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The establishment of international copyright in the late nineteenth century was not only a legal process. It was also an editorial quest to understand the concrete reality of copyright laws around the world. This essay traces two publishing projects that fundamentally shaped this quest. The first became the most important collection of copyright laws, Lyon-Caen and Delalain’s Lois françaises et étrangères sur la propriété littéraire et artistique. The simultaneous arrival of a specialised journal on copyright, Le Droit d’Auteur, facilitated the modulation and mapping of international copyright laws. The argument in this essay is that these editorial projects were not just representing international copyright, but actually constituting it. Their most immediate and paradoxical effect was that the search for sources of law was converted into the source of international copyright.

The establishment of international copyright in the late nineteenth century was not only a legal process. It was also an editorial quest to understand the concrete reality of copyright laws around the world. This essay traces two publishing projects that fundamentally shaped the development of international copyright and that powerfully influenced the norms we now take for granted. In doing so, the essay elucidates the role of print culture in guiding the internationalisation of copyright. The first editorial project under consideration is one that would become the most important collection of copyright laws, Charles Lyon-Caen and Paul Delalain’s Lois françaises et étrangères sur la propriété littéraire et artistique. As a tool of perception, this law book was important because it constituted a primordial access point to seeing and to writing about the state of copyright in many different and previously neglected areas of the world, such as Latin America. By analysing the way in which the collection was produced, we will see how the authors helped to create a distinct mode to observe, to locate, and to distribute positions in world copyright. It was precisely the goal-oriented search that gave form to this economic mode of examining copyright throughout the world. The editorial search focused on the differences in copyright laws between countries for specific purposes. When this way of studying copyright in a global perspective became the norm, the collection itself became a grid of power that illuminated divergent time-horizons in international copyright. In other words, the collection made possible political action vis-à-vis copyright. The simultaneous arrival of a specialised journal on copyright, Le Droit d’Auteur, facilitated the modulation and mapping of international copyright law. The journal created a common space characterised by the updated periodical review. Here we will follow the editorial manoeuvres of both the book collection and the journal, considering the type of knowledge displayed by each, and the effects that these two editorial projects produced [End Page 380] in tandem. As we will see, editorial history is important to legal knowledge; these two projects enabled, guided and constituted the internationalization of copyright.

In 1896, when Geoffrey S. Williams decided to exhibit the two volumes of Lyon-Caen and Delalain’s Lois françaises et étrangères sur la propriété littéraire et artistique, he seemed fully aware of the importance that these thick, splendid octavos would have in the growing bibliography on copyright law. The volume was a legislative showcase, a compendium of the majority of copyright laws in the world. Despite being written in French, the launch of this collection of world copyright laws was held in London, at an event sponsored by the Publishers’ Association.1 The two volumes were displayed at the British Library of Political and Economic Science, an honor for any publication. Though it is hard to imagine excitement today over such a book, the publication was eagerly awaited, an artefact that enabled readers to see the complex global dimensions and development of the emerging realm of international copyright. Such a collection—of sources related to foreign copyright laws—had until now been considered an arduous project without the possibility of profit. The task of bringing these sources together was a laborious one in both human and logistical terms, as legislative sources were published abroad in a rather scattered manner. Even reaching a definition of exactly what constituted a source could be very difficult. The specialists had to decide on the boundaries for each law or judicial ruling—they had to isolate exactly what, and what proportion, of the legal record was relevant to each aspect of copyright law. For instance, there were significant material gaps between resources. Much of the material related to the printing press, commercial treaties, or tariffs, and the result was an enormous quantity of intercalated pieces and references that might or might not affect or constitute an actual source. Previous scholars had not even got that far, since other editorial manoeuvres in accessing or reaching material sources had proved to be extremely complicated. Indeed, this complexity is evident just from the list of customary collecting practices that the preparation of such a book likely involved: locating, organising, translating, cataloguing, and editing each of these so-called sources. These activities were time-consuming, rife with substantial editorial and communicational hazards. Difficult decisions had to be made, massive sets of heterogeneous data had to be collected and discriminated, and thus strict supervision was obviously required. Establishing the final version of the text in force, deciding upon its legal currency and distinguishing between different governmental rules, codes, constitutional clauses, and positive laws were among the basic discriminating operations by which the value of such a collection would be defined. [End Page 381]

The authors were determined that these difficulties would not obstruct their task, particularly because they were aware of an emerging (and urgent) need for a collection of sources of laws. Why did such a need emerge precisely at this moment? We could say that both advocates and enemies of international copyright found common ground for discussion in such a book, which became a vehicle through which to organise and to channel their claims and counterclaims. In the last few decades of the nineteenth century, a series of legislative blind spots created a demand to discover the sources of copyright laws in foreign countries, as reflected in the omnipresence in copyright congresses and journals of the figure of the rapporteur. These reporters created the conditions for the internationalisation of copyright.2 There was a general perception among international scholars that blind spots were used as excuses by recalcitrant governments to avoid participation in frameworks of international law making, either via the Berne Convention for the protection of literary and artistic copyright (1886) or through bilateral copyright negotiations. Ultimately, these excuses forced the issue, and stoked the urgent need to make legal sources visible. By collecting world copyright laws, Lyon-Caen and Delalain helped to define the term “international.”

On 15 February 1889, Paul Delalain, already an eminent publisher, announced his imminent plan to publish a collection of foreign copyright laws.3 A “scholar of the book” from a well-known family, Delalain was president of the most important French book association, the Cercle de la Librairie,4 and thus automatically president of the Syndicat pour la protection de la propriété littéraire et artistique a l’étranger, an organization whose mission was to defend French copyright throughout the world.5 He was also a habitué at gatherings of the French Society of Comparative Legislation.6 His aim was to produce a translation of “all world copyright laws in force”.7 He therefore formed an editorial partnership with Charles Lyon-Caen,8 a prominent copyright scholar and member of the most important copyright association, the Association Littéraire et Artistique Internationale (ALAI).

Lyon-Caen had been mentored by one of the major figures of French legal expertise: Louis Renault.9 Both men gained experience and enjoyed academic success in commercial law, including copyright law. Belonging to the Law Faculty and the École Libre des Sciences Politiques in Paris, they could not avoid being curious about the legal “topic of the moment.” Lyon-Caen contributed to Clunet, the most prestigious journal of international law, and became accustomed to taking an international perspective towards copyright.10 Following the model set out by Renault, he played various roles [End Page 382] in the negotiation of international copyright relations.11 They represented a new “type of jurist” who had to be aware of the demands of law in international politics.12

For Delalain’s project, Lyon-Caen eventually decided to write an introduction and convinced Renault to contribute a chapter.13 Delalain knew Spanish, and Renault and Lyon-Caen had mastered German. Colleagues and lawyers close to the Cercle and to the French Society of Comparative Legislation joined the project to provide it with the necessary range of legal and linguistic expertise.14 It was announced that the finished work would be a “veritable corpus iuris sur la matière” [a true legal body of world copyright].15

However, there were infrastructural problems. It was obvious from the very beginning that there would be difficulties in finding all the relevant sources. As the project got under way, Lyon-Caen had to leave on a trip to the United States and was simultaneously involved in another huge editorial project with Renault.16 Of course, Delalain had endless work as the president of the Cercle. The editors debated sending letters to correspondents around the globe in order to obtain the texts of foreign laws. However, the tight production schedule—as well as their concerns about the reliability of responses—ruled out that possibility. The result was the primary paradox of the first collection of “world” copyright laws: this global gathering was undertaken in Paris.

The first operational base in the search for materials started at Delalain’s professional home. The Cercle had recently founded a domestic library, and for a few years Delalain had been equipping it with foreign books on the subject of copyright.17 Through the process of constructing a technical library, he had also developed cordial relations with copyright experts and bibliographers, such as the first US Register of Copyrights, Thorvald Solberg. The library contained both books and journals. Textual sites for legal excavation were the monthly bulletins and the annual reviews of the French Society of Comparative Legislation.18

Despite the comfortable setting, or precisely because of it, these preliminary forays were not completely successful in helping the researchers to obtain a global overview. First, the copyright bibliography Delalain had gathered was mainly written in French or English. Second, only “laws of general interest” had been published. Lyon-Caen knew well what had been published because he was a contributor to these publications.19 Nevertheless, Delalain insisted that the project should build upon the documents published by the Society. It would be another few months until he acknowledged [End Page 383] that his library lacked enough substantial material to compile a comprehensive collection.

