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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 16 Dec 1926

Vol. 17 No. 10


Ordered: That amendments be considered in Committee.
The Dáil went into Committee.

I have set down a considerable number of amendments to this Bill in my own name, because they were discussed on the last stage and I wanted to have an opportunity of explaining them. I am not by any means proposing to accept these amendments. The first amendment is as follows:—

1. "In page 15, line 59, after the word `time' to insert the words `before the expiration of twenty years from the date of application.' "

This is an amendment which was previously listed in the name of Deputy O'Connell. It was moved by Deputy Johnson, and I asked that it should be held over so that I could make inquiry as to what would be the position if in the case of either a voided or a lapsed application, publication did occur after the twenty year period from the date of voidance or lapsing. I cannot see that the Deputy's amendment would serve the purpose which he has in mind. The Deputy explained that he thought that, at the end of twenty years, an application which might have the germ of an idea but which had not been followed up, should be open to the public, so that somebody might avail of it. If it were published, even after the twenty-year period, that would, then, be a reason for blocking any application which might take up the idea. It is far better to leave the thing in obscurity and not to have it published, as the mere fact of publication would afterwards avoid any application which contained the same idea. That was the opinion I held myself, and I have had that verified. In England, up to 1885, the law was not exactly that applications of this type should be published after a certain time, but there was nothing said about them, and occasionally they made their way into print. There was considerable administrative difficulty, and a question arose as to whether the mere fact of accidental publication was not blocking an idea from afterwards being made use of. To preserve the idea, even though keeping it in obscurity, and leave it to be worked out, if it should occur to somebody after the period, an Act was passed leaving the position much the same as will be effected by this Bill.

In addition, I might point to some of the other difficulties in the way of the amendment. It would mean considerable administrative work, because there would have to be a register kept of these lapsed and voided applications, and exactly who is going to benefit by that I cannot see. One would have to imagine a person, not an inventor himself but in search of other people's ideas, who would continually search the register for these voided or lapsed applications and see if any of them could be brought up in another form. But the mere fact of publication would afterwards destroy any new application containing that idea. The amendment would not, therefore, effect the purpose the Deputy had in mind, and there would be enormous extra work thrown upon the office. For this reason, I ask that the amendment be not pressed.

I admit that there is some force in the Minister's contention. It seems to me that while it may have the effect of leaving the possibility open for a new discoverer of the same idea it may prevent use being made of that idea unless the second person comes along—that is to say, if there was validity in the idea, not only is the use of it precluded from any individual who might exploit it if he came across the same idea, but the community as a whole and the State lose the value of that idea. I should like it to be provided—it could be done by the procedure I proposed earlier— that where an application for a patent has been abandoned it should become void for twenty or thirty years, but that then it should become the property of some person who would utilise it, perhaps, under licence from the State. I can conceive, for instance, that the Minister for Industry and Commerce or a development commission might say: "Here is an idea that has been lying dormant for twenty or thirty years. The patentees had every opportunity during that period to develop it. It is not right that it should be lost entirely to the world. We will now see whether some person, or group of persons, can make anything of that idea for the common good." That is what I would like to be made possible by the Act, so that any good thing included in the specification should not be lost entirely to the community.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 2:—In page 23, line 58, after the word "article" to insert the words "or an equivalent article embodying the same patent."

This amendment was held over in order that I should get consideration of it. Deputy Johnson, at one stage, offered to withdraw this portion of the amendment but eventually it was left over. I have made enquiries and it has been represented to me that there would be an enormous burden thrown upon the Controller if he had to come to a decision as to "an equivalent article embodying the same patent." I think the Deputy had agreed that his idea, in the main, had been met by the amendment which had been accepted. I would, therefore, ask that the amendment be withdrawn.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Before we pass from this section, I should like to know from the Minister if the conditions set out here apply to patented articles not manufactured in the Free State. In this section there are a number of provisions for the prevention of abuses of monopoly rights. I should like to know whether these provisions are operative outside the Free State or if they only apply to patented articles manufactured in the Free State.

I am not sure that I understand the Deputy's point. These conditions would apply only to patents which are operative in the Free State. I cannot understand how the Deputy's point would have application to articles patented outside the Free State. Assuming the monopoly right of the patentee here, assuming the presence of some of the abuses which are set out in serial form in the section, if those abuses be proved to the satisfaction of the Controller, then he will grant a licence to somebody who will work the monopoly right in a way not regarded as an abuse by the Controller. I am not convinced that I have answered the Deputy's question, because I am not sure that I understand it.

Let us take the case of a patented article manufactured in America, and sold in this country. Under the section that we have just amended, if the price of that article in this country is in excess of the price in America, the matter can be brought before the Controller. To whom, then, can the Controller apply? This is an abuse of a patent right in the Free State, the manufacturer being in America. The duty is cast on the Controller of dealing with certain matters that are set out as abuses of monopoly rights. I want to see how he is going to carry out the obligations cast upon him.

Again, I am at a loss to understand the Deputy's point. The Controller would not apply to anybody. He would make up his mind unaided. It is possible that inquiry might have to be made, in the case quoted by the Deputy, in America to find out at what price the article was being retailed there. Having got that information, it is for the Controller to make up his mind whether, under all the circumstances, the article is being retailed here in a way that would constitute an infringement of this section. I do not think there is any necessity to bring in the holder of the patent in America. It would be rather a matter which would concern the retailers of the article which embodies the patent.

