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Librarian of Congress, L. Quincy Mumford, sat before this subcommittee and said:
Copyright law is by nature a difficult and complex subject, and my under. standing of its details is imperfect, to say the least. But, like any other intricate field of knowledge, there are certain simple and fundamental principles under. lying our copyright system, and their importance cannot be overemphasized.
As Dr. Mumford said, one simple principle underlying copyright is the encouragement and reward of individual creativity. This principle is, I would suggest, a basic corollary of the principle of freedom of speech and press. It is a recognition that those parts of our civilization that have endured are the product of individual creators, and the principle of copyright is basic to civilization itself.
But the principle of copyright is also rooted in the present, and the practical concerns of authors and all those who disseminate and use their works. Since 1909, the pace of technological innovation, especially in communications, has been breathtaking.
In these hearings you will hear those who argue, forcefully and in good faith, that technology threatens to strip copyright of its meaning and value. Others, in equally good faith, will stress that copyright is impeding the application of technology to the growing informational needs of society.
Congress must chart the way, and, difficult as that task is, it can be made easier, I believe, by keeping always in mind the underlying social premises of copyright in a free society.
Recognizing the equities on both sides of the arguments you will be hearing, the Library of Congress urges favorable consideration of H.R. 2223. This legislation is the culmination of 15 years of painstaking negotiation and compromise.
It does not provide all of the answers, but it does provide a modern framework for growth and change: New tools for the courts, the Copyright Office, for the authors and the users of copyrighted materials, to meet the challenges of the future.
This is the kind of effort that involves little widespread recognition and a great deal of difficulty and toil. But I am convinced that, when all is said and done, your work will have a significant impact on the lives of all Americans—those who create and those whose lives are shaped and changed by their creations.
As the present administrator of the world's greatest collection of those creative works, I believe that your success in this endeavor will be one of your greatest legislative achievements.
Thank you very much.
Ms. RINGER. If I may, Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the privilege of introducing Mr. Kaminstein.
Mr. KASTEN MEIER. Yes, of course, Ms. Ringer.
Ms. RINGER. The current program for general revision of the copyright law started in the fifties under Arthur Fisher, who was a great Register of Copyrights. He charted a course which we endeavored to follow, and he put his personal stamp on the revision program.
Arthur Fisher died in 1960, at a crucial point in the revision program, and was succeeded by Abraham L. Kaminstein. It is hard to realize how difficult it was for Kami to take over an ongoing program of that sort, one that had as much of a personal stamp on it as the revision program had in 1960, and to make the changes that were necessary to make it go, and eventually to chart a different course_because there were many things in the original planning that had to be changed.
All of these Mr. Kaminstein did. He made a number of personal sacrifices, including sacrifices in his health. The revision program certainly would have gone nowhere without his disinterested optimism and his willingness to explore every possibility, his spirit of good will, and his personal integrity. He earned everyone's respect.
As a personal note, he hired me out of law school, and everything I know about copyright I either owe to him directly or to the opportunities he gave me to learn. He is a loyal friend and a noble human being, and it is a great honor for me to introduce him.
Mr. KASTEN MEIER. Mr. Kaminstein ?
Mr. KAMINSTEIN. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, my name is Abraham Kaminstein, and I hold the position_of Honorary Consultant in Copyright at the Library of Congress. Despite this fancy title. I must state that I appear before you representing only myself and without any brief except for my own profound belief in the value of the legislation you are considering.
I am privileged and pleased to appear before you in support of H.R. 2.2.23 for the general revision of the copyright law. This legislation, which many of you are now involved with for the first time, has been for me almost a life's work.
Before my retirement in 1971 I spent 23 years in the Copyright Office, the last 11 of them as the Register of Copyrights. Interestingly enough, it is almost exactly 20 years since my immediate predecessor, Arthur Fisher, asked for and was granted funds by Congress to initiate studies leading to the overall revision of the copyright laws.
Published between 1956 and 1960, 35 major studies examined current interpretations of the 1909 Copyright Act, analyzed its shortcomings and inequities and set out alternative measures for reform. Well over a decade later, they still remain vital and enduring contributions to our law.
In the early 1960's the Copyright Office sponsored a series of roundtable discussions based on recommendations made in the 1961 Register's Report on Copyright Revision and the preliminary legislative drafts that began to emerge. The talks filled four volumes; they were sometimes difficult, but they did succeed in identifying areas of agreement and dispute, thus sharpening the issues.
By 1964, it was possible to submit a bill for the general revision of the law, and to participate in hearings in 1965 before your subcommittee and under your dedicated chairmanship. Looking back to 1965. I am startled by the scope of our achievements and I have become a bit philosophical about the problems we failed to recognize at the time.
As incredible as it may seem now, our first proposals said nothing alnut cable television, and photocopying was not regarded as an issue which required special legislative provisions. Some of these problems were aired in the extensive hearings which you conducted. Mr. Chairman, and new provisions were added, and when, in 1967, the House passed the bill, we seemed well on our way to success.
1909 and has been amended in only a few relatively minor ways. It is excel tially a Nineteenth Century copyright law, based on assumptions concerning the creation and dissemination of author's works that have been completely over turned in the past fifty years. A Twentieth-Century copyright statute is long overdue in the United States, and the present need for a revised law that wil anticipate the Twenty-First Century is so obvious as to be undeniable.
It is startling to realize that the program for general revision of the copyright law actually got underway more than 50 years ago, in 1924, and produced four distinct legislative efforts before World War II: The Dallinger, Perkins, and Vestal Bills in 1924-1931, the Sirovich Bill in 1932, the Duffy Bill in 1934-1936, and the "Shotwell" Bill in 1939. One of these measures passed the House, and a later one passed the Senate, but in every case the revision program ultimately falid of enactment because of fierce opposition to particular provisions by certain groups. The history of C.S. copyright law revision in the 1920's and 1991 teaches a basic lesson: the need to work out accommodations on the critical issues in an atmosphere of good will and give and take. It is a great deal easier to recognize the validity of this proposition than to put it into practice,
The failure of the earlier efforts at general revision of the copyright law has been blamed on one group or another, and on the face of it there does appear to be quite a bit of wanne to go around. At the wine time it is important tone to forget that the main purpose behind some of the revision bills was to permit U.S. adherence to the luternational Convention of Berne. There can be litte doubt that some of the Congressional opposition to copyright law revision wemased from basic objections to l'.S. acceptance of foreign principles of copyright juris prudence and to U.S. assumption of the international obligations involved in becoming a member of the Berne Union.
After World War II the proponents of copyright law reform adopted a new approach. It was assumed, on the basis of past experience, that efforts to revise the copyright law in a way that would permit adherence to the Berne Convention would continue to be futile. It was also recognized that the emergence of the United States as a major exporter of cultural materials made our adherere to a multilateral convention essential. Thus, efforts to secure general revision of the copyright law were temporarily deferred in favor of a major program aimed at developing and implementing a new international copyright convention to which the l'nited States could adhere without major changes in our law. These efforts, under the leadership of Hegister of (opsrights, Arthur Fisher, achieved sucer** in 1902 with the signing at Genera of the l'niversal Copyright Convention, fole lowed in 184 hy the enactment of revisions to the 1909 statute permitting UK adherence to the Ire', aud by the coming into force of the Convention in 1855.
opeworthy as it was, the achievement of bringing the l'nited States into the international copyright community also served to dramatize one more * arrhnic and inadequate the l.s. copyright statute of 1999 had beenme. The autumas of 1977, which saw the coming into force of the l'niversa! Copyright Convention and the inauguration of the current program for general revision of the cops rizht law, marked the end of one epoch and the beginning of another. In August 1: ('ongr*** authorized the formation of a Panel of Consultants on General Rosinon of the Copyright law under the chairmanship of the Register of Copyrights, and the copyright other undertook a series of basic studies of the major sutartis ***** involved in revision. At the same time began what has become a weddingly endless sten of meetings and distawions with representatives of virtualis etery interpret grup a forteal log the inpyright law By now these dispunionin, which int** en as valuable as they have been time-cutixuming, must literally run into the thulsands
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The culminattiin vof this effort was the polllation, in 11 of the 1981 Ruquirt of the Register of Copyrights on General Resimion of the Copyright law. The Reinter * Hawort was the first of mans makes runeributio* to the general maila sion program by Abraham l. kaminulein Mr Finkpopin k13*****IP Rw Register of Caprihen The pairwiep of the Repuestos Me Kaminstein aald in his 15m2 Annual Rewrt"was to furnish a tarkisende aore around which opinions and ennetustes cuuid crystallpfu achieve the sidest pe mai mujiende agreement on basic prinsiples
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appeared to testify. The record of those 1965 hearings comprises pearls 20 pages of printed text, including not only the oral transcript but also more than 1.50 written statements. The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee under the clar manship of Senator John McClellan of Arkansas, held brief hearings on the revision bill in August 1965, but delayed a full series pending the cupolus of the intense activity in the House subcommittee.
Several siguifitant factors with respect to the general revision program ematen from the 195 hearings. Most obvious were the sharp controversies remail... to be settled on some old issues (such as the jukebox exemption, the rogalis rate to be paid under the compulsory license for recording music, and the fountain turing requirements with respect to English-language books and periwicacial; and on some relatively new issues (such as fair use, and the reproduction copyrighted works for educational and research purposes, the liability of elu . tivnal broadcasters and similar transmitters, and the status of conmuty antenna television systems under the copyright law).
Aside from the need to work out further accommodations on several crital issues, the most serious problem arising from the 1963 bearings was not to 0521 nize the massive contents of the record in a way that would overlook no se!,1 cant comment or suggestion but that still would form a comprehensive bows for decision-making. Working in close collaboration, the Copyright Office and tips House Judiciary Committee counsel prepared summaries of every statement th.st had been made, and then divided the entire corpus of the hearing into ten 4 eral areas: subject matter of copyright, ownership, duration, notice and the tration, manufacturing and importation requirements, community antenna *i*tems and other serondary transmissions, jukebox pmrformanos, planty license for phonorecords, educational copying and fair lise, and educational lor ud casting and other performing rights. Each subjart was then divided into sul topics, under which were listed erery issue raised at the hearings
This "experiment in legislative technique." as it has been called), proved* tire. It enabled the House Judiciary Subcommittee, in its deliberations of the bill, to consider each laste in text, to weigh the arguments for and against it, and to arrive at reasoned decisions. Meeting regularly, 1-ually twice a week, from February through September 1966, the sum ommittee held 51 eretitive sessions, all of which were attended by reprowentatives of the finis right 09 Examining each issue in depth and then redrafting the pertinent station of **** bill as they went along, the subxommitter proveed an entirry resived bill in an atmosphere of informal, bipartinaa discussions that could well serve as a model for similar legislative projects
The bill, as retined by the submmittee, mas reported unanimourly to the fi"! Home Judiciary Committee on September 21, 138, and was reported wit!!! amesdment by the full