Lead: On his first tour of America in 1842, British author Charles Dickens created a firestorm of abuse by criticizing American publishers for pirating his books.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Americans loved Charles Dickens books, but they didn’t like to pay for them. It was Dickens’ custom to serialize his novels in London newspapers before they were issued in book form. American publishers would obtain the papers, copy the text, and release what amounted to be little more than pirated editions, much to the delight of U.S. citizens who got Dickens on the cheap. The culprit was the lack of any international copyright agreement to which the United States subscribed. When he bitterly complained on his first trip to America, the public accused him of feathering his own nest. The press was especially harsh. It stood to lose much if required to pay for reprints.


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