THE ADVERTISER and the POSTER
British stupidity, in the presence of a crackling American joke, has had may grievous tales told of it, but the stupidest Englishman yet held up to ridicule for not seeing the point is a London publisher. He had issued and copyrighted in England a high-priced poster, designed for one of his series of books, and was somewhat surprised to find it reproduced, without authorization, in the OVERLAND MONTHLY of San Francisco. A letter of polite protest to the editor brought back a note in which the whole trouble was traced to the well-known lack of humor in the English character. The editor could not see that he was at all to blame, or that “there is any explanation due you.” Coming to the real point, he added: “An American publisher would have looked on the whole matter as a joke, but of course British insularity prevents appreciation in this line.” The inference is clear that an American, brought up on a broad continent, would split with laughter at the merry conceit of taking his property without pemission or acknowledgment.
– New York Evening Post, August 1896
There has been renewed interest in the past ten years in the wonderful advertising posters of the 1890s. This July 1896 issue of Overland Monthly magazine provides some background to the subject.
Trans-Atlantic copyright issues also appear to be a topical subject in 1896, judging from the response to a British letter complaining of copyright infringement in an advertising poster.