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The foundations of this work were laid by my endeavours to understand what is perhaps the most complicated and obscure series of statutes in the statute book. In working from time to time at the Law of Copyright I found great want of a textbook which should be exhaustive of the case law, and at the same time contain a concise and clearly arranged epitome of the statutory provisions. This want I have tried to supply for myself in the present compilation, and it is now published in the hope that it may prove useful to others. The present law is bad both in substance and form, but it is the more essential that those who have anything to do with literary or artistic property should comprehend it in so far as it is comprehensible. There are probably more pitfalls for the unwary in dealing with Copyright than with any other branch of the law.
We have for some time been on the eve of a general codification and amendment of the Law of Copyright. It is, however, an eve of long and indefinite duration. It is now twenty-eight years since the Royal Commission on Copyright was appointed, and still nothing has been done to ameliorate the lamentable condition in which the Commissioners then found the law. Dissensions among those who are interested in Copyright, failure to come to a satisfactory arrangement with the colonies, and want of time at the disposal of the legislature are mainly responsible for this delay. In the meantime it is well that all those who are interested in Copyright should made themselves conversant
with the law as it now is, so that when the time for legislation does at last come the result may be the satisfactory.
I have added to this work Part II., dealing with Copyright in the United States, and I hope it may prove useful not only to English but to American lawyers and publishers.
I have to acknowledge much assistance in the preparation of this work and many invaluable suggestions from my friends, Mr. Langridge, of the Middle Temple, and Mr. Mackinnon, of the Inner Temple.
E. J. MACGILLIVRAY.
3 TEMPLE GARDENS,