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separately registered,” we can now control and sell our property for term of 56 years.

We of the Boston branch deemed it proper to ask Senator H. C. Lodge, Jr., of Massachusetts, to introduce our bill in the Senate. Hon. Robert Luce of Brookline, Mass., was our choice to introduce the bill in the House. And I know you will join me in thanking them for the speedy passage of S. 547. Also we should thank Senator Bone of Washington State, chairman of the Senate Patents Committee, and Hon. Charles Kramer of California, chairman of the House Patents Committee, for their cooperation in the passage of S. 547. And I should like to extend our appreciation to the Congress and the President of the United States.

Personally I am grateful to our president, Audrey Wurdeman, for giving me the chance to do this important work. I am happy to think it could be brought to a successful conclusion during her administration.

We now have need of a new Copyright Act. According to the Registrar of Copyrights, Col. C. L. Bouvé, in a letter to the Librarian of Congress last year, the present act passed in 1909 is out worn. We have found it to be archaic and inadequate.

Now that we have achieved the passage of S. 547 let us, the National League of American Pen Women, work for a new Copyright Act that will protect our literary property under present-day conditions. And let us ask the Senate of the United States to give immediate and unconditional approval to the Convention of Literary and Artistic Works.

MAY FUTRELLE, National Chairman of Copyright, National League of American Pen Women,

Boston Branch. APRIL 1940.


Whereas it is altogether just and proper that creative authorship should receive, in most generous measure, protection of copyright, as contemplated by the Constitution of the United States;

Whereas the Government of the United States is greatly handicapped in its effort to protect American authorship from literary piracy in other countries because the United States lacks sufficient treaty guarantees from other governments;

Whereas the Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which has been favorably reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations and is now pending on the Senate Executive Calendar, is the best available instrument for the safeguarding of American authorship from infringement of copyright in other countries;

Whereas the present copyright law of the United States was framed before substantial progress had been made in the revolutionary developments of the present century respecting the utilization of literary and artistic works;

Whereas, among many other alterations, it is necessary for reasonable protection that authors be accorded copyright in all manuscripts, that the divisibility of copyright be fully recognized by law; and

Whereas an excellent beginning in copyright reform has just been made in respect of one important item, namely the vesting in the author of renewal privileges and ownership of copyright, for the period following the original 28-year term of copyright in magazines, periodicals, and other composite works, regardless of whether such articles have been separately registered at the copyright office, for which enactment the National League of American Pen Women expresses its cordial appreciation to the Congress and President of the United States: Therefore be it

Resolved by the National League of American Pen Women, assembled in biennial session meeting in the city of Washington, April 20–26, 1940, That(1) The nate

give immediate and unconditional approval to the Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

(2) General legislation for the modernization of the copyright should be prepared by the appropriate committees for enactment at the next session of Congress. ATLANTA, Ga., April 16, 1941. To the Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,

Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: On my return home from a trip I have found a letter from the assistant clerk of your committee, Mr. Sutlive, notifying me that the subcommittee of which you are chairman was to begin open hearings this past Monday on the proposed International Convention of the Copyright Union.

I recall with pleasure my meeting with you several years ago when we discussed this same matter, and I have always been grateful to you for your interest and consideration at that time. I am glad to have this fresh opportunity to express myself on this subject, for it is one which is close to my heart and about which I feel very strongly.

When I talked with you, I told you of my personal experiences with piracies and attempted piracies of Gone With the Wind in several foreign countries. Since that conversation I have had other foreign copyright problems which are, I am sure, the problems of every author in the United States whose works find favor in foreign countries. For the most part our authors do nothing about these piracies, for they have a hopeless and helpless feeling that nothing can be done to prevent them. I, however, have vigorously fought every attempt by foreign publishers to appropriate my work. Perhaps I had more obstinacy than my fellow authors; certainly I was fortunate in having made enough money from Gone With the Wind to finance expensive legal operations in a number of foreign countries. In some instances I was able to stop attempted piracies but in certain countries I had little hope of success in my fight. But I fought as a matter of principle, believing firmly that an author's work belongs to the author, that the benefits from that work should belong to the author, and that if my own Government would not protect me from pirates, than I must protect myself as best I could.

So, since 1936, I have fought a single-handed fight to protect Gone With the Wind. It has been enormously expensive; it has taken a large part of my time for about 5 years, and, it goes without saying, it has been endlessly wearying and annoying.

Now, after these years of single-handed fighting, I've come to the conclusion that I can't win. No author can win, alone. We need the aid and the protection of our Government.

As you can gather from what I have written, I am very strongly in favor of our country becoming a member of the proposed International Convention of the Copyright Union. The very nature of the international copyright problem, with its many complexities and difficulties, is such as to make action necessary by our Government, if American authors are to be given their proper protection.