The group gradually broadened their search. Their first destination was the French Ministry of Justice, specifically the Committee on Foreign Legislation. It was an ideal place for fieldwork because it housed a recently inaugurated library of foreign laws. Gaining access was easy. The Committee had a shared interest “in promoting the knowledge of foreign laws as an essential basis for legal study.”20 Furthermore, there were already personal contacts with the Committee and the Society. Lyon-Caen had been commissioned to do a translation of German commercial law.21 Meanwhile, Leon Aucoc, a member of the Ministry, became a formidable ally who allowed them to peruse the preserved documents and to use the resources of the Committee. Institutional links became so productive that the Committee would eventually become a partner in financing the collection.22

The decision to concentrate the research in the library of the Committee on Foreign Legislation presented its own problems. The recent inauguration meant that the library’s material was still being catalogued. Whole continents were totally unexplored. There was too much raw legislative data to collect and too little time and resources to do so. Once again, disappointment struck. However, the group soon found another reason to be hopeful—the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Most of their “source materials” were folded and included in confidential dossiers and files that had been or were about to be used as diplomatic tools. Delalain had initiated a line of reciprocal communication with the Ministry.23 Eventually, a network of diplomats was ready to cooperate. The collaborative input produced by those diplomats, Delalain knew, would be vital in obtaining materials such as texts of foreign civil codes, constitutions, and copyright laws. These connections underpinned the project with a formidable mix of public and private institutions, legal experts, and translators. The fieldwork problem was solved.

However, relying upon the work of so many people and texts was a source of its own anxiety. As 1889 came to an end, two years had passed since the idea of the book was first conceived. During this period, the planned single volume had metamorphosed into two.24 Institutions and individuals wanted to see the final product.25 Delalain wanted to send the manuscript to the press as soon as possible. But as the work progressed, Delalain instead found an opportunity to test the response to the unfinished material, at the annual ALAI meeting, to be held in Trocadero.26 Had the original publishing schedule been met, the first printed copy would have been released in [End Page 384] June 1889, in time for the meeting. At this gathering of the project’s niche audience, Delalain therefore presented a manuscript rather than a finished product. He lamented the delay, saying that he had experienced difficulties in being able “to reach” and “to polish” the legislation from Latin American countries.27 Nevertheless, it was an opportunity to cultivate interest in the forthcoming publication. Despite the delays, the prelaunch event was a success. Delalain’s expectations of a demand for the collection were confirmed by the ALAI’s approval.

That demand reflected a growing need to distinguish copyright laws in foreign countries from what was beginning to be called “international copyright.” In drawing such a difficult distinction, a tension had emerged,28 evident in the 1886 Berne Convention. The negotiations that led to the Berne Convention had themselves precipitated institutional and theoretical disputes among associations involved in the internationalisation of copyright.29 More interestingly, tensions reached their peak after the signature of the Convention. Whereas the syndicat had been promoting bilateral negotiations as the right way to establishing an international framework, the ALAI had worked hard and succeeded in achieving an international convention.30 Different perceptions of the value of such a multilateral agreement made the impact of the convention complex and fragile. Above all, they showed how little was known about copyright law in foreign countries. For the syndicat, the international perspective achieved through the negotiations at Berne was perceived as “dangerous,” “insufficient,” and “absolutely sterile.”31 Not only did they think that the translation issue was completely compromised at Berne, but they also suggested that, through bilateral negotiations, a more suitable international framework could be set out.32 There was then a fierce clash of contradictory institutional discourses around what was the most suitable way to assess the current situation of international copyright. After Berne, the necessity of viewing and examining foreign laws was demanded by everyone involved. For those backing the road taken at Berne, there was an urgent need to find new alliances to strengthen the convention’s international Union. For those who thought that the Union was sterile, there was a need to foster alternative means of agreement, that is, an international copyright framework through bilateral or regional agreements. The common point that brought these controversies over methods of international copyright together was their aspiration to see and to know foreign sources of law.

That was the aim of Delalain’s collection.33 Among the most troubling issues that the dispute brought to light was the overload of “news,” “rumors,” [End Page 385] and “data” on the question of international copyright published in many nonlegal journals at the time. This editorial boom of pamphleteering has been thoroughly explained in legal historiography.34 As lawyers dealt more and more with cases that crossed national borders, keeping up with this new literature, and separating the reality from the rumors, was a nightmare. In order not to drown in a sea of data, and to avoid relying on vague references and bad translations that could provoke dangerous confusions,35 Delalain and others acknowledged that more stringent editorial practices were required.36 This struggle in copyright law required a tangible means by which to filter a pool of information to arrive at reliable data. Delalain’s collection, many hoped, would make that information visible, transparent, and safe. It would provide “truthful” sources for legal practices, and a place where the essential work of legal thought, such as exegesis and comparisons, could develop.

On 6 January 1890, the collection was finally published. The two volumes were over a thousand pages long, and the high-quality printing exceeded even Delalain and Lyon-Caen’s expectations.37 However, mere publication was not enough; Delalain’s expertise extended into the marketing and distribution of the book as well. His links with the book industry in France enabled him to get a full-page display in what was the most important catalogue at that time, the Bibliographie de la France.38 Another more specific advertisement was placed in order to target the community of comparative lawyers, strategically located in the catalogue of the Collection des Principaux Codes Étrangeres.39 We can also trace the book’s distribution network, which began in a popular law bookshop, F. Pichon, on the rue Soufflot in the center of Paris. The publisher also donated free copies to ensure that the most important people in French legal circles received the book immediately. Approximately four hundred copies were given out for free to the members of the Cercle.40

Examining when and where copies were sold also allows us to trace the growing network of international copyright law at the end of nineteenth century.41 In Paris Professor Louis Renault praised the collection less than a year after its publication in his famous lectures on international law.42 Anyone opening an important legal journal of the time would have read of the enthusiasm with which the “excellent recueil” was welcomed.43 Across the Atlantic, just a few months after the collection was published, Brander Mathews offered several passionate annotations.44 Copies were sent to public and private libraries in Argentina, Portugal, and Spain. And foreign offices of many countries started to use the collection as a reference point when deploying their political strategies.45 [End Page 386]

The most impressive feature of the collection, however, was not its physical circulation but the influence it had on its readers. It presented an opportunity to shape what would become the key question in the discipline. In the introduction, Charles Lyon-Caen asked: What are the main differences existing between the laws related to copyright in different countries? If we look closely at the different editions of major copyright law books before and after the appearance of the collection, we see that it shaped the way in which these treatises were produced. Prior to Delalain’s collection, these law books typically concentrated on Europe and United States. After 1889 they began to cover Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the countries of Oceania. Not surprisingly, the shift happened because the collection fed all future scholarship with a mass of reliable information about copyright laws throughout the world with which they could engage. Indeed, the collection was often described by reference to its value. It was a “labour saving device,” a “corpus iuris” of international copyright.46

This international community of readers included scholars such as Augustine Birrell, William Briggs, Walter Arthur Copinger, Eugène Pouillet, Eduardo Piola Caselli, Josef Kohler, and Brander Mathews.47 If we envision a history of the relationships of people to a specific text, that is, a history of a book’s “users” or a history of its “audiences”,48 this particular web of usage reveals a book widely read, carefully studied, and advantageously annotated. Its reception shaped not just the content, but even the very existence of a number of major copyright law books during the 1890s. Quality was at that moment closely related to quantity. Copinger’s second edition, Pouillet’s third edition, and Caselli’s first edition were just some of the volumes that could not have been written without Delalain’s collection and its database. The collection facilitated the composition of comparative legal essays.49 These expert readers acknowledged the influence of the collection on their work: described as “exhaustive and excellent,” it “reveal[ed to] us the fact[s]” through which we could “see” international copyright.50

In order to fully appreciate how the collection altered the copyright landscape, let us now revisit those very serious impediments that seemed to threaten the collection’s viability before it even began. Such celebrations of the collection’s factual “revelations” help us to understand some of the problems involved in collecting copyright sources from Latin America. The collection was split into two volumes, the first focusing on Europe. Opening the handsome second volume, the reader with a single glance could find an overview of the entire (and previously unexplored) copyright world. The extent of the collection’s analytical reference to Latin America was [End Page 387] expressed in a chapter devoted to the legislation of l’états de l’Amérique. The textual presence of “America” was, surprisingly, a map measured by succinct “notices.”51 Instead of full copyright laws, the entries explicitly referred to copyright orientations undertaken by Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the United States, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Salvador, Uruguay, and Venezuela.52 The unique position of Latin America became evident well before the collection’s publication. At the pre-publishing event held at the ALAI congress, Delalain did not fail to mention the very specific items he didn’t have “as if soliciting his audience to procure it for him.”53 He noted an unforeseen problem in the course of “finding out” or “reaching” certain legislative “sources” in Latin American copyright law, which was delaying the collection’s publication.54

