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Mr. KASTEN BLEIER. Thank you, Ms. Ringer, for a very comprehensive T iew historically of the issues involved in copyright law revision.
The Chair will state, that at our next hearing, we will have Government represented by three other entities, the Justice Department, the ('ommerce Department, and the State Department, and to some extent, <ther aspects will be more deeply explored with reference to the bill in terms of its administration from the governmental point of view.
I have at this point just a couple of questions and then I would like to vield to my colleagues. From time to time there have been argu
nts made that we could leave something out of the bill.
Jadeed, from time to time, certain areas have not been covered in the Li'l. But is it not the case, this being a unified code, that the operation of the bill does apply whether or not we specifically deal with a subject or :100! That is to say, all we have done in a sense is by our nonstatemient, to leave the matter somewhat unresolved in terms of potential litiration!
Then fore, we can really not fail to deal with an issue. It will be ceilt with one way or the other. The code, title 17, will cover it. So we have made a conscientious decision even by omission. Do you agree?
Ms. RINGER. I would agree. In 1909 there was probably no intention to protect sound recordings. I think the legislative history would bear this out although it is ambiguous. In the early 1970's there was an increase in record piracy because of the increasing popularity of 8-track ("itrilines. As a result, there was a major effort to get States to pass legrination or to enforce common law protection of what were clearly, in a layman's sense, published works because of the lacuna in the 1909 stat:ite. There was no explicit protection. This issue went all the way to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court upheld the validity of a State criminal statute against record piracy on the ground that Conpress had not preempted that protection since it had failed to act.
You may not even be refraining deliberately from giving protection, which I think was the thrust of your question. You may, in fact, be handling them State protection which is variable and inconsistent in many cases and has a lot of undesirable features. These were the very undesirable features that Madison mentioned in the “Federalist l'apers" when he was defending the copyright clause in the (orstitution.
Mr. KASTEXMEIER. By virtue of passing this bill, we will deal with evert is-le. Whether we deal with it completely or not for the purpose of lpylving the issues involved is the only question, not whether it has
legalt with the four corners of the bill because the four corners of the bil! will presume to deal with everything in copyright.
Vs RixGER. I quite agree, Mr. Chairman.
Vír. KASTENMEIER. One of the apprehensions that, as we develop this bill and probably future amendments to it, is that by creating rights and extending rights, we might make the law very complicated given the present state and future state of society, that the business of getting clearances and knowing what levels of rights are really being accorded may get extraordinarily diflicult, particularly for users. What is your comment to that?
JIS. RINGER. This has been a concern to us in the Copyright Office, too. There are some situations--and I think cable is one of the best examples I have ever seen-that are so intrinsically complicated that you cannot deal with them in a broad-brush way.
I think that your efforts to deal with the CATV problem in 1965 which were attacked as being terribly complicated are extraordinarily clear and simple compared to the FCC regulations which in efl'ect did the same thing.
At the same time, I am very disturbed about the increasing reliance on compulsory licensing to resolve difficult conflicts. The law is so out of date that there are now areas in which authors are simply not being protected at all. In these areas there have built up user interests that are so strong and so deeply embedded that to impose outright copyright liability, with no if's, and's or but's, would create very serious problems.
Because the 1909 law has been allowed to become hopelessly out of date, you have to compromise, and the obvious compromise in many of these cases is compulsory licensing.
When you begin this game in areas now protected under copyright, where the protection already exists and licensing arrangements have already been made, then I think you are doing something very drastic, and the ultimate result could be substantial changes in the character of copyrights that might actually make it harmful to the author rather than helpful.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. Wow, I would like to yield to the gentleman from California, Mr. Wiggins.
Mr. WIGgins. Following you will be many witnesses who will reflect their economic interests and you may be one of the few witnesses who do not have an obvious economic stake in this bill.
Can you help me with some of the problem policy issues which may pervade all of these sections of the bill? I think I can understand a person's economic ax. I respect their points of view. But, I am not sure I really understand the public policy issues involved and I would like your assistance.
Ms. Ringer. The 1909 Joint Congressional Committee, in its report No. 2222, made a statement which has been quoted many times and which I agreed with at one time, but which I have ceased to agree with.