Suppose the articles are purchased direct from the manufacturer, is it the person who sells the article who will be penalised?

By no means.

But the holder of the patent is in America. I do not know whether the Minister appreciates my point or not. If the patented articles are manufactured in this country it is easy for the Controller to get at the manufacturer, in the case of abuse as set out in this section. But suppose that a number of those abuses exist here but do not exist in England or America, what will be the effect? The person who has a patented article will choose the country for manufacture where there are the fewest restrictions.

Is not the Deputy under a misapprehension? Apparently, the Deputy thinks that because an article has the word "patented" attached to it, it is therefore a patented article in the Free State. It must be an Irish Free State patent in order that we should deal with it.

That is the question that I put to the Minister in the first instance. I can see how the Controller can deal with a patented article manufactured in the Free State, but I do not see how the Controller is going to deal with abuses in connection with a patented article manufactured outside the Free State.

It does not matter where the article is manufactured. The patent either is, or is not, registered in the Free State. If it is not registered here, there is no patent right. If it is registered, it is registered subject to the conditions set out in the Bill.

Can it not be registered through the Convention?

There must be individual registration.

It must be an Irish patent—a patent granted by the Irish Government after the passing of this Act.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 3:—In page 37, lines 57-58, to delete from the word "before," line 57, to the word "application," line 58, both inclusive.

This is the equivalent amendment to amendment No. 1, only I find that the Bill, as amended in Committee, appears to have accepted the amendment as passed. I had, therefore, to put down an amendment to omit the words which had crept, I think in an unauthorised way, into the text of the Bill. The passing of this amendment is the same as withdrawing No. 1 amendment and, as No. 1 amendment has been withdrawn, I think the passing of this amendment should be agreed to.

The Minister must not be allowed to make an aspersion on the staff of the Ceann Comhairle. The Minister did accept the amendment. Whatever may be said with regard to No. 1 amendment certainly applies to No. 3, and I think we cannot resist the Minister's argument.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 4:—In page 55, line 57, after the word "regulating" to insert the words "(with the approval of the Minister for Finance)."

This amendment was accepted on the Committee Stage. It is only a matter of having a phrase inserted in the proper place. I propose to insert it after the word "regulating" in page 55, line 57.

Amendment agreed to.

I move:—

In page 57 to delete lines 32-42 and to substitute therefor the following—

(iv) the publication in a collection of prose or poetry or of both, bona fide intended for the use of schools and so described in the title and in any advertisements issued by the publisher, of passages not exceeding in each case one hundred lines from published literary works not themselves originally published for the use of schools in which copyright subsists: Provided that such passages shall not include passages taken from copyright works within five years from date of first publication and that not more than two of such passages from works by the same author are published by the same publisher in any one book, and that the sources from which such passages are taken are acknowledged.

This is the amendment of which I gave notice on the Committee Stage. I notice that in the report of the Committee Stage there has crept into the amendment, of which I then gave notice, a phrase which is not actually incorporated in the text of the amendment as now before the House. The interpolated phrase would have come in after the words "of both," at the beginning of the second line of the amendment. As reported in the official report the phrase "mainly composed of non-copyright matter" came in. I had not intended to have that phrase used, and I am not now proposing it because it would destroy the effect that is sought to be produced by this amendment. I explained the facilities it was intended to give Irish publishers in order in some way to try to take away the difficulties under which they labour in opposition to English publishing firms, which have an amount of general copyright matter at their disposal which they may use without payment by agreement with the author, and for which an Irish publishing house would be made to pay, and pay heavily. I said I was leaving this amendment over, intimating that it seemed to be a good amendment, and that it would be put down and put to the House for acceptance unless in the interval I could get explained to me what were the special advantages gained by adherence to the Commonwealth Convention, as opposed to the Berne Convention, because I definitely stated that this amendment, while possible with adherence to the Berne Convention, seemed to be definitely and specially outside the Commonwealth Convention. Just whether that is so 1 not I am not clear at the moment. It would be a matter for inquiry afterwards.

I have had one objection put up to this, that under this it would be possible simply to have an anthology of modern poetry, and put a back upon it—"Intended for the use of schools," and sold generally to the public, but in the guise of a school-book. I have had that examined. The suggestion was made that that might be prevented by putting in towards the end that "the sources from which such passages are taken are acknowledged," and say that such a publication should only be issued to the order of schools. It is a dangerous addition. It is not thought right to put down any addition of the sort here. One cannot say with any definiteness what a court would do in the circumstances, but it seems likely that a court interpreting "bona-fide intended for the use of schools" would in the circumstances put to me, definitely rule against the publication of such an anthology as coming within this section, and that, in fact, the danger that is apprehended does not exist to any great degree. I have not got any clear statement as to what are the advantages of adherence to the Commonwealth Union rather than to the Berne Union. There is certainly greater rigidity. I think the Berne convention is rather the wider of the two conventions in that respect, because it allows for certain changes to suit the convenience of different countries, and this seems to be the part that ought to be changed to meet our requirements. I am, accordingly, moving to have this amendment accepted.