In fact his Latin American research had been far more complex than the same task in Europe and North America.55 In order to find a suitable set of research materials, Delalain had contacted the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Upon his request, the Minister, Eugène Spuller, sent a letter with two questions to all French diplomats in Latin America.56 The first one enquired about the national copyright laws of the specific country where the diplomat was stationed. The second asked about the existence of bilateral copyright agreements in which the specific country could have at some point entered.57 These requests, sent in the spring of 1889, ended with a “desire to receive texts.”58 After a few weeks, Delalain began to receive answers through the Ministry.59 Upon receipt of the initial responses, something became clear. There was a practical problem in collecting that was coupled with the availability of material. It became obvious that it would take a substantial amount of time to track all relevant copyright legislation from Latin American countries.60 In order to get the needed texts, many of these diplomats had to make further contacts.61 Some diplomats, Delalain soon learned, were not even fully aware of the state of copyright law in the countries in which they were serving. Others apologised for being unable to “satisfy the textual desire” of the Minister. Some explained that their failures were due to the inexistence of copyright laws;62 others claimed the physical impossibility of getting hold of legislative texts.63 Still another problem soon emerged when Delalain and Lyon-Caen realised that many diplomats had not double-checked the responses they received before sending them to the Ministry.64 As Delalain cross-referenced the answers he received with the information he already had, he spotted crucial differences and an apparent lack of accuracy.65 Reliability, as we have seen, was the foundation of the [End Page 388] collection. As the spring of 1889 gave way to summer, time was pressing for the fate of the project. And Latin America had become the primary obstacle.66

With growing awareness of these editorial risks, Lyon-Caen and Delalain decided to establish a research protocol. As the material from the diplomats was gathered, confusing legislative anomalies appeared so prominent that different editorial decisions were taken to unify the collection. In contrast to Europe, where laws were organised based on the publication of the text in force, Lyon-Caen and Delalain decided to individualise Latin American countries. The references to Latin America consisted more of pretexts and preambles than laws. “Notices” became the common mode of describing Latin American copyright sources. Lyon-Caen and Delalain used the lack of positive copyright laws as a platform to examine Latin American sources. Those “notices” were derived from empirical diplomatic practice. As a result, Lyon-Caen and Delalain changed the narrative register from description to prescription. When lacunae were found in Latin America, they were joined to a codified description of what a copyright law ought to be.67 By implicitly establishing a regulatory scheme, the descriptions of Delalain and his Parisian researchers pointed out the inevitability of a particular path. Thus, the disparate bundle of legal material that made up Latin American civil codes and constitutions were described as local temporal anomalies, as precursors to forthcoming proper (positive) copyright laws or as ways for those faulty laws to be modified. The editors decided, as a result, that the legislative description would follow a similar pattern for each country, such as: “il n’existe pas, dans la République Argentine, de loi spéciale sur la propriété littéraire et artistique” (there is no special copyright law in the Republic of Argentina).68 This description was not limited to Argentina. It was used to classify the majority of Latin American countries: the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Salvador, and Uruguay.69

In order to rescue the book, to make it “presentable,” the compilers had to take more decisions at the very last minute. They decided to mention other sources—the aforementioned pretexts and preambles—that could serve to fill what they perceived as empty legislative spaces. However, these mentions were circumscribed and ordered in accordance with the framework already established in the first volume devoted to Europe. Amongst the references already included, the editors decided to add top constitutional clauses and dispositions of civil codes that seemed relevant to copyright. These foreign entries were described as “temporary” until a positive law was enacted. [End Page 389] Significantly, the collection did not offer any discussion of the differences between a civil code, a constitution, or a positive law. All three types were simply presented side-by-side, thereby obscuring the editorial decisions that Delalain and his cohort had made, and ignoring the ramifications of such an arrangement. By eliding the crucial differences between these various laws, not to mention the gulf of cultural difference and historical experience between Europe and Latin America, the collection helped to establish a crucial precedent: an implicit European dominion over time.70 As a result, the collection was the embodiment of a growing trend in the late nineteenth century, which reflected a legal impulse to standardize international copyright.

In the years following 1890, comparative legal scholarship suddenly became increasingly popular. By itself, Delalain’s volume dramatically enlarged the scope of data available, as well as its ease of use; the collection thus became a springboard for countless comparisons. As with all sets of data, there were diverse ways to attribute significance to the legislative information collected. For instance, it was possible to construct classes of equivalence between copyright elements (e.g., duration, formalities) so that researchers could literally discover (or at least speculate on) the state of laws all over the world. It is unsurprising then that comparisons of copyright laws became one of the favorite activities in copyright scholarship during the last decade of the nineteenth century.71 By looking only at observable regularities in a predetermined schema, scholars could identify variables in their search for an “ideal” copyright law. The paradox here was that copyright law was becoming less a malleable reflection of its particular circumstances, as it had been for decades, and more a positive “object,” built on a standard set of elements that were seen as fixed and inevitable. One of many demonstrations of this new approach is that comparisons resulted in basically recording only the legislative source and the duration of copyright, if any. Amidst this comparative craze, developing tables of comparison became a central exercise in copyright literature. Expertise was now displayed through the articulation and comparison of ratios and models.72 The way in which legislative sources were gathered and subsequently compared required a certain detachment from the messier domestic reality in which copyright was actually entangled—an issue that still haunts copyright theory. Yet the desire for clarity was profound, and as a result scholars and lawyers alike sought to isolate copyright from cultural and political matters, in the fervent hope of envisioning an international legislative world. With such an impetus came a small but vital shift in focus: the important issue was no longer the particulars of the law itself, or how it functioned in its [End Page 390] own country. Rather, a law’s value was reduced to its “connection” to the new international realm.73

In retrospect, the underlying question posed by Lyon-Caen and Delalain’s collection seems contradictory. An attempt to unify the world began by dividing it. However, the gathering of a world’s worth of copyright laws into a book indeed gave a sense of unity. The desire to obtain more concrete answers about how laws differed between countries resulted in the creation of different textual devices. Yet these efforts were illusory, as they denied the messy reality of copyright’s inevitable variety around the world. The problem of incorporating and receiving new material embodied that messiness; international copyright required constantly dealing with haphazard eruptions of new material, as text extracts and legislative sources had to be constantly considered because of the impact of domestic legislation on copyright law. The panoramic evolution of copyright in the late nineteenth century not only included a flurry of laws drafted by nearly every country about their own internal regulations, but before and after the appearance of the collection, bilateral copyright negotiations began between certain European and Latin American countries.74

In this sense, the collection epitomised a much broader requirement within the copyright landscape, a need that had existed since the early 1880s. The collection was the most audacious effort, the most significant attempt, to respond to this need, but it was not the first. A precursor to the collection was the appearance a few years earlier of a much smaller, but no less valuable effort: a monthly journal exclusively devoted to international copyright. Starting with its first issue in 1888, Le Droit d’Auteur quickly became the world’s leading copyright journal. After 1890, it naturally became the space to continue the innovations of Delalain’s collection. We should not forget that one of the most important innovations of the Berne Convention, in addition to the enactment of legal standards, was its focus on institutional investment. The final protocol of the Convention declared that the Berne Bureau’s purpose was “to collect every kind of information relative to the protection of the rights of authors over their literary and artistic works.”75 This collecting occurred in Le Droit d’Auteur, which was deemed the Bureau’s “organ of expression.”76 The journal, as we will see, was a privileged space whereby international legislative movements of copyright sources could be monitored on a monthly basis, and the ever-increasing complexity of international copyright could be ordered on a regular basis.77 Such was the power of the journal that it created a remarkable paradox: the editorial quest for sources of law soon became the source.78 This paradox in turn [End Page 391] facilitated the success of the journal, and by the end of nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century, Le Droit d’Auteur became the source of international copyright.79

If we examine its format and design, we can see how remarkable the journal was. The original large format was substantially bigger than a traditional law journal. The blue cover featured the journal’s name in elegant letters and, in another surprise departure, numerous advertisements from libraries, copyright agents, publishers, and inventors around the world (see Figure 1). This wrapping shows that the journal was both within and beyond legal scholarship. Or rather, it was in between legal scholarship and what we may call “business” knowledge. The journal was aimed at academics but also at a larger audience of copyright-related professionals: agents, lawyers, academics, diplomats, publishers, and authors. That the role of such a journal as the authoritative voice on copyright went beyond legal expertise can be seen in its wide use. Its circulation touched not only legal hands in France but also foreign offices. The importance of the journal can be perceived in the routine gesture of folding a copy into the attachments of diplomatic communications. Forwarding Le Droit d’Auteur, or enclosing a copy with circulars and notes sent to or from foreign offices, became a customary communicative gesture. Indeed the journal became a professional tool mediating between copyright experts, diplomats, and chanceries.80

Figure 1. Le Droit d’Auteur, 1888.<br/><br/>Courtesy of UCL Media and Photography Department.
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Figure 1.