However, there is a broader significance to this question than the rights and royalties of individual American authors. After nearly 5 years of dealings with copyright matters in countries in all parts of the world, I am convinced that the United States is damaged in its international relations by reason of our failure to join the Copyright Union. Citizens of other nations cannot understand why this country refuses to join a convention which is based on mutual fair treatment of the writers of all the member countries. The very fact of our refusal to join arouses the suspicion that the United States does not intend to give fair treatment to the authors of other countries.

I appreciate the invitation to appear before your subcommittee in person. I hesitate to avail myself of this opportunity, because I know that you and the other members of the Committee on Foreign Relations are busy with many serious problems these days. However, if you feel that a personal discussion of my experiences in the international copyright field would be of interest or benefit to the subcommittee, I am at your service. If you wish me to come to Washington for one of the sessions of the subcommittee, please suggest a date and I will make every effort to be present. Sincerely,




Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. (Attention of Mr. C. R. Sutlive, Assistant Clerk.) GENTLEMEN: I am sorry that my absence from the city prevented my attending the hearings held by the subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the proposed International Convention of the Copyright Union. We are enclosing, however, a statement from the National Publishers Association which we would like to have included in the record of the hearings.

We are sending copies of this statement to the Senators composing the subcommittee. Sincerely yours,

Marvin PIERCE, Chairman, Copyright Committee.



On April 13, 1937, the National Publishers Association entered the following protest against favorable action of the Senate bill authorizing the President to enter this country into the Bern convention by treaty. Since that time nothing has happened to change our position except to have it intensified by two very important elements.

First, whereas at that time there may have been some users and creators of copyrightable material who were supporters of the measure, in 1941 to our knowledge there are no such supporters amongst those whose livelihood and business are affected by copyright. Second, whereas in 1937 national boundaries were fixed, peoples were free, and treaties had some semblance of meaning, in 1941, particularly in a Nazi-dominated Europe, boundaries are being continually eliminated, peoples are being imprisoned, and treaties mean nothing. In the light of these changed conditions, therefore, the arguments quoted below, it seems to us, should carry greatly augmented weight.

“My name is Marvin Pierce. I am the chairman of the copyright committee of the National Publishers Association, which has a membership of approximately 150 periodical publishers embracing practically all the important magazine and trade publications in this country. The combined per-issue circulation of its membership is above 50,000,000.

“Our objection to the present measure rests primarily on the fact that it provides for automatic copyright without registration or recordation in this country to the citizens of all nations subscribing to the Bern convention, without providing for those accompanying changes in our present copyright law which we believe essential to the protection of our property rights.

“For the past dozen years active efforts have been made to rewrite the archais copyright laws now on our statutes. These efforts have been occasioned by the profound changes in conditions surrounding the reproduction of copyrigł table matter since 1909, the last year of any considerable amendment to our copyright law. Magazine circulations have increased from hundred thousands to millions; first silent pictures and then sound films have become widespread; the radio has become an important medium in the reproduction of written and musical ccmpositions; foreign authors have looked enviously on this rich market and come American authors have achieved recognition abroad. All of these factors have been recognized in the latest copyright acts prepared but not enacted, and substantial agreement has been reached on their terms by publishers and authors. Our contention in connection with the present proposed legislation is that it is approaching a highly complicated problem piecemeal and that its enactment would be greatly to the disadvantage of both American author and American publisher.

“Our statutes now call for the establishment of copyright by registration and recordation upon publication. Prior to registration the author has the same protection of ownership in his property under common law that any man has for an article he possesses or has created. Penalties for infringement, willful or innocent, of our copyright law are restraint of distribution by injunction, statutory


damages of $1 per copy distributed, and impounding of all materials entering into the manufacture of the infringing article.

“These penalties, which at the time of their original enactment perhaps may not have seemed particularly severe because of the relatively small circulation and advertising volume of publications, are now a veritable sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of the magazine publisher. His distribution may be halted during any issue by temporary injunction, through an entirely innocent act on his part, to the point where he must rebate to his advertisers and his readers. When it is considered that there have been issues of magazines in which the publisher has contracted to deliver at a stated time better than a million dollars' worth of advertising to over 2,500,000 readers, the magnitude of this possible penalty becomes apparent. The one strand of steel in the thread holding the sword, the one reliance of the publisher, is the necessity of registration of copyrightable material. Favorable action on the legislation under consideration not only removes this safeguarding strand, leaving the suspended sword as deadly as before, but paves the way for individuals throughout the world to sever the weakened support. It would be possible by injunction to suspend the distribution of an entire edition of the Saturday Evening Post for the publication of a four-line poem, accepted by it in good faith, which had lain, unrecorded and unpublished, in the desk drawer of an author in Germany. Each month 15,000,000 copies of women's magazines are issued carrying reproductions of Paris styles. Paris is admittedly the style center of the world and these designs admittedly originate in whole or in part in the shops of the Paris couturiers. Their presentation in the magazines of this country is a vital part of the service rendered to the women readers of those magazines. Yet, if this proposed legislation is enacted without ameliorating the penalties in the existing law, it is highly probable that publishers would be forced to discontinue this service for fear of the resultant suits for injunction and damages.