Would the Minister consider the wisdom of putting words like "one hundred lines," as distinct from so many words?

That was a point that the Deputy had raised. The Deputy had said that obviously one hundred lines of this type of book would be more than a hundred lines of another type of book. That is so, but it is a hundred lines from a published work. In other words, the published hundred lines will not depend so much on the form in which they appear in this publication, but on the form in which they ordinarily or originally appeared, and it would really be a matter for the court to determine, in any case, even supposing it is meant by the use of smaller type, or something else, that one was able to get 150 lines instead of a hundred. It is not regarded that that is of any great consequence, and I am not making any change in that respect.

It might be a complete poem or an incomplete one.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendment 6.—In page 58, line 29, to delete the word "fifty" and substitute therefor the word "thirty."

This was an amendment in Deputy O'Connell's name, and I asked that it should be held over so that I could have it considered. I would ask that it should not be accepted unless we hear some stronger reasons for it than what were put forward. To a certain extent there has been a movement outside the Commonwealth Union by the acceptance of the last amendment. Just so far that is going to hold I cannot say at the moment. Inquiries must be made to see. To accept this amendment would be definitely to leave that Convention, and for no reason so far stated. It does seem to be rather ungenerous to limit the term from fifty to thirty years. I would not have minded the term of, say, a patent being limited, where it was going to be a matter that might flow over to industry and where there might be certain work depending upon it, but this copyright matter gives the benefit of a particular type of work to a man's descendants. I understand that previously in England the term was not so extended, that it was later made fifty years in a fit of sentiment into which the English people got when they found that the grandchildren of Dickens were in abject and dire poverty; it was recognised that if the copyright had been enlarged to its present term their particular position would not have come about. One must recognise that changing the term would penalise, not the writer of the ordinary ephemeral type of novel, but the authors of good work, work of a lasting nature, and they are not so many but that their property might not be improved by having the term fifty years instead of cutting it down to thirty. There are countries in which the right is perpetual. There are other countries in which the right is life and eighty years, and I think it will be found that the countries in which good work, with which copyright would be associated, is being produced are the countries which have the life and fifty years term. You will get countries with life and five years, but I would like to examine the literature of these countries to see what had been produced in order to find out the reason why they adopted the shorter term. I would urge the case that this is a definite step outside the Convention, the precise effect of which we are not clear about yet, but it is a step outside for no special reason that has been stated. Secondly, as this pertains rather to the good type of literary work, it does seem a little ungenerous and somewhat illiberal to cut down the term unless we have a good reason for making a change.

My feelings in this matter are not very strong, except that I felt when we were granting special privileges, not merely to the author of a work but to the producer of a design, or many other things commercial in their value, that the special privilege might be restricted to a period which would ensure that the author or producer would benefit and his children would also benefit until they came at least to thirty years of age. That is a reasonable proposition. If you take thirty years it means that the youngest child would be at manhood and there would be more reason in that than a figure of fifty years, which does not seem to have any special reason attached to it. If in the working out of this the Minister can assure himself that the fifty years secures better literature, better design and better production generally, I have nothing to say against it. But I think the case for fifty years as against thirty ought to be made, and I think the limitation of thirty years has more to be said in its favour than fifty, because, as I say, you have the man or the woman protected during his or her lifetime, and the youngest child until he or she becomes thirty years of age gets the benefit of the parent's mental activities. That, I think, is a fair period.

I will express the opposite opinion from that expressed by Deputy Johnson. I think after what we have heard from the Minister that the period of fifty years is none too long. In fact, one would like to argue that it is not long enough. Deputy Johnson says that the interest of the family in the copyright of the work, which may be very valuable, should cease after thirty years. I do not agree, in the same way as I would not agree with Deputy Johnson if he suggested that in the case of a man who had spent his life in the building up of a business, or any other form of reproductive activity, at a certain time after his death that property should be taken because, forsooth, his children have had the benefit of the business for a certain period.

The Deputy will bear in mind that it is we who are creating the property. That is to say, we are giving a monopoly.

I do not think so. We are giving an incentive for the production of something which is for the public good, and if it is not of benefit to the public the copyright is very little value. In other words, the copyright is only valuable in what it covers, and one can conceive quite well where, as has often happened, the production of an author, or the production of one's brain, does not materialise as commercial property during the lifetime of the author at all and that it may be a long time after that the real value of the work is secured. I do not wish to put forward the suggestion, in face of what the Minister says, that the fifty years should be extended any further, but I would certainly strongly oppose the reduction of the fifty years to thirty.

I ask for leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 7.—In page 59, line 6, after the word "person" where it first occurs in that line, to insert the words "and in the discharge of the obligations resulting therefrom."

This is an amendment of Deputy Johnson's, and it is very difficult to have any view at all on it. I have been told that the words as they stand, "in the course of his employment," have a fairly clear meaning. Putting in the words suggested would only have the effect of causing the court to try to find out how the meaning, otherwise clear, is to be modified. I got an expression of opinion on this from three lawyer friends of mine, and they all said that if they were arguing on behalf of an employee they would much rather argue the clause as it stands than the clause with the suggested addition.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move:—

Amendment 8.—In page 67, lines 59-61, to delete from the word "and," line 59, to the word "Dublin," line 61, both inclusive.