I will paraphrase it. It was that copyright is not for the protection of the author, but for the public and that where the author's interests and the public's interests conflict, the author must yield.
This sounds great and for a long time, I felt that this was probably correct. But, the more I have looked upon the status of authors in this country and the fact that the public interest is badly served when authors are badly served, I have felt that too often the public interest has been identified with economic users rather than with authors.
In recent years, partly as a result of this whole revision exercise, I have been trying to page individual issues in terms of their impact upon creativity and authorship, which I consider the ultimate public interest.
The Constitution speaks of the desirability of promoting the progress of science and useful arts, science in the broad sense of learning or knowledge, by offering protection for limited times to authors and inventors.
It seems to me that it is this protection, the exclusive rights that are supposed to be granted to authors, that is the ultimate public interest that the Constitution and its drafters were thinking about.
I do not think that this has ever been fully or even partly ria in at, corant law we have had in our entire history,
Mr. W kal. I was wondering if you would place the dishmir fut the benest of the public and I might add for the protit d what abot-on an equal plane with the protection of the au *' .lenton!
M. RIM... Yes. I think that the wintern that we have had has hul on t'le desire to induce disemination, make work a to'!.Pribine by offering protection to authors.
le tek that this sistem is now subject to some dificulty levnu te f. ! that the new technojoxy has made it an absolute detrunke
-- !iteIn o r world, an author in certain situations are torbod out of the cage, finds thint there in no way to regain it. v ! has made a tape and it has been plavel over the rad:0 of
som, le tire suddenly it is being pirateri or macie in dupl..ni fit t'ont:.
It is irry, very difficult in that situation for hiin to realize A Bar PDO lin or prkand for his erration and there may be sill's .! ' lor null pr fer to keep his bed in its car, ) to spean
I am making in terms of music, but I think the priample is li If, s om arra where there is a inore realistic possibility of error FIX per control.
1.1.hoof Destis committee, a* Iwe it, is to try in some si p ie!e the import of the mos diwimination media on the handen of 1.anthor a reasonable return and inducing them to let the
Here in tral's big trouble on this, in my opinion, at the shop \!. lluik, Tank you. Tril, Vir (art.11n. W KIDNIK. The mostleman fron (als fort.in, Vr. Din Mr DAVINE I wish to thank Ms. Ringmir, Mr. Lappi V: Ka fann from thuir contribution this in oricely. It was
to the last paragraph of his statement, and of the responsibility of the Congress in meeting that process.
I wish every legislator would include that as part of his morn:.. devotions or ablutions.
Mr. KASTEN MEIER. The gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Drinan!
Mr. Drinax. I want to welcome Ms. Ringer back. I am sorry I had another subcommittee. That subcommittee was about bankruptcy, and the Congress has been even more apathetic about bankruptcy than about copyright laws.
I thank you for your appearance here today and I wish to thank the other two witnesses.
Probably it is the better part of wisdom, since the House is in pa sion, to terminate at this period and to thank all three witness Mr. Lorenz, Mr. Kaminstein, and Ms. Ringer, for illuminating 11.** subcommittee and updating it on the subjert of copyright.
Particularly what Ms. Ringer has contributed this morning will raise a number of other issues, other questions, with which I am in entire agreement with the gentleman from California, Mr. Danielson, on and suggest further colloquy.
Rather than get into those thickets at this hour. I think we will let the morning testimony stand. It does sound not only hopeful, but glips us the frame of reference for now proceeding hopefully to a suerte ful end.
In conclusion the Chair desires to again thank our witnesses this morning.
Mr. DANIELS0x, Is there any chance of getting a larger room for tomorrow. There are a lot of people standing up back there that would rather sit.
Mr. KASTEN JEIFR. We will do what we can do in that reward. The committee is very impressed by the public interest. We will try to bring additional chairs in and accommodate those standing today.
Tomorrow we will have representatives of the Justice Department, Commerce Department, and the State Department on the question of general copyright revision. Until then, the subcommittee stands adijourned.
Whereupon, at 1:2:10 p.m., the subcommittee adjourner, to rpionvene at 10) a.m., Thurslay, May 8, 1975.)
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