“We are opposed in principle to automatic copyright, and the entrance of this country into the Bern Convention. With the mere creation of a literary composition automatically vesting ownership in the creator, without the necessity for registration, and with the possibility of authorship of any piece of writing submitted to the publisher lying with a citizen of any one of the 39 signatories of the Berne convention, the publisher will be forced to accept material only from long-established, well-known authors. He can accept material from new creators only at the great risk of publishing material which may have been plagiarized in whole or in part, with a large part of the world as a field for the plagiarizer. The reluctance of the publisher to assume such risks will work not only to his disadvantage, since it is of utmost importance that he continually develop new writers and new artists, but also to the obvious disadvantage of the little-known creator. We believe that any change in copyright legislation should keep alive the incentive to encourage new writers and new artists, and should not, by eliminating the necessity for registration and recording, subject us to possible heavy penalties arising from innocent infringement and thereby make it impossible for us safely to purchase the work of unknown writers.

“Hence, we strongly feel that the possible advantage gained by certain authors through adherence to the Bern Convention is much more than offset by the throwing open of the richest market in the world to foreign authors without the necessity of registration; by the potent threat of strike suits which would face every publisher with an issue date to meet in order to satisfy his advertising contracts; and by the increased difficulty on the part of the beginning writer or illustrator to gain recognition.

“The present measure not only fails to give the publisher who innocently infringes, the protection necessary to safeguard his property rights, but it places à further obstacle in the way of his peaceful operation when it gives to the author the right to object to every deformation, mutilation or other modification of his work. Practically every piece of literary material printed in periodicals has been edited to conform to the tastes of the readers, to fit given space, to make it more interesting, or for many other reasons. Whether this editing is mutilation 'which might be prejudicial to his honor or his reputation’ is frequently a matter of opinion, the adjudication of which, coupled with the right to restrain publication, could be a source of great loss to the most honest intentioned publisher.

“The National Publishers Association approves of the extension of additional protection to authors and artists, both as to escape from unnecessary formalities of copyright and as to a statutory recognition of the severability of rights, but we believe that such extension of copyright law should be joined with a protection

against the disruption of the periodical industry and the resultant injury to authors and artists generally which might result unless the protective legislation accompanies automatic copyright.

“We have been informed by able legal authority that entrance to the Bern Convention by treaty while our present copyright statutes remain the law of this land would lead to years of litigation before all of us who create and use copyrightable material would know where we stand. Our whole copyright law is built upon the concept of registration. The Bern Convention is based upon the concept of copyright by creation. Would entrance to the convention by treaty nullify all or none of our copyright statutes or just those sections contrary to the rules of the convention? What effect would the copyright laws of signatory nations have upon our ways of doing business? If only a part of our statutes were nullified, would it be the rights but not the remedies? If foreign concepts and statutes can be made to supercede domestic law by treaty then it is our firm conviction that our own legislative house should be put in order before the passage of the treaty to conform to its terms and thus to avoid litigation. If the terms of the Convention do not become the law of this country through union by treaty, then the proponents of adherence have gained nothing until our copyright law has been revised. Hence, we urge upon this committee the recommendation that no such drastic changes in copyright practice as contemplated in this bill be undertaken as piecemeal legislation, but that if automatic copyright is to be considered it should be a part of the general revision of our archaic copyright law, at which time proper safeguards to those whose property rights are threatened may be enacted.”



United States Senate, Washington, D. C. (Attention Chairman of the subcommittee for the consideration of adher

ence to the International Copyright Convention.) DEAR Sir: There is transmitted herewith a memorandum by Robert E. Coulson, of counsel for the National Publishers Association, Inc., in which there is outlined the position of the association with regard to the adherence of the United States to the International Convention of the Copyright Union.

We understand that this memorandum is to be included in the record of the hearings held before the Senate subcommittee commencing on Monday, April 14, 1941.

We would appreciate it if you would forward to us a copy of the printer's proofs of said record so that Colonel Coulson may have an opportunity to check the matter printed therein over his name. Very truly yours,





Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.:
This memorandum is submitted by the undersigned, as counsel for the National
Publishers Association, Inc., in opposition to the proposal for the entry at this
time of the United States into the International Copyright Convention,

also known as the Berne Convention, which was amended in 1928 by the Rome Convention.

The National Publishers Association, Inc., has a membership which includes practically all of the publishers of magazines of national distribution. The combined per issue circulation of its membership is above 50,000,000.

The first outstanding objection to the proposal rests primarily upon the fact that the international convention provides for automatic copyright, without any registration or recordation in this country, of literary works written by the citizens of all nations subscribing to the convention without providing for certain coordinating changes in our present copyright law which the association believes

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