This amendment is largely concerned with amendments 9 and 11. In reality amendments 8 and 9 are consequential on amendment 11. The idea of this amendment is to take Trinity College out of the class in which it stands, along with the National Library and the British Museum, and to put it into another class with the other University Colleges of the country, which is provided for in amendment 11. The only reason I had for suggesting the amendment was that I thought it would not make any difference to Trinity College in actual fact, and that it would put the whole four University Colleges in the Free State on the same level as regards this privilege.

It applies only, of course, to books produced in Ireland. So far as I can see, the arrangement that Trinity College at present adopt as regards books produced in England could be applied to these books without any additional trouble or expense. The only result of amendment 8 would be that Trinity College would be put on the same level formally as the other universities and university colleges in the Saorstát.

On a matter of procedure. I think it is quite clear there are two distinct points. There is the point of the transfer of Trinity College from sub-section (1) to sub-section (2), and the second point— which, I think, we should keep quite distinct—that is the substitution of the other university colleges for the libraries named. I should like to suggest to Deputy Tierney that, though it may not be a serious thing, it is a definite real point for Trinity College to be retained in the section where it has been placed. We have no separate grant for library maintenance, but the fact that we are put in sub-section (1) by the Minister would relieve us in the matter of the agency which is maintained for applying for books generally. It is not a mere matter of form—there is a real point in being in sub-section (1) instead of sub-section (2). That does not affect in the slightest the main object which I am sure the Deputy is seeking, namely, the provision of better library facilities for the university colleges. But this does Trinity College definitely an injury without doing the other university colleges any good. I appeal to the Deputy to take the second point and leave the first one untouched— that is to say, leave Trinity College in sub-section (1).

I had no desire in putting down the amendment to inflict any injury on Trinity College. My only idea was that it would look better, from a formal point of view perhaps, and be more satisfactory from the point of view of the other colleges, if the four were on the same level. If it is a fact that definite financial loss would be caused to Trinity College by the treatment suggested in amendment 8, I would not wish to press it—that is, if it is in order. However, before the question is definitely settled, I should like to understand more clearly in what way financial loss would be involved to Trinity College. I understood that it would be possible for Trinity College to make use of the agency, which it makes use of at present for English books, for the purpose of procuring books produced in Ireland. I must confess I do not quite understand yet how this amendment would make it necessary for Trinity College to set up extra machinery for these Irish books.

I should like to explain that further, because it does depend to a certain extent upon what is done with the third amendment. Suppose that was carried, and the Oxford and Cambridge libraries were cut out, the advantage that we get from association with these Universities in maintaining a common agency would cease, and we should have to maintain our own agency for the Irish books. I do not say it is serious. It would mean probably an extra clerk in that agency. I could not exactly say how much it would mean, but it is real, not purely formal for us.

Would it be possible to have these amendments, which are to Section 179, discussed together, because personally I would like to urge with Deputy Tierney that if the amendment be carried to substitute certain names of University Colleges in this country for Cambridge, Oxford and the other libraries in sub-section (2), undoubtedly it would be preferable to have Trinity College then removed from sub-section (1) of this section and put in with the other Irish University Colleges. If the fate of this amendment could be left open, while we discuss the more important, even though a later, one, I think it would be of benefit to all concerned.

I accept that—to take the two amendments in the reverse order.

Let amendment 11 be moved before 9 or 10.

That course would, in fact, be more in line with the purpose I have in moving the amendment. Amendment 11 reads:—

In page 68, lines 22-24, to delete from and including the words "the Bodleian Library," line 22, to the word "Wales," line 24, and substitute therefor the words "the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, the Library of University College, Dublin, the Library of University College, Cork, and the Library of University College, Galway."

Looking at this matter, not as a University representative, or as a person necessarily interested in this particular University College, but from the point of view of the country as a whole, and as the ordinary representative of a country constituency, it struck me that it would be a peculiar thing if a Bill like this were allowed to go through containing a provision giving privileges to a number of libraries in England, Scotland and Wales, which may not at the moment, be very valuable, but which might, in the course of ten or twenty years, become valuable—as the original privilege has become very valuable in the course of time—if a Bill were allowed to go through giving these privileges to foreign Universities and making no provision whatever, and no reference whatever, to the three quite poor and badly-provided-for University Colleges that we have in this country. It would be a very peculiar kind of provision and a very peculiar act for the Dáil to perform. I started out with the notion of trying to have that question debated on its merits, not to try to do anything in the matter of the privileges which Trinity College already possesses, because it has nothing to do with it, but to confine the matter to those books produced in Ireland and to try and secure that the interests of the three University Colleges mentioned in the amendment would not be lost sight of. It then occurred to me that if that amendment were to be passed it would be very desirable, as the Minister has said, that Trinity College should take its place along with the other University institutions in the country in regard to this privilege, instead of being put in a special position alongside the National Library and the British Museum which have that privilege—at least the National Library, it may be supposed, has that privilege largely for purpose of registration and seeing that a proper collection of the books published in the country is kept somewhere. It is not necessary to provide for that in more institutions than one, and for that reason I thought it would be more logical and more satisfactory from the point of view of the other colleges, and look better in general, if Trinity College were put in the same position as the other three University Colleges. However, that is more a formal point, as I have said. The question would arise whether it would be a matter of more expense to Trinity College if it were accepted and carried out.