Le Droit d’Auteur, 1888.

Courtesy of UCL Media and Photography Department.

[End Page 392]

The international copyright question now had a vital, and continually updated, instrument. This concatenated outlook on copyright’s legislative inputs came to be considered “les plus minutieux et le plus exacts” (the most meticulous and the most accurate).81 In this way, the activity of reporting and classifying gathered data strengthened its own descriptions. Contrary to current legal scholarship that criticises the Berne Convention as a “colonising” text,82 the reality is more complex. The circuits of observing, reporting, and indexing—in the creation of both the collection and the journal—were actually key microscopic gestures feeding the fantasy of world copyright law. It was not through the convention itself but through these innumerable small actions that a specific notion of the “world” in copyright was established, and through which internationalisation and normalization began to come together. With its forward-looking desire to observe legislative movements in foreign countries, the journal began publishing systematic arrangements of images, numbers, and figures mainly through recueils [compilations], listes [lists], or tableau [tables].83 Anxious to find an accurate, synoptic, and objective facade of copyright laws in foreign countries as they moved in time, the Berne Bureau undoubtedly paved the way for international copyright. In this systematic depiction, countries came to be treated as mere accounting units; “news” about those countries, in turn, took for granted that any country in the world ought to have a proper positive copyright law.84 An ideal model of law was necessarily presented as a regulating line to adjust empirical results, and eventually, to achieve political and economic aims.

The process was the same as what we saw with Delalain’s Latin America volume: through this digestive process, descriptions were converted into prescriptions. As the scholarship on international copyright grew, so too did the notion that any copyright law “ought to” have a set of characteristics: limited duration and recognition of property (obviously) without formalities. The reduction of problematic issues to find a suitable legislative encounter between countries was produced through and in these fleeting reports.85 Such textual gestures and their reliance on quantifying views constituted examples of legal thermodynamics.86 In fact, the relationship observed was systematically interactive, pragmatic, and creative. It was as if bilateral, national, or regional discrepancies defied the principle and the trajectory of international copyright. It is not surprising that the journal became especially fascinated by knowledge devices, such as statistics, that could turn the “world” in copyright into a group of numbers. According to Ernst Röthlisberger, secretary of the Bureau at Berne, statistics could give birth to “a [End Page 393] unity of action, a unity to be emancipated from national particularities.”87 As the notion of “international copyright” began to take scholarly precedence over national particularities, the persuasiveness of this growing idea seemed to create a particular anxiety in countries previously charged with a normative deficit. Of the complex relationships that such editorial devices brought to Latin America, between resistance and acceptance, the first emergence of an institutional preoccupation with copyright was driven by a particular regulatory anxiety, as I have explored elsewhere.88 If we examine the trajectory of this incipient Latin American copyright scholarship, we perceive how it was embedded in policymaking attitudes between political science and economics.89

Evidence of this shift in conceiving and thinking about “world copyright law” occurred even before the possibility of a national narrative could be appreciated. Whereas Delalain’s collection attempted to portray current legislative sources (or laws as stated), the journal began to visualise a “world” in copyright as constituted by foreign legislative movements. Thus the journal reported legislative reforms in non-unionist countries, especially Latin American countries. Reflections of ambivalence between collecting and reporting are scattered throughout most of the publications on copyright law that emerged towards the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. For instance, if we examine different editions of major textbooks on copyright, such as Pouillet or Copinger,90 we perceive a shift in the way visions of copyright law in foreign countries were fabricated. If Lyon-Caen and Delalain’s collection offered a snapshot, information about copyright in the world was captured more dynamically by Le Droit d´Auteur. A journal could chart the passage from the metaphysical to the positive in copyright law in real time. With regards to Latin American countries, the journal could convey a discursive line that followed the passage from constitutional declarations to what was considered the proper enactment of positive copyright laws. Moreover, that documentation could serve to foster collateral activities. A journal would build up a pool of information for those with copyright “interests” abroad. On the one hand, copyright experts could find in the journal a way to engage in the ongoing conversation on international copyright. On the other hand, the recently constituted Bureau at Berne could use this periodical to attract new signatory members. And those with economic interests could use the data to monitor the legislative climate when managing their commercial ventures.

Equally revealing was the question of authorship. The majority of the journal’s contributions were anonymous. Not only did La Redaction sign [End Page 394] most of the reports and notes, but also news and critical reviews were published without reference to any individual author.91 Such an editorial technique produced voices that could emanate from within the discursive subject called “world copyright”; indeed, the journal seemed to present itself as if it was a report emanating not from individual authors, but from within the bustling, global rhythm of laws and news. Lyon-Caen and Delalain’s collection gathered numerous legislative “notices,” which produced a detailed (if highly arbitrary) portrait orienting the reader in what was being described as “world copyright.” Le Droit d’Auteur, by turn, offered a new lens through which to view that world. By producing knowledge about copyright in a sort of newspaper journalism, it animated the image. It offered a monthly vision of copyright as an unwieldy but comprehensible movement that was rippling across the globe. The “sources” were now exposed through “études,” “correspondences,” and “news”; the periodical format gave a travelling flexibility and a sense of urgency to the original fixed image. The monthly coverage of the latest “events” increased the sense of being connected to a rapidly changing but intelligible reality.92 The cosmopolitan echoes of the journal generated an intercommunicative space, one that came to be invaded by confessional exercises. Correspondence from Latin America in particular often seemed to take the form of self-inspecting surveys. In 1897, for example, one Argentine lawyer lamented that copyright law had not yet been promulgated.93 Insofar as the journal created a space, a “tribune ouverte,”94 and a frame to enter, Latin American correspondents began to “report” problems in their copyright laws. Ironically, just a few years after the journal began, reports from Le Droit d’Auteur were acknowledged as the authoritative source for reading one’s own copyright history.95 The paradox here was that the journal was itself making a source—via self-referential gestures in continuous referrals to previous reports.

If we examine the references to Latin American copyright published in the twentieth century, the iterative circularity of the representation is evident. Reading and writing about Latin American copyright was significantly affected by Le Droit d’Auteur, which throughout the twentieth century was the main source for countries to review their own copyright history.96 When the journal began producing reports based on legislative movements, it also opened up an avenue for grounding knowledge in international copyright. Hence phrases and tables were extracted, used, and quoted in order to “see,” to comment upon, and/or to criticise foreign and even domestic copyright laws in real time.97 In fact, Le Droit d’Auteur began publishing translations [End Page 395] at the same time as official national gazettes released copyright laws.98 The journal’s ability to zoom in offered a technology to capture these legislative movements on the spot, but it went beyond this. Reports produced comparisons, assessments, and measurements that began to be seen as natural. It is no surprise, then, that out of such measurement, the desire to change in other countries also came to be seen as natural. A perpetual spirit of legislative reform was inaugurated by the journal, and only amplified after the collection’s publication. That spirit even affected non-signatory countries of the Berne convention.99 That perpetual examination of copyright legislative “sources,” though we now take it for granted, was unthinkable just a few years before the creation of the journal and the publication of the collection.100

Thus, at the end of the nineteenth century, the internationalisation of copyright became an editorial quest. Two editorial projects emerged collecting “sources of law” and introducing particular commentaries on the “world”—a world that was increasingly interested in international copyright. Lyon-Caen and Delalain’s collection took a vast amount of highly varied data and circumscribed them in a space with sharp legal parameters, where many different legislative scenes unfolded within a single locked frame. The collection formulated normative descriptions that could be and were conceived as prescriptions. Le Droit d’Auteur became a similar mobilising tool for international copyright. The editorial practices that these projects encouraged, and the data they gathered, were instrumental in incorporating countries from around the world into the discussions on international copyright. Not only did these collecting and reporting gestures have an impact on the constitutional dimension of international copyright, but they also managed to convert the search for the sources of law into the source itself. Through their efforts at describing and making readable a comprehensive legal landscape, a suitable disposition for international copyright emerged. These tools deployed categorisations, produced statistical knowledge, juxtaposed reports, and ultimately encouraged the growth of positive copyright laws. In different ways, these two editorial efforts were united by their constant attention to the new: the collection was a picture of current copyright laws in the world, while the journal tracked the copyright world as it evolved. The geography of international copyright, as it was depicted in the journal, passed from states of copyright laws to legislative reforms. These editorial projects were not just representing international copyright, but actually constituting it. [End Page 396]

Jose Bellido

Jose Bellido is a Senior lecturer in law at Kent Law School, Canterbury. He is the Spanish national editor of the digital archive Primary Sources of Copyright (, edited by Lionel Bently (University of Cambridge) and Martin Kretschmer (University of Glasgow). He has recently published a book on Evidence and Artistic Copyright, which was awarded the 6th Annual Prize of the Fundación Arte y Derecho (Madrid). He is interested in the history of international copyright and its interaction with local narratives.


