to Mr. Frelinghuysen
Brussels , March 22, 1882. (Received April 6.)
Sir: I have the honor to send herewith a translation of the new proposed treaty between France and Belgium for the protection of literary property, also of trade and commercial marks. It has already been ratified by the Belgium Parliament. The French Government has not as yet acted upon it, the time for exchange of treaties having been extended to May 15 next.
* * * * * * *
In Belgium, as in France, dramatical and musical compositions and [Page 8] representations have a large place in the popular entertainments, most of which are of French origin.
Protection of this class of French authors is a leading feature of the new treaty. The last preceding (of 1861) provided that in the absence of a contract establishing the terms upon which French dramatic and musical compositions might be represented in Belgium, compensation for each representation should be upon the basis of the following tariff:
|Description||At Paris and Brussels||In towns of 80,000 inhabitants and upwards.||In towns of less than 80,000 inhabitants.|
|For pieces in four or five acts||18||14||9|
|For pieces in three acts||14||10||8|
|For pieces in two acts||10||8||6|
|For pieces in one act||6||5||4|
M. Cattreux, in his pamphlet, gives the following illustration of the practical working of the tariff in connection with the Theâtre Monnaie of Brussels, the principal opera house in Belgium.
To give a striking idea of the working of this provision at our principal opera house to the prejudice of authors and dramatic composers, I will instance one of the last series of representations given by Patti. She appeared in Aida, Faust, Le Tronvère, La Traviata, Lucie, and Le Barbier. The four first works only gave a remuneration of 18 francs for the representations; that is, 9 francs for the composer and the same sum for the librettists. The total receipts were 20,000 francs for each representation, or 140,000 francs for the seven representations. All the composers and authors, creators of the works interpreted by the singer, have received altogether 72 francs; that is, 36 francs for the composers and the same for all the librettists together.
The new treaty abolishes this tariff and makes the matter of compensation one of contract with dramatic authors and composers.
The right of translation is reserved to the author by the new treaty for ten years instead of five, and three years instead of three months are granted for the first publication of a translation.
The minister of foreign affairs in his “Exposè des Motifs” recognizes the fact that the new treaty will lessen the power of the Flemish theater to draw from French sources, but finds compensation for their loss in the fact that the Flemish element will be compelled to rely more upon original Belgian productions, and so bring itself into closer sympathy with the national spirit.
I have, &c.,