What I want to insist upon in moving Amendment No. 11 is that it would be a great pity, and most peculiar, to say the least of it, if we made elaborate provision for supplying Irish books free to four foreign colleges, and made no provision at all for providing books produced in Ireland to our own colleges here. This privilege in relation to Irish books may not at the moment, as there are not perhaps many books being produced in Ireland, be of great value, but if, within the course of the next ten or fifteen years, there is an improvement in the Irish publishing trade, and a big number of the ordinary text-books used in schools and colleges begin to be produced in Ireland, a privilege of this kind would be of the greatest possible value to our university colleges. It would be of value in a way in which such a privilege is really not of value to Oxford or Cambridge University. The point was made, I believe, that by the inclusion of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Wales in this section you would be doing something for the advantage of Irish authors. I should like to point out, in the first place, that this section as it stands provides that Irish books be supplied to university libraries only on the demand of those libraries themselves, so that the authors will have very little to say in the providing of this advantage to them. It is really intended, and it was intended originally, to be of advantage to the universities, and it is only of definite advantage to the universities, as far as I can see. As regards the university colleges of Dublin, Cork and Galway, this amendment which I have proposed would be of most value in the case of ordinary text-books which would be produced for the use of school and college students.

I should like to point out that at present University College, Dublin—and I am sure the same is the case with the other university colleges—suffers a certain disability in that regard which is not met by the existence in Dublin of libraries such as that of Trinity and the National Library. Undergraduates in universities are not easily permitted to study in other university libraries. It is not an easy thing for an undergraduate of University College, Dublin, to become a reader at Trinity College. That is not at all unnatural or peculiar. It is not easy for him at present to become a reader in the National Library. There are certain difficulties in the way, and if he does become a reader there, and goes in to study some text-book which may perhaps be somewhat out of the way, or may be quite an ordinary text-book for his purpose, it may not be very easily procured. He may find that the National Library does not keep it, because it has to a certain extent ceased to keep minor text-books. He might then simply have to fall back on his own college library, and I suggest that it would be a very valuable privilege to that college library to get a supply of such text-books as are produced in Ireland. These three libraries at present are not well provided for. I can speak best, of course, of the library at University College, Dublin, which is not well provided for at the moment in the way of building and in the way of funds, and, in general, any little benefit it could get from the operation of such an amendment as I have suggested would be most welcome. I say that in face of the statement that the housing of such books as might be procured under this would be a difficulty. I do not see where the difficulty would come in. This leaves it optional for the college library to ask only for the books it wants, and there is no necessity for it to undertake the housing of a large quantity of books. It can pick and choose and make up its own mind as to the books which it requires, according to the exigencies of the space at its disposal.

I think that point does not arise very much even in the case of University College, Dublin, which, perhaps, is the worst provided for of all in the way of space. In the case of Cork, I think the arguments for my amendment are even stronger than for University College, Dublin. The library of University College, Cork, is the only one of its kind that exists in the second biggest town in the Saorstát. For that reason it should be provided for in a Bill of this kind on much the same lines that the National Library is provided for. Certainly in a Bill like this it should be provided for in preference to the libraries of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh or Wales. The library of University College, Cork, has certainly a bigger claim on this State for a privilege such as this is than those external libraries to which a privilege of this kind can never be nearly as valuable as it would be to a library like University College, Cork. The case for both the University Colleges of Cork and Galway is really stronger than the case for Dublin. Even in the case of Dublin there are certain classes of books for the use of which the ordinary student, both undergraduate and post-graduate, must fall back on the library of his own college. We have something like 1,200 or 1,300 students in University College, Dublin, at the present time. A considerable proportion of these could not by any possible stretch of the imagination be regarded as finding it easy to be admitted either to Trinity College Library or the National Library. It would not be physically possible for them to become readers in one or other of these two libraries. For that reason I think that we have every right to ask, on behalf of University College, Dublin, and of the University Colleges of Cork and Galway, that instead of going out of our way gratuitously to make provision for the supply of Irish books to colleges in England, Scotland and Wales the State should first think of its own University Colleges with their poorly equipped libraries for which it is primarily responsible.

I can assure Deputy Tierney that I am in complete sympathy and agreement with the purpose that has moved him to put forward this amendment. I would point out to him, however, that it seems to me a little inopportune. I agree with him that it is desirable and it is the duty of the State to see that the three constituent colleges of the National University are provided with properly-equipped libraries, dealing with all the subjects with which a university has to do. This amendment, I submit, will go a very little way, if it will go any way at all, towards effecting that purpose. Consider the number of subjects with which a university has to do. Take anything from pure mathematics to wireless telegraphy, or perhaps I might take Greek, in which Deputy Tierney has distinguished himself. How many books dealing with Greek literature and archæology are published in Dublin? To equip a library it is not the books of to-day that you want; it is not the books that can be procured now from publishers that you want.