I would like to thank Lionel Bently, Kathy Bowrey, Cara Levey, David Lobenstine, Fiona Macmillan, Alain Pottage, Jonathan Rose and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Thanks also to Maria Teresa Dolley of the IMEC (L’Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporain) and Sandrine Mansour Mérien of the CADN (Centre des Archives Diplomatiques de Nantes) for facilitating access to archival materials.

1. “Marginalia” in Charles Lyon-Caen and Paul Delalain, Lois françaises et étrangères sur la propriété littéraire et artistique, vol. I (Paris: F. Pichon, 1889) preserved in the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). COLL.G 263.

2. See Jose Bellido, “Copyright in Latin America: Experiences of the Making 1880–1910” (PhD diss., Birkbeck College, University of London, 2009), chap. 3. Another episode in the history of nineteenth copyright characterised by data-gathering instruments and reporting techniques has been studied by Catherine Seville in her The Internationalisation of Copyright Law: Books, Buccaneers and the Black Flag in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006). As Seville notes, the Report of the Royal Commission (1878) was an impressive “document,” covering “Home, Colonial and International Copyright.” What made this episode different from Delalain’s enterprise were their diverse institutional histories and their different scope.

3. “Conseil d’Administration du Cercle de la Librairie. Procès-verbal de la séance, 15 février 1889,” Journal Général de l’Imprimerie et de la Librairie- « Chronique », 23 February 1889, 29. See also “Continental Notes,” Publishers’ Circular, 1 June 1889, 658. He became later “Chevalier of the Legion of Honour”; see Publishers’ Circular, 11 June 1892, 667, and more generally, Carla Hesse, Publishing and Cultural Politics in Revolutionary Paris, 1789–1810 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), 169–72.

4. “The Paris Cercle de la Librairie and the International Congress of Publishers,” Publishers’ Circular, 26 March 1898, 359; Claude Jolly “Le développement du Cercle de la Librairie, syndicat des industries du livre,” in Roger Chartier and Henri-Jean Martin, eds., Histoire de l’Edition Française, IV (Paris: Centre National des Lettres, 1986), 66; see also Christine Haynes, Lost Illusions: The Politics of Publishing in Nineteenth-Century France (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010), 120–23.

5. At that moment, the syndicat was an organisation formed by the Société de Gens de Lettres; Association des artistes, peintres, graveurs, Société des artistes français, Société des compositeurs de musique, Syndicat des éditeurs de musique, Cercle de la Librairie and Société Française de photographie; see Chronique, 25 January 1890, 13, and “Le Syndicat de la Propriété Littéraire et Artistique instituée au Cercle de la Librairie a Paris” in Le droit d’auteur, 15 February 1891, 23–24. And curiously enough, those hectic times compelled the Syndicat to shorten its title, becoming the Syndicat pour la protection de la propriété littéraire et artistique. “Syndicat pour la protection de la propriété littéraire et artistique à l’étranger,” Publishers´ Weekly, January 1882, 9; Gustave Vapereau, Dictionnaire Universel des Contemporains (Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1893), 431–32.

6. For instance, he was invited to the celebration of the anniversary of the Société de Législation Comparée. See Société de Législation Comparée. Session Extraordinaire de 1889 (Paris: F. Pichon, 1889)

7. “Assemblée Générale Annuelle. Cercle de la Librairie. 22 février 1889,” Chronique, 2 March 1889, 38.

8. Georges Flerry to Paul Delalain, 4 June 1886 in BCL2.D17 (Paul Delalain); Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine (IMEC). See also “Charles Lyon-Caen,” New York Times, 19 September 1935, 25; Jean Paulin Niboyet “Charles Lyon-Caen,” Revue critique de droit international privé (1936) : i–xx. See also Chronique, 2 March 1889, 38. [End Page 397]

9. Charles Lyon-Caen, “Louis Renault,” Journal of Comparative Legislation and International Law 18 (2) (1918): 193–99. See also Martti Koskenniemi, The Gentle Civilizer of Nations: The Rise and Fall of International Law 1870–1960 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 275. For the intervention of Renault at Berne, see Sam Ricketson, The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works: 1886–1986 (London: Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary College, 1987), 58.

10. “Propriété Littéraire et Artistique. Hongrie, Législation Intérieure, Loi XVI sur le droit d’auteur. Notice. Notes et traduction par M. Ch. Lyon-Caen,” Chronique, 16 April 1887, 89–91, Chronique, 30 April 1887, 102–3, Chronique, 7 May 1887, 111–12; Chronique, 14 May 1887, 115–16. See also Louis Renault, De la Propriété littéraire et artistique au point de vue international (Paris: Marchal, Billard et Cie., 1878), 117–38; 454–77.

11. Chronique, 4 April 1896, 17. Renault was an expert adviser for Tunisia (1886) and France (1896); see also Ricketson, The Berne Convention, 72–82.

12. A special counselling position was created by the French Foreign Office. The first appointment was Prof. Renault. See Lyon-Caen, “Louis Renault,” 194.

13. Renault “Notice Générale” in Lyon-Caen and Delalain, Lois françaises et étrangères, vol. II, 205–18; see also letter from Louis Renault to Paul Delalain, 21 August 1889, in BCL2. D17 (Papiers Paul Delalain); Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine (IMEC).

14. Guay, Daguin, Guillard, and Germond de Lavigne took the role of making further Spanish and Portuguese translations. See “Cercle de la Librairie. Assemblée Générale Annuelle du 24 Février 1888. Presidence Paul Delalain,” Chronique, 9 March 1888, 44. M. Pavitt, a solicitor in Paris, made a French translation of English copyright law; Chronique, 23 October 1888, 203–4. The list of translators was released in “Le « Corpus Iuris » de la Propriété Littéraire et Artistique,” Le droit d’auteur, 15 March 1890, 30.

15. “Cercle de la Librairie. Banquet offert a M. Paul Delalain. Toast de Jousset,” Chronique, 18 May 1889, 87.

16. For the reference to the US trip, see Alfred Germond de Lavigne, Les Conventions internationales pour la protection de la propriété littéraire et artistique et des droits de l’auteur (Paris: L. Larose et Forcel, 1891), 37. See also Georges Blondel, “Charles Lyon-Caen,” Revue Internationale de l’Enseignement, 1936, 46–49, at 48. This parallel academic alliance produced the masterpiece by which they achieved the highest recognition among their peers, a nine-volume treatise on commercial law: Louis Renault and Charles Lyon-Caen, Traité de droit commercial (Paris: Pichon, 1889–1899).

17. “Bibliothèque Technique. Acquisition Nouvelle. Bowker. Copyright, its law and literature. P.D.,” Chronique, June 19, 1886, 119–20. See also “Bibliothèque technique du Cercle de la librairie consacré en entier aux pays étrangers,” Feuilleton du Journal Général de l’Imprimerie et de la Librairie, 26 January 1889, 146.

18. The aim of the Société de Législation Comparée was “l’étude des lois des différents pays et la recherche des moyens pratiques d’améliorer les diverses branches de la législation.” Bulletin de la Société de Législation Comparée, March 1869, 11–12. For instance, the Colombian copyright law (1886) that was included in the collection had been extracted from the Annuaire de legislation étrangère (1887), 893. See also Henri Lévy-Ullmann, “Account of the French Society of Comparative Legislation,” Harvard Law Review, 10 (3) (26 October 1896): 161–67, at 165. The monthly bulletins had been published since 1869 and the annual reviews started in 1872. For instance, German (1870), Hungarian (1884), Spanish (1879), and Colombian copyright laws had been published in the Annuaires (1872) p. 205, (1885) p. 311, (1880) p. 432, and (1887) p. 893. See also Courtenay Ilbert, “Some Notes on M. Lyon-Caen’s Presidential Address to the Société de législation comparée,” Journal of the Society of Comparative Legislation 1 (1899): 293–94.

