instance was quoted. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Mackinder) said just now that practically there was no such thing as originality in architecture: that it was almost impossible to be original, and that consequently there would be no litigation.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
I think the hon. Member's words were that it was very difficult 1940 and practically impossible to be original in architecture. He told us so much had been done in the past by great builders of cathedrals that there was nothing new for a man to find out about architecture, and consequently there would be no room for litigation. Consequently there would be nothing to protect. It seems to me that we in this House have no ground for producing and passing restrictive legislation unless there is a case made out for restriction. No case has been made out that these restrictive proposals are to benefit anyone. The hon. Member (Mr. Mackinder) referred to the possibility of great architects devoting their brains to improving architecture in our mean streets. If I thought this proposal was going to have any great practical effect in that direction I should be strongly inclined to entertain it, but the rest of the hon. Gentleman's argument seemed to be altogether contrary to that because he there indicated that there was no room for any real originality in household architecture. Consequently it seems to me that one part of his argument answered the other. There is, however, this very important practical point to remember. If you give this protection you are putting in the hands of a man who believes he can make out a case for originality the weapon of the threat of litigation against another man who is using a somewhat similar design in future. Here you have the situation in a nutshell. There is no practical grievance. Practically you have no one in this country complaining of the situation. There is nobody asking for protection, but you are going to subject men who are not asking for protection to the risk of costly, useless, and futile litigation, and as there is nothing to be gained by giving this protection, and there are great risks of causing serious grievance to the architectural profession, I must vote against the provision.
§ Sir W. ANSON
This really is a very small corner of this measure, and I do not think, whether the Amendment is accepted or rejected, the results will be of very great importance to the community at large. Great questions of principle have been introduced which, I think, are not wholly called for in the discussion of these questions. I do not suppose, if an architect built a cathedral or a great mansion for a millionaire, that he would run any great risk of an infringement of copyright by imitation of anyone else. There may be a risk of litigation in the imitation of 1941 features in a house, a window or a fireplace or the like, but I cannot see there is any serious risk, or one which is worth contemplating in comparison with the benefits which are to be derived from this form of protection. What I think turned the decision of the Standing Committee, which was very evenly balanced, was the suggestion, which weighs with me now, that in the building of garden cities, of cottages and small houses for poor people, we should get architectural interest and skill brought to bear if the architect knew that he would get a royalty on the reproduction of his design, and for that reason mainly I voted, if I recollect rightly, in favour of the introduction or retention of this Clause, and for that reason I shall vote for it now.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I think the real case we have to meet, those who want to delete architecture from the scope of the Bill, is the speech of the Solicitor-General. I want to deal with several points that he brought up. After all we who have been through the Committee know more about the Bill perhaps than those Members who did not go through those months of hard work. One of the things we learnt is that the Solicitor-General is a most extraordinary person for persuading everyone in the room that he is right and they are wrong. He is a very dangerous man to have against you. I think I must make a vain effort to try and persuade those who heard him that he is wrong in this particular question, although he may be right in every other question which came forward. He first of all threw in our teeth the Berlin Convention. He said here is an international agreement in which copyright is given to architecture, and, although this would not lead to great diplomatic difficulties or the risk of war, it was a thing that we ought to consider. That is all very well, but this Bill itself, further down, contravenes the Berlin Convention. In this Bill we give what they call retroactivity in regard to musical works, a thing which is contrary to the Berlin Convention and contrary to the practice of all other countries. If the Government themselves are willing to break the Berlin Convention with a light heart, they might allow the House to do the same thing.
The next point was that the Departmental Committee reported by a majority of fourteen to two in favour of including architecture in copyright. The fault of all 1942 these Departmental Committees is that they have before them one witness after another representing the vested interests and the special interests concerned. That is the only evidence they hear. They do not hear the special people who represent the public as a whole. They do not hear the ordinary Member of Parliament. They have architects, people interested in picture copyright, people interested in musical copyright and the gramaphone people, and naturally there are only a few who can stand up against the accumulated mass of evidence in favour of the vested interests which is brought forward. I think it is extraordinary myself that the hon. Member (Mr. Joynson-Hicks) managed to face all this special evidence and still retain the same mind and draft a Minority Report in order to express his divergence from the views of the majority on this point. The argument of the Solicitor-General, which was meant to carry enormous weight below the Gangway, was to point out that the Labour representatives on the Committee was in favour of including architecture with the rest, but he omitted to mention that when we voted on it upstairs the Labour representative, it is true, voted with the Government, but five other Labour representatives voted the other way, after having listened to a very long and elaborate Debate on the subject. In the discussion upstairs not one single example was brought before our notice of any necessity for this, and, further than that, although this Act has been in force in France for a certain number of years and in Germany for two years, we were told there by the Solicitor-General himself that, so far as he knew, not a single action had been taken as the result of the passage of the Act, and although they had been put in force, no advantage whatever had been taken of them.