Deputy Tierney knows, probably better than I do, that though there are many books perhaps published across the Irish Sea and obtainable to-day in Greek, there is still a greater number published on the Continent. A very large proportion of the books that the Department with which the Deputy is concerned would require are at present out of print. They only can be procured by gift or be purchased secondhand, and by ways in fact that call for a direct money grant. I think, as Deputy Tierney has brought up this point, that he should frankly propose on a proper occasion that such a grant should be made. If he did so, he certainly would have the support of his fellow University representatives. If this amendment can help in any way the libraries of Cork, Galway and Dublin, I am afraid it will be only in a very small way. As I have said, I am in sympathy with it, but I do not believe it will go very far.

I would like, before the Deputy moves for the exclusion of these four libraries in England, Scotland and Wales, that he would look at the question from another aspect. We talk of ourselves as a land of saints and scholars. I apologise for using the old cliché. I will not say anything about the saints at present. I know that our reputation for scholarship is perhaps a delicate one and must be handled with care. I will leave Wales and Scotland alone for the moment, but they certainly have a claim on our regard as kindred nations. I do know a little about the libraries of Oxford and Cambridge. I know that they contain a vast amount of material: manuscripts, books, records and documents of all sorts of immense interest to Irish scholars, and Irish research scholars particularly. I know that those libraries welcome Irish scholars who go across to them. There are no scholars more welcome than those who go from this country. It so happens that this year I was in both libraries. In both of them I saw our own students working. I saw students from Galway and I think two students from Dublin. It is well that the continuity of Irish literature should be kept up at these centres. It is certainly appreciated there, and our scholars in these places avail of their opportunities to the best of their ability.

The other day an Oxford scholar, working on a subject of great interest to Irish Gaelic scholars, completed his book, copies of which he sent to a Dublin Library. As well as that, he sent a vast amount of manuscript material to a Dublin library—it was not Trinity College—in order to help research scholars who might be working on the same subject over here. There is that solidarity and co-operation amongst scholars that I would be very loath to injure or break it in the slightest way. I am sure that Deputy Tierney feels with me in this, and that it is not the spirit of the Dáil to do so.

I remember an incident that happened in another Dáil to which I had not the honour to belong, and at a time when money was very scarce. That Dáil met under cover. They were forced to hide their light under a bushel, but they sent a sum of, I think, £200 to a Continental scholar to complete a work of interest to Irishmen.

I know how word of that passed around from scholar to scholar, and how it was applauded all over the world of scholarship. I know I felt, as a humble Irish scholar, very proud indeed that the Dáil of that period had time to think of that and do it. I would be very sorry to look at this question from a purely national and insular point of view. I think there is a bigger question involved, and I would rather like to take a wider outlook. I suppose that later on this evening we will be talking of the League of Nations and Commonwealths. I would remind the House and Deputy Tierney that we belong to a Commonwealth of Letters; that we are rather proud of belonging to it, and I would not like at this moment, when we are joining other unions, to do anything that would be interpreted as illiberal, as a desire to withdraw in on ourselves and retire from that wider world in which our scholars have played a rather fine part. I admit that we are a poor nation, but surely we are not so poor that we cannot afford to do justice to the constituent colleges of the National University and provide them with proper libraries, and at the same time continue to act with the generosity that is certainly appreciated and reciprocated by our friends and scholars overseas. The amendment would have appealed far more to me if it did not involve the exclusion of those four libraries across the sea. If the Minister were willing to accept an amendment according the privilege to seven libraries I certainly would be willing to support that. In conclusion, I just wish to bring before the Dáil and Deputy Tierney this point, that in advancing his amendment there is a wider perspective in which the whole question should be viewed.

I want to reiterate again that I am not looking at this question as the representative of the National University. I am not one of the representatives of that University, but I am looking at the question as the representative of a very rural constituency, and I am trying to take what would be the point of view of the in structed man in the street. That point of view is this: that even supposing in this case you have to choose between a series of English, Scotch and Welsh libraries and a series of Irish libraries, it surely is more proper and fitting that we should decide in favour of the Irish libraries, especially in view of the fact that we are poor and very much in need of some consideration. To put it at its lowest, this Bill will certainly look strange to the man in the street who thinks about it when he finds that there is provision made in it for supplying Irish books gratis to the university libraries of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Wales, and that there is no provision made at all for the supply of Irish books to the three university college libraries that we have in Ireland, and that in the Bill there is even no mention made that these three university college libraries exist. In these circumstances, the Bill, if passed like that, might as well be the British Copyright Act of 1911 all over again, taking no account of any university institution in Ireland except Trinity College, but turning particular attention to the supply of books to Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Wales.

Deputy Alton has said that this privilege is not a very valuable privilege at the moment. I do not know whether he said "at the moment," but I will put that in myself. It may not be very valuable at the present time, but there is no saying how valuable it may become in ten, twelve, or fifteen years. If it is valuable at the present time to an Oxford or a Cambridge library, surely it would be equally valuable, and perhaps more valuable, to libraries which will have a more direct interest in books produced in Ireland than would Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh or Wales.

The Deputy also mentioned there are not very many Greek books produced in Ireland. There are not. There will probably be a good many Irish books, a good many books on Irish history. Irish geography, Irish economics, and other questions concerning Ireland, which it would be more to the interests of these university college libraries to possess, than it would be to the interests of libraries outside Ireland to possess. These books will be produced in greater volume as time goes on, and I think it would be a pity to have a Copyright Act passed by the Oireachtas and set up as a model for years to come, making provisions such as are suggested for English, Scotch and Welsh libraries, and not making provision for the libraries of our own country, the libraries that we will be responsible for.