19. The Journal de la Librairie had reprinted the Hungarian copyright law annotated by Lyon-Caen and reprinted as “Propriéte Littéraire et Artistique. Hongrie, Législation Intérieure, [End Page 398] Loi XVI sur le droit d’auteur. Notice. Notes et traduction par M. Ch. Lyon-Caen,” Chronique, 16 April 1887, 89–91; 30 April 1887, 102–3; 7 May 1887, 111–12; 14 May 1887, 115–16.

20. Frey to Delalain, Paris, 9 April 1889, in BCL2.D17 (Paul Delalain); Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine (IMEC).See also Chronique, 23 February 1889, “Conseil d’Administration du Cercle de la Librairie. Procès-verbal de la séance 15 février 1889,” 29, and Chronique, 19 May 1883, 86–87.

21. Chronique, 19 May 1883, 86–87. The translation of the German Commercial Code (1869) was published in 1881. He also translated and annotated for the Comité the Loi anglaise de 1883 sur les faillite, Paris, 1888.

22. Aucoc to Delalain, 23 March 1889 in BCL2.D17 (Paul Delalain); Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine (IMEC). For a general overview of the French Society and Comparative Législation and its relationships with the Comité, see Lévy-Ullmann “Account of the French Society”, 161–67. It was common then to read statements such as “[l]a connaissance des législation étrangères est devenue un élément essentiel de toutes les études juridiques,” in “Législation étrangère,” Chronique, 19 May 1883, 86–87; “Conseil d’Administration du Cercle de la Librairie. Procès-verbal de la séance, 15 février 1889,” Chronique, 23 February 1889, 29.

23. Spuller to Delalain, 4 March 1889, in BCL2.D17 (Paul Delalain); Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine (IMEC).

24. Lyon-Caen to Delalain, 26 July 1889, BCL2.D17 (Paul Delalain); Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine (IMEC).

25. “Faits Divers. France” Le droit d’auteur, 15 April 1889, 46.

26. See “Cercle de la Librairie. Banquet offert a M. Paul Delalain,” Chronique, 18 May 1889, 85 and Chronique, 29 June 1889, 114-115.

27. “Cercle de la Librairie. Assemblée Générale Annuelle, 22 February 1889. Présidence de M. Paul Delalain” Chronique, 2 March 1889, 38; Conseil d’Administration du Cercle de la Librairie. Procès verbal de la séance March 15, 1889. Présidence de M. Paul Delalain,” Chronique, 23 March 1889, 53; and “Congrès Litteraire International,” Chronique, 29 June 1889, 114–15; “Conseil d’Administration du Cercle de la Librairie,” Chronique, 28 September 1889, 169.

28. Those who attempted to emphasise and to force that radical distinction were severely criticised; see the review of William Briggs’s The Law of International Copyright in “Reviews and Notices,” Law Quarterly Review, July 1906, 329–30. The underlying tension can be read in the preface of the collection. “On ne saurait comprendre l’étendue des efforts nécessaires pour arriver à l´uniformité, sans connaître les lois en vigueur: on peut ainsi seulement constater les différences qui les séparent.” See also Claude Masouyé, “The Role of ALAI in the Development of International Copyright Law,” Copyright 14 (4) (1978): 120–26, at 121.

29. Seville, Internationalisation of Copyright, 58; “Le Projet de la Conférence de Berne,” Chronique, 27 September 1884.

30. Swiss diplomat Numa Droz suggested that this attitude involved “la question impolitique du tout ou rien” in Numa Droz, Essais économiques (Genève: C. Eggimann, 1896), 313; see also Numa Droz, “Réponse aux observations du syndicat des sociétés littéraire et artistique sur le projet de convention internationale relatif à la constitution d’une Union pour la protection des droits d’auteur,” Journal Clunet (1885): 163–64. Some commentators went even further to suggest that “this convention has its origin on the propaganda exercised by ALAI,” in Manuel Danvila y Collado, “Que providencias de carácter legislativo deben tomar las naciones para asegurar en todos los países los derechos de autor?” VVAA, Congresso Juridico de 1889 (Lisboa: Imprenta Nacional, 1889), 5. That struggle around Berne affected ALAI, as can be read in Pouillet, “De la revision de la Convention de Berne,” Bulletin ALAI, September 1891, 2–12, and the editorial board of the bulletin: “Application de la Convention de Berne” Bulletin ALAI, January 1891, 5–6 [End Page 399]

31. “Observations du syndicat des sociétés littéraires et artistiques sur le projet de convention internationale proposé par la conférence diplomatique de Berne dans le but de constituer une Union pour la protection des droits d’auteur,” Clunet (1885): 55–73, at 57. “To remedy such an untoward situation,” in “The International Copyright Convention,” Publishers’ Circular, 6 December 1886, 1473. “C’est une œuvre dangereuse,” said Germond De Lavigne in his “Observations du syndicat des sociétés littéraire et artistique sur le projet de convention internationale proposé par le conférence diplomatique de Berne,” Clunet (1885): 56.

32. Étienne Bricon, Des droits d’auteur dans les rapports internationaux (Paris: Rousseau, 1888), 173. See also Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, “A Diplomatic Salto Mortale: Translation Trouble in Berne, 1884–1886,” Book History 14 (2011): 88–109. These arguments in favor of bilateralism as a form of international copyright can also be appreciated in the study published by Germond de Lavigne, a member of the Cercle; Germond de Lavigne, Les Conventions internationales pour la protection de la propriété littéraire et artistique et des droits de l’auteur (Paris: L. Larose et Forcel, 1891). “ALAI has summarised her activities with the Berne convention (1886) but from now onwards ALAI needs more comprehensive ventures”: Danvila in Congresso Juridico de 1889, 11.

33. “[L]es nouvelles décisions que votre conseil a prises lui ont été dictées par le désir de donner à cette œuvre un caractère encore plus marqué d’exactitude et d’autorité,” in “Cercle de la Librairie. Assemblée Générale Annuelle, Feb. 22, 1889. Présidence de M. Paul Delalain,” Chronique, 2 March 1889, 38.

34. Some of them were Publishers’ Weekly (United States), the Publishers’ Circular (United Kingdom), La España Artística (Spain), and the Journal général de l’imprimerie et de la librairie (France); see generally Seville, Internationalisation of Copyright Law, 34.

35. For instance, an inaccurate French translation of Italian copyright law was reported as giving the possibility of a dangerous interpretation of that law. G.d.L. (Germond de Lavigne), “Note. Erratum. Législation italienne,” Chronique, 12 January 1884, 5.

36. Vladimir Pappafava, “De la Consécration Par les Lois Positives du Droit de Propriété Littéraire,” Revue Catholique des Institutions et du droit (1885): 226–34; 295–305.

37. Lyon Caen to Delalain, Paris, 9 January 1890, in BCL2.D17 (Paul Delalain); Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine (IMEC).

38. A good overview of the Bibliographie is given by Robert Darnton in his “Book Production in British India, 1850–1900,” Book History 5 (2002): 239–62.

39. “M. A. Ribot, membre du Comité de législation étrangère, a suivi l’impression en qualité de commissaire responsable,” Lyon-Caen and Delalain, Lois françaises et étrangères, vol. I.

40. “Cercle de la librairie. Assemblée générale,” Chronique, 7 March 1891, 69.

41. For instance, if we open Caselli’s treatise, we can see how he was also reader of Copinger, Scrutton, Danvila, and Pouillet. See Eduardo Piola-Caselli, Trattato del diritto d’autore secondo la legge italiana comparata con le leggi straniere (Naples: E. Marghieri, 1907), 40–49.

42. “Faculté de Droit de Paris. Cours de droit de gens,” Chronique, 15 November 1890, 230.

