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Musical Copyright

copies, pirated, plates and act

MUSICAL 'COPYRIGHT (see also article in Vol. IV.).—Owing to the enormous in crease in pirated music and the difficulty in stopping the sale by individual prosecutions, the law with regard to Musical Copyright, as it stood prior to the Musical Copyright Act, 1906, was found practically ineffective and useless. That act, however, provided that every person who should print, reproduce, sell, expose, offer, or have in his possession for sale any pirated music, or have in his possession the plates for printing or reproducing pirated music, unless he could prove that be acted innocently, was to be guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction. For a first offence there is a fine of £5, and on a second or subsequent conviction, £10 or imprisonment with or without hard labour, for two months. If, on a first offence, the defendant proves that the copies had printed on the title-page a name and address purporting to be that of the printer or publisher, he is not liable, unless it is proved that he knew they were pirated copies. A constable now has power to take into custody, without a warrant, any one selling, exposing, or offering, or having in his possession for sale, in a street or public place, any Ousted copies of a musical work which has been specified in a general written authority to the chief of police, signed by the apparent owner of the copyright or his agent, authorised in writing. This authority must request the arrest, at the risk of the owner, of all persons acting as above, or who offer such copies by canvassing or delivering advertisements or circulars. A copy of the authority is

open for inspection, and any person without fee may inspect, take copies, or make extracts. The Defendant may appeal to Quarter Sessions, or, in Scotland, under the Summary Prosecu tions Appeals (Scotland) Act, 1875. Search, warrant.—In any case in which a court of summary conviction is satisfied by information on oath, that there is reasonable ground for suspicion of an offence under the Act, it may grant a search warrant authorising the constable to enter the premises named between 6 A.M. and 9 P.M. The constable can use force, if necessary, by breaking open doors and seize any suspected copies or plates. These copies and plates are to be brought before the Court, and, on proof of piracy, are to be forfeited and destroyed or otherwise dealt with. Under the Act "pirated copies" arc copies of a musical work written, printed, or reproduced without the consent of the owner of the copy right. "Musical work" is one in which there is a subsisting copyright duly registeied. "Plates" include stereotype or other plates, stone, matrices, transfers, or negatives for printing or reproducing. But the definitions "pirated copies" and " plates " are not to include perforated music rolls for mechanical instruments or records for the reproduction of sound waves or the matrices for making such.