It would be a particular injustice in the case of Cork, because the library of the University College, Cork, is not only a college library, but it is also the most important library that exists in Cork. If it is necessary in the interests of the International Commonwealth of Letters to send Irish books free to Cambridge and Oxford, surely it is still more important to send them to Cork.

I do not dissent from what Deputy Alton has said about the necessity for an interchange between different countries, but before you can conduct that interchange on any kind of a just basis, you must provide first and foremost for your own country. While sympathising with the necessity for friendly relations between our own and foreign universities, I think it would be a great pity, and it would look very bad, indeed, if an Act went forth from the Oireachtas making provision for foreign libraries, and neglecting to make any provision for our own libraries.

As a representative in the Dáil of a rural constituency, I have no interest whatever in proposing that the Government should give a special grant to the libraries of these university colleges. I have a doubt, even if I wished to do so, that it is the right way to go about it. I feel it would be still more peculiar to have an Act like this passed, making mention of certain colleges in other countries, and making no mention of our own colleges, and then to make special financial provision for these more or less pauper colleges which it was thought unnecessary to include in this general provision in an Act that will have validity for years to come.

First and foremost we should make provision for our own libraries, and then if it were thought necessary we could make provision for continuing the privilege given to Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Wales in the 1911 Act of the British Parliament; we could do that by some special means. It would look much better and much more reasonable and sensible if this House considered the interests of the college libraries directly under its charge.

Can the Minister give us some enlightenment on the point whether he considers that a maximum of seven free-gift books should be imposed upon the publisher? It seems to me that the proposition here is made on the assumption that seven books and no more shall be imposed upon the publisher as the price of the privilege of copyright. If that is the case, I certainly say the preference in respect to three of the colleges should be given to the Irish colleges. But would the price of ten books be too great to impose?

If you could get that.

And that, by the way, at the option of the colleges. I do not know whether that would be looked upon by publishers, and possibly even by authors, as too great a privilege; but it was stated here before on behalf of authors that there was a certain advantage to them in having free-gift copies of their books in a number of libraries inasmuch as it acted somewhat as an advertisement. I do not know whether the number of seven books is the maximum the Minister himself has laid down, or whether it might be possible to meet the claims of the respective advocates and add three more books so as to include the Irish University College libraries.

Copyright has very little to do with this matter. The security of copyright does not depend to any degree upon this whole section. If there is any bargain arising out of this section it is simply this: the definite privilege of having a single copy of every work published in England delivered here automatically is secured if we on our side deliver a single copy of everything published here to the British Museum. If there is any bargain, or anything approaching a bargain, it is that. Once you have that, it is a matter of this House doing what it pleases, there being various peoples to be considered, the publishers, the Irish University Colleges, and certain English University College Libraries which used to get books from Ireland but which need not necessarily get them now.

I said here the last day that I was not at all impressed by the case made, that the libraries mentioned in sub-section 2 should continue to get a copy of every book published in Ireland. I moved to delete that sub-section. I raised an argument, and incidentally misquoted a member of the Committee. I represented him as saying that it was to the advantage of authors that books should be sent to these four University College Libraries. The actual argument he used on the Committee was that it was to the advantage of this country that books should be sent to these four libraries, but that authors had represented to him that they thought it was in the author's interest also that books should be sent. I said I was not impressed with these arguments. The Committee, however, accepted them, the Bill was modelled on the Committee's Report, and consequently this sub-section appeared. I was moving to delete the sub-section.

Deputy Tierney's proposal is that we get the same number from the publishers as before, but that we should divert the volumes to other colleges. With regard to the publishers, I felt it was hard to impose on them the necessity of sending four copies outside the country. We gained nothing by it in the sense of other books coming here. I did say I felt publishers could not complain very much because they had entered into their business under conditions which necessitated their sending six copies of published works—this is the old arrangement—to the four libraries mentioned here, Trinity College and the British Museum. There is a single book extra; the number now is increased by one. The publishers have always complained of this burden, but if they have anything to complain of in addition, it is represented by a single copy of every book published, if demanded by certain people.

That is the situation. You have the publishers on the one hand with their grievances that they are made supply these books. I was moving to wipe out the provision in regard to these books outside the single copy to the British Museum. Deputy Tierney comes along now with the proposal that these books should be diverted to the University Colleges named. Any argument I used as to the difficulty of housing these books has not application to this section. That argument was only in reply to Deputy Magennis, who suggested that a copy of everything published in England should go to the university. It was then I mentioned the difficulty with regard to housing.

Deputy Tierney has made one new and very good point, and that is that the college library in Cork is definitely the main library in the southern counties and there is a definite need that it should have provision made for it. Dublin is pretty well provided. It has a National Library, Trinity College Library with, we hope, better access, and the Deputy proposes to add the University College, Dublin. There is not the same case to be made for this book going to another Dublin institution as there is for the provision of the book to Cork College Library.