43. See, for instance, Journal du droit international privé et de la jurisprudence comparée (Clunet) (1891): 126; 313.

44. Brander Mathews, “The Evolution of Copyright,” Political Science Quarterly 5 (4) (1890): 594.

45. Copies of the collection may tell different stories of its acquisition and its use. A copy was deposited in the Senate and the Ministry of Justice (Spain), where the Minister, Silvela, used it as a platform for his essays on copyright (Francisco Silvela, Bases para una legislación internacional común a España, Portugal y las repúblicas ibero-americanas sobre propiedad literaria, artística e industrial (Madrid: Imp. de la viuda de M. Minuesa de los Ríos, 1892). Copies of the collection also reached the Argentine diplomat Ernesto Quesada. A few years later, [End Page 400] he published an important work regarding copyright law in Argentina. See Ernesto Quesada, La propiedad intelectual en el derecho argentino (Buenos Aires, J. Menéndez, 1904). See also Bellido, Copyright in Latin America, chap. 4.

46. As an “invaluable” book, see also L. Fuld “Book review: Lyon-Caen et P. Delalain, Lois françaises et étrangères …, “Archiv des öffentlichen Rechts 5 (4) (1890): 612, and “Le « Corpus Iuris » de la Propriété Littéraire et Artistique,” Le droit d’auteur, 15 March 1890, 29–31.

47. Augustine Birrell, Seven Lectures on the Law and History of Copyright in Books (London: Cassell & Company, 1899), 141–42, 183; William Briggs, The Law of International Copyright (London: Stevens & Haynes, 1906), 24, 72, 115, and 182; review of The Law of Copyright, 3rd ed., Law Quarterly Review, July 1893, 287–88; Eugène Pouillet, Traité théorique et pratique de la propriété littéraire et artistique et du droit de représentation (Paris: Marchal et Billard, 1908), 916–66; Eduardo Piola-Caselli, Trattato del diritto d’autore, 35; Mathews, “The Evolution of Copyright”; and George Haven Putnam, The Question of Copyright. A Summary of the Copyright Laws at Present in Force in the Chief Countries of the World (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1891).

48. Roger Chartier, Forms and Meanings: Texts, Performances and Audiences from Codex to Computer (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995), 90–95.

49. “Chronique. Propriété littéraire et artistique,” Journal Clunet (1891): 126. “On trou-vera le texte de toutes ces lois dans le recueil très méthodique et très complet de MM. Ch. Lyon-Caen et Delalain, Des lois françaises et étrangères sur la propriété littéraire et artistique, recueil auquel nous avons emprunté toutes les citations de lois étrangères que nous avons faites,” in Alexandre Chaumat, “De la Propriété littéraire en matière de journaux et recueils périodiques,” Bulletin ALAI, Congrès de Londres, 4–11 October 1890, ix; see also Léon Poinsard, Études De Droit International Conventionnel (Paris: Pichon, 1894), 477, 588; and the Manual de Propiedad Intelectual (Barcelona: Tipografía Luis Tasso, 1901), written by Antonio García Llansó, who did not acknowledge the source, but it is obvious that his book was based on the collection.

50. “Le « Corpus Iuris » de la Propriété Littéraire et Artistique,” Le droit d’auteur, 15 March 1890, 29; see also Henri Levêque, “De la Reproduction des œuvres musicales par les procédés mécaniques,” Bulletin ALAI, Congrès de Londres, 4–11 October 1890, ii; and Mathews, “The Evolution of Copyright,” 594.

51. Lyon Caen to Delalain, 24 August 1889, in BCL2.D17 (Papiers Paul Delalain); Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine (IMEC) [« Je sois adresse : 1) une notice sur la législation de la République Argentine. 2) Une traduction de la loi de Perou que M. Daguin a eu l’obligeance de si ‘envoyer. Voila une lacune comblée. »]

52. Argentina (43), Bolivia (47–55), Chile (60–63), Colombia (66–83), Costa Rica (85), Ecuador (87), Guatemala (117–24), Haití (125), Honduras (129), Mexico (131–52), Nicaragua (153), Paraguay (155–56), Peru (157–59), Salvador (161), Uruguay (163), and Venezuela (165–82).

53. This expression is taken from Jean Baudrillard, “The System of Collecting,” in John Elsner and Roger Cardinal, eds., The Cultures of Collecting (Oxford: Reaktion Books, 1994), 7–24, at 24.

54. “Les textes de toutes les lois de l’Amérique du Sud ne nous sont pas encore parvenus,” in “Congrès Littéraire International,” Chronique, 29 June 1889, 114

55. Lyon-Caen to Delalain, 10 February 1889, in BCL2.D17 (Paul Delalain); Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine (IMEC).

56. Diplomatic correspondence from the French Minister of Foreign Affairs to (a) the Consulate in Paraguay; (b) Legation in Peru; (c) Legation & Consulate in Quito [Ecuador]; (d) Legation in Chile; (e) Legation & Consulate in Bolivia; (f) Legation & Consulate in Central-America (dated on the 15th February 1889) in Centre des Archives Diplomatiques (Nantes, France), carton 131; 120. [End Page 401]

57. “ […] adresser les textes des lois et les actes diplomatiques concernant la propriété artistique et littéraire au Paraguay,” in letter from French Consulate in Paraguay to Spuller, 30 April 1889 in Centre des Archives Diplomatiques (France), carton 120.

58. Letter from the French Legation in Quito (Ecuador) to Spuller, 13 May 1889, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques (Nantes, France), carton 120.

59. Letter from Spuller to Delalain [regarding copyright in Paraguay] 12 July 1889, Spuller to Delalain [Bolivia] 20 July 1889; Spuller to Delalain [Chile] 17 August 1889: Spuller to Delalain [Nicaragua] 21 September 1889, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques (Nantes, France), carton 120.

60. From the stamps of the office we can see that a letter sent from Latin American diplomats to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took approximately one month to arrive in Paris. Then, after passing all the bureaucratic filters, it was later transmitted to Delalain. See letter from French Legation at Central-America to Spuller (French Minister of Foreign Affairs), 17 June 1889, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques (Nantes, France), carton 120 [received at the Ministry on 20 July and transmitted from Spuller to Delalain on 29 July].

61. “Un jour le Ministre est absent […] son unique secrétaire est malade […]. Brief, le temps se passé […],” reads a letter of apology for being unable to send the copyright laws from Paraguay from the French Consulate, dated 15 February 1889, and transmitted to Delalain on 19 June 1899, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques (Nantes, France), carton 131.

62. “ […] n’existe dans la Rep. de Nicaragua aucune loi pour la protection des droits des auteurs.” Letter from Spuller to Delalain, 21 September 1889, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques (Nantes, France), carton 120.

63. “ […] le texte n’existe même dans les archives du Ministère réglementait les droits des auteurs, sous la Présidence de Lopez II.” Letter from the French Consulate in Paraguay to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, 30 April 1889, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques (Nantes, France), carton 120.

64. “D’après les informations que vient de me faire parvenir le Ministre des Relations Extérieures du Salvador, il résulte que si les lois de cette République reconnaissent les droits des auteurs ou des artistes sur leurs œuvres il n’existe néanmoins aucune loi spéciale qui registre la matière.” Letter from the French Legation at Central America to Spuller 8 July 1889, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques (Nantes, France), carton 120 [received 6 August and transmitted to Delalain 28 August].

65. For instance, the Salvador-French bilateral copyright treaty was forgotten in a letter from the French Legation at Central America to Spuller, 17 June 1889, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques (Nantes, France), carton 120.

66. Lyon Caen to Delalain, 21 June 1889, in BCL2.D17 (Paul Delalain); Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine (IMEC).

67. “Malgré l’importance des progrès réalisés surtout depuis une trentaine d’années, les lois et les traités présentent encore bien des imperfections et des lacunes,” Lyon-Caen and Delalain, Lois françaises et étrangères, 1:v.

68. Ibid., 2:43.

69. According to the French consul in the Dominican Republic, “n’existe dans la République Dominicaine aucune loi intérieure pour la protection de la propriété littéraire et artistique et que cet Etat n’a signé aucune convention internationale en cette matière.” Letter from the Foreign Office to Delalain, 22 May 1889, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques (Nantes, France), carton 122.

70. This dominion was made explicit when a Spanish copyright expert opened his speech on Latin American copyright in the following way: “What legislative precautions should nations take to secure copyright?,” in Danvila, Congresso Juridico de 1889, 5–11, and “Sobre Propiedad Intelectual,” La España Artística, 8 May 1889, 1–2.

