The main goal of the International Copyright Act of 1891 was to afford copyright protection for United States creators in foreign countries and protect the work of foreign creators by granting them copyright protection in the United States.
Creators prior to 1891 were frustrated with the fact their work could be stolen and used abroad without penalty. The International Copyright Act of 1891 would grant protections to creators home and abroad, although United States citizens still had an advantage over foreign creators.
Copyrights and the Library of Congress
The International Copyright Act of 1891 stated no copyright would be granted to a creator from the United States or other nation if a copy of the work was not submitted to the Library of Congress by the day of release or one day prior. Creators from foreign nations were allowed to send their work, a description or picture of their work, in the mail to the Library of Congress located in Washington D.C.
The work had to have arrived no later than the day of publication. This rule applied to work that was published either in the United States or abroad. Creators were required to send two copies of the same work they wished to have copyrighted.
Certain copyright issues often would arise for foreign creators looking to copyright their work in the United States. Any works sent for copyrights had to be printed on American plates. Other works had to be made with American type set or on negatives or stone made within the limits of the United States.
Unless a foreign creator could somehow acquire American material on which to publish their work, they would have to work in the United States and publish their work there. Any work submitted not made on American material would be rejected by the Library of Congress. This law was made to improve the rate of imports and exports in the United States.
These copyright laws proclaimed in the International Copyright Act of 1891 only applied to members of foreign nations that adhere to the terms and rules of copyright. For the United States to honor the copyright laws of a foreigner, that person’s nation must prove they will honor the work of American creators.
This can be done by signing a treaty party agreement stating the agreed upon rules regarding copyright issues or through presidential proclamation. A presidential proclamation can also take away the right of a foreign nation to have their work accepted under copyright law in the United States