I have no sympathy whatever with the proposal to send those extra copies outside the country. This is the most open of open questions. My own personal view about the matter is, if people are not impressed with the fact that any additional burden is thrown on publishers, then undoubtedly the books had better be diverted to the three university colleges here than to the three colleges abroad. If one were to take the publishers' objections into consideration, and to take into consideration the grievances the university colleges suffer from in not having anything like adequate provision made for them in this matter of library facilities, I think the grievances of the colleges should be allowed to outweigh the grievances, whatever they be, of the publishers, particularly as there is only a single additional copy now required from what used to be required.

If Deputy Tierney's amendment is carried, my own proposal, of course, falls. I would be disposed to agree with Deputy Tierney's amendment leaving it to be considered afterwards whether, on some basis of reciprocity, an arrangement might be made with these other colleges outside the country.

resumed the Chair.

I think Deputy Tierney made a complete case for the inclusion of the university colleges in this section. I do not think either he or the Minister dealt adequately with the corresponding part of his proposal, namely, to exclude the university libraries in England, Scotland and Wales. Personally, I should regret that very much. I think it would be a really retrograde step on our part.

There is no difficulty in explaining the presence of this provision. It is simply little more than an act of courtesy that has been going on from this country to these libraries for many years. I am sorry I cannot give actual figures, but I do not believe the cost to the publishers in this or in any year for the past number of years would come to three figures. It has been a very small thing. It has been merely an act of courtesy, and the burden on the publishers must indeed be very small. When you take everything into consideration. I do not believe the cost is anything of real importance. It is merely, as I have said, an act of courtesy and good relationship between this country and those university libraries. I entirely support what my colleague, Deputy Alton, has said.

Though I quite understand what the Minister said about the exchange of one book from this country for one book from Great Britain. I think there will be a greater disposition to weigh that bargain from a material point of view across the water than at present. I believe if you take out this clause in the way that Deputy Tierney suggests it would be more advisable. I support Deputy Tierney in his case for the three university colleges. I do not think it would put an undue burden on the publishers and would not be likely to do so for years to come. I think it would be an admirable solution if the Minister could see his way to adopt it. You are ceasing to do a gracious thing which costs the country very little and you are introducing a matter that might, perhaps, involve danger. In my opinion I do not think it is worth while to risk that.

I merely rise to support my colleagues in saying that I heartily approve of the amendment of Professor Tierney. I think it is only right that the University Colleges should be included in this. At the same time, I agree that it would be a serious thing for us to stop sending books to Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Wales. As Professor of Medicine in Trinity College, Dublin, there reaches me, with the compliments of the publishers, practically every work in medicine that is worth while. That must be done for some purpose, and the purpose, apparently, is that I should recommend these books to my students. It is quite possible that the authors may bear the expense of that. I do not, in fact, know whether the publishers or the authors do so, but edition after edition of such books reaches me so as to keep me in touch with things that are going on. If the publishers, or the authors, think it worth while to send me these books in order that particular works should be commended by me, surely it would be a good thing for Irish authors to have their books still reach the libraries of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Wales. I think it would be a pity to exclude these libraries, because it seems to me that there is no great desire on the part of publishers to cut down the number of books which they send forth as an advertisement for authors. There would be no great hardship on publishers if we continued to send these books and, at the same time, include the university colleges, which have a just claim to a copy of each Irish book published here.

I would be very glad if it were found possible from the point of view of the publishers to continue sending these books to England, Scotland and Wales. The only point which I desire to make is that if we are confined to a particular number of books we should from every point of view, especially from that of form and the very appearance of things, consider our own libraries first. I would like to hear whether there is any possibility of sending books as before. I would like to reinforce what Sir James Craig has said about publishers on the other side. I am convinced that it is the publishers and not the authors who take such trouble in sending out these books. It is very easy for a university professor, or other person engaged in teaching, to get even costly books, because the publishers believe that giving them in that way is really an advertisement in itself. Perhaps it would be possible for Irish publishers to be brought round to that point of view.

If the House likes to vote the insertion of the University Colleges of Dublin, Cork and Galway into sub-section (2) the publishers will have to obey.

I beg to move:—

"In sub-section (2), line 23, after the word `Wales,' to insert the words `and shall likewise deliver such number of copies not exceeding three as may be specified in the written demand, for, or in accordance with the directions of, the National University."

They will direct whether the books will go to the various colleges.

There is no such thing as a National University library.

There seems to be a consensus of opinion that the University Colleges would have a prior right to copies of publications in the Free State but you are enlarging that by increasing the number of books which the publishers have to send out. I do not stress the point that it puts great hardship on the publishers, but I wish to point out that by an Act of Parliament you are going to put an obligation on the publishers to supply a considerable number of various copies. You are really compelling the publishers to send out a larger number of books.

It will not be necessary for me to complete the Report Stage of this Bill to-night, as there is one amendment which we have just passed which will affect our position in the Commonwealth Union. It is not clear how far it goes, but inquiries will be necessary and, if the result of one amendment is to put us outside the Commonwealth Union, this part of the Bill may have to be changed. I suggest that this matter of the libraries be left over until after the Recess, when it will be possible to have the library question and the whole rehandling of Sections 6 and 7 discussed together.

Consideration of further amendments postponed.

The Dáil went out of Committee.
Progress reported.
Ordered that the Committee sit again on January 25th, 1927.