71. “M. Lyon-Caen met en lumière dans un tableau général les divergences législatives [End Page 402] […],” in “Le « Corpus Iuris » de la Propriété Littéraire et Artistique,” Le droit d’auteur, 15 March 1890, 29. In order to consider these ways of arranging data in tables, we may read the highlights given in a book review. “[T]he first contains a survey of the statutory laws and customary regulations at present in force. The second gives in tabular form an epitome of the copyright laws of thirty five countries, specifying the duration of the protection and the formalities to be complied with in order to obtain it”; Publishers’ Circular, 31 August 1901, 203. See also Chavegrin “Notes et renseigments sur la propriété littéraire et artistique dans divers pays,” Journal Clunet (1895): 46–55.

72. Piola-Caselli, Trattato del diritto d’autore, 63–64; W.H. Draper, “Copyright Législation,” Law Quarterly Review, January 1901, 39–55, at 40. Note how those tables were praised as the proper way to orientate action, and see the evolution of “world copyright” as explained in Recueil des conventions et traités concernant la propriété littéraire et artistique publiés en français et dans les langues des pays contractańts (Berne: Bureau de l’Union Internationale Littéraire et artistique, 1904), xiv. See also Pietro Esperson, De’ diritti di autore sulle opere dell’ ingegno ne’ rapporti internazionali (Turin: Unione tipografico-editrice, 1899).

73. The first draft of an Argentine copyright bill (1897) devoted a whole chapter to the protection of foreign works. See also another project for a copyright law (1897) in Argentina compiled in Quesada, La propiedad intelectual en el derecho argentino, 193–224.

74. See Bellido, Copyright in Latin America, ch. 4.

75. This institutional ethos was the materialization of article 16 of the Convention: “it will edit a periodical publication in the French language on the questions which concern the objects of the Union,” Final Protocol of the Berne Convention (1886), in W. Nordemann et al., International Copyright and Neighboring Rights Law (Wiley-VCH, 1990) 527, and Ricketson, Berne Convention, 82.

76. Le Droit d´Auteur. Organe Official du Bureau International de L´Union pour la protection des ouvres littéraires et artistiques. Tables générales des Matières, 1888–1900 (Berne: 1903). See also Henri Morel, “Le Bureau International de L´Union pour la protection des ouvres littéraires et artistiques,” Bulletin ALAI, January 1891, i–viii.

77. The first issue appeared in 15 January 1888. It is interesting that a distinct mode of commenting on copyright in the “world” was now characterised by images of mobility. Observances such as “[…] taking into account the movement that it is observed in many Latin American countries, in a short period of time, there will not be a single country without recognising or acknowledging copyright” proliferated. Actas del Congreso Social y Económico Hispano-Americano (Madrid: 1900), 345.

78. “According to Le Droit d’Auteur,” in Publishers’ Circular, 27 August 1898, 228.

79. The journal is called “a trustworthy source” in Stephen Pericles Ladas, The International Protection of Literary and Artistic Property (New York: Macmillan, 1938), 1:ix; and “a vital source” in Sam Ricketson and Jane Ginsburg, International Copyright and Neighbouring Rights: The Berne Convention and Beyond (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), xlvii.

80. A cursory reading through archival materials can give us an idea of the circulation of the journal. See, for instance, letter from Marquis of Salisbury to M. Vernet, 29 March 1888, FO881-sub 5790, National Archives (UK); “voir le Droit d’Auteur, 1898,” letter from the syndicat to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, 30 January 1896, Centre des Archives Diplomatiques (Nantes, France), carton 136; and “ten copies” attached in letter from the vice president of the Swiss Federal Council to the Spanish Minister of Public Works, 26 March 1888, TR.240, Exp. 002, Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs archives (AMAE).

81. Pouillet, Traité théorique et pratique de la propriété littéraire, 916.

82. An example of this critical approach is found in Alan Story, “Burn Berne: Why the Leading International Copyright Convention Must Be Repealed,” Houston Law Review 40 (3) (2003): 763. [End Page 403]

83. The editorial aim of the journal read as follows: “[e]lle forme donc dès maintenant un recueil considérable, contenant un très grand nombre de documents, de faits, de renseignements, de chiffres statistiques,” in “Avant-propos,” Le droit d’auteur (Berne: Bureau International de L´Union pour le protection des ouvres littéraires et artistiques, 1903), at v. See also “Liste de États faisant partie de l’Union Internationale pour la protection des œuvres littéraires et artistiques, au 1er Janvier 1891,” Le droit d’auteur, 15 January 1891, 1. For an overview of this particular perspective, see also the the accounts of Bolivia, “Délais de protection, tableau,” Le droit d’auteur, 1900, 52, 70; Bolivia, “Législation, régime intérieur, international et traits, tableau,” Le droit d’auteur, 1896, 58, 60, 62; and Colombia, “Délais de protection, tableau,” Le droit d’auteur, 1900, 72.

84. E. Eisenmann, “El movimiento legislativo en material de propiedad intelectual,” Revista Mexicana de Legislación y Jurisprudencia (1893): 382–83.

85. For instance, this can be seen in the way international copyright introduced the translation right without reservation. See Lionel Bently, “Copyright and Translations in the English Speaking World,” Translatio 12 (4) (1993): 500–505.

86. Comments on the “fluctuations des lois internes” were given in Alcide Darras, “De l’état actuel du droit des auteurs étrangers en France et des auteurs français a l’étranger,” Journal Clunet (1892): 818.

87. Ernst Röthlisberger, La statistique internationale des œuvres littéraires (Berne: Imprimerie Stämpfli, 1893), 54.

89. See generally Bellido, Copyright in Latin America.

89. Carlos Baires, La Propiedad Literaria y Artística en la República Argentina (Buenos Aires: Alsina, 1897), 163–96.

90. See Pouillet, Traité théorique et pratique de la propriété littéraire, 916–66. The difference can also be seen in a change between the second edition of Copinger (1881) and its immediate successors. The change is welcomed in the third edition of Copinger (1893). This shift is even clearer and greater in the fourth edition (1904), 537–778, where the list of countries commented and the pages devoted to them increases exponentially, relying basically on the information and the way it was provided by Le Droit d’Auteur. See Walter Arthur Copinger, The Law of Copyright in Works of Literature and Art (London: Stevens and Haynes, 1881); The Law of Copyright (London, Sweet & Maxwell, 1893); The Law of Copyright (London: Stevens & Haynes, 1904).

91. “Échos d’Allemagne” Le droit d’auteur, 15 November 1888, 111–14; “Nouvelles d’Amérique,” Le droit d’auteur, 15 November 1888, 114–15; “Faits Divers,” Le droit d’auteur, 15 September 1888, 103–4.

92. “Anche il Portogallo rimase estraneo all’Unione di Berna, nè Le Droit d’Auteur ci fornisce alcuna notizia riguardante la sua desione a tale Unione […],” in Esperson, De’ diritti di autore, 133; see also “Correspondence,” Le droit d’auteur, 15 August 1888, 77–84.

93. “Lettre de Buenos Aires,” Le Droit d’Auteur, 15 January 1897, 9.

94. Gustave Moynier, Les Bureaux Internationaux Des Unions Universelles (Geneva: A. Cherbuliez, 1892), 96.

95. “Sadly, Argentina did not have a special copyright law. It had only a few articles in the civil code governing the matter and covering only national authors as noted by Le droit d’auteur,” in Quesada, La propiedad intelectual en el derecho argentino, 189.

96. Ladas, International Protection of Literary and Artistic Property, and the interesting preface in Ricketson and Ginsburg, International Copyright and Neighbouring Rights, titled “notes on sources.”

97. “Speriamo, termina con dire Le droit d’auteur, che quest’appello sarà inteso ora che il terreno sembra intieramente libero,” in Esperson, De’ diritti di autore, 133.

98. For instance, how the Costa Rica copyright law of 26 June 1896 was almost simultaneously published in Le droit d’auteur (1896): 103. See also Alcide Darras and Ernest Eisenmann, [End Page 404] “El movimiento legislativo en materia de propiedad intelectual en las naciones de lengua española y portuguesa,” Revista General de Legislación y Jurisprudencia (1893): 376–87.

99. Venezuela, for instance, enacted two copyright laws in less than one decade, the first on 12 May 1887 and the second on 17 May 1894. See “Vénézuela,” Le droit d’auteur, 15 September 1895, 114–16.

100. “It is difficult to publish in Spain a work like this one […] because of the lack of data that exist on the subject matter and because of the apathy of newspapers and booksellers to communicate the news that could illustrate and complete this project.” Prologue, Anuario del Arte Tipográfico y de la Librería, Barcelona, 1878. [End Page 405]

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