§ Sir J. SIMON was understood to express dissent.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I beg the hon. and learned Gentleman's pardon, but it is very well fixed in my mind that we could not get any example of use having been made of the Acts. That is only one case. The Solicitor-General went on to point out that the Committee, having discussed the question and looked at it from every point of view, voted in favour of retaining the provision. I think he might have gone on to mention that on that division the Members who voted on each side showed that 1943 there was rather a strange division of opinion. It will interest Members on this side to know that with the Government in the division there were only two unofficial Members, whereas there were ten against them. The Members of the Liberal party and the Labour party were overwhelmingly against them in that division. The proposal was carried through with the aid of Tory Members.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I admit that the Irish Members with their great force, always supported the Government. In regard to the protection of artistic architecture, the argument was overwhelming that you could not draw the line between an artistic window and an artistic statue. If you go on these lines, you must go further. Why protect an artistic window and not artistic furniture or an artistic dress? There is no possibility really of drawing a satisfactory line.
Sir GILBERT PARKER
Does the hon. Gentleman not recognise that under Clause 2, paragraph (ii.), it is clearly the purpose of this Bill that the main design of a work shall be copyright, and not merely a feature of it apart from the main design?
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I think the hon. Member is probably correct, but what is to be the definition of the term main feature? Is it to be a window or a jamb? You are leaving the lawyers to decide whether a work is "artistic" or "original," and now you are leaving them to say whether its main feature is artistic. There will be endless difficulty in all these matters, and the deciding of them will put money into the pockets of the lawyers. The hon. Gentleman asked whether it was not honest and fair to say that this should be passed in the interest of architecture. It is not in the interest of architecture to encourage all manner of people to imagine that they have some claim against a leading architect who produces an artistic plan for a building. Everybody knows what happens when a man produces an original plan. He receives letters from half a dozen people informing him that he must recognise that he has taken the features of his plan from their plans. When 1944 a dramatic author produces a play he is sometimes told that the incidents have been cribbed from plays which others have written. It will be exactly the same in the case of architecture. There will be complaints from architects who fancy that their work has been cribbed, or who wish to have an advertisement in the newspapers by complaining that plans are mere plagiaries instead of original works. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide" and "Go on."] It seems to me that we are having a very interesting discussion. The Government have left the decision of this matter to the House. If they were going to put on their Whips, I should not take up the time of the House continuing the discussion. This is a matter of trying to persuade people that the inclusion of architecture is going to be an injury to the architectural profession, and an enormous benefit to lawyers, without any useful results whatever so far as the Berlin Convention is concerned. The decision of the Committee upstairs was only carried by 15 against 13. We can now put that matter right, and secure the more rapid passage of the remaining sections of the Bill by taking out this provision which some of us on this side cannot tolerate.
§ Mr. ESSEX
The words of the Clause provide for the protection of an architectural work of art. Is no protection to be given to a work of utility which cannot be called a work of art? Is the statement seriously challenged that the decision as to what is a work of art is to be left, not to experts, but to a judge and jury? Are the authors of the Bill prepared to submit an architectural work to that arbitrament? [An HON. MEMBER: "Just as a painting would be."] You would do very little good to the public in that way. I can imagine that a building erected for a purpose of utility might do more good to the persons for whom it is intended than a building that has sprung out of artistic considerations.
§ Sir J. SIMON
My hon. Friend has asked whether the copyright law is to apply not only to a building which has an artistic quality, but also to a building of utility. I would point out that the copyright laws, deal with works embodying artistic qualities, and that the patent laws deal with inventions of utility.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 154; Noes, 42.1945
|Division No. 296.]||AYES.||[2.55 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Neilson, Francis|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Gibson, Sir James Puckering||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Griffith, Ellis Jones||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Gulland, John William||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Parker Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Hayden, John Patrick||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Garry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts., Wilton)||Henry, Sir Charles S.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Hinds, John||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Horner, Andrew Long||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Illingworth, Percy H.||Radford, George Heynes|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Ingleby, Holcombe||Reddy, Michael|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Joyce, Michael||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Campion, W. R.||Kerry, Earl of||Robinson, Sidney|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Cassel, Felix||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Chambers, James||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Rowlands, James|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Clough, William||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'r'ld, Cockerm'th)||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Leach, Charles||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lewis, John Herbert||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Cotton, William Francis||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Sheehy, David|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Crooks, William||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Crumley, Patrick||McGhee, Richard||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Cullinan, John||Mackinder, Halford J.||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Devlin, Joseph.||Maclean, Donald||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Dillon, John||Macpherson, James Ian||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Donelan, Anthony Charles||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Tennant, Harold John|
|Doris, William||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Doughty, Sir George||Magnus, Sir Philip||Valentia, Viscount|
|Duffy, William J.||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Meagher, Michael||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Molloy, Michael||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary)||Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Mooney, John J.|
|Fell, Arthur||Morgan, George Hay||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Ferens, Thomas Robinson||Muldoon, John||T. P. O'Connor and Mr. Denman.|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Munro, Robert|
|Adamson, William||Higham, John Sharp||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Hodge, John||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Barnes, G. N.||Hudson, Walter||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Lansbury, George||Sutherland, John E.|
|Burn, Col. C. R.||Lyell, C. H.||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Cameron, Robert||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Wardle, George J.|
|Craig, Herbert James (Tynemouth)||M'Mordie, Robert||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||O'Grady, James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Glanville, Harold James||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Joynson-Hicks and Mr. Dundas|
|Goldstone, Frank||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||White.|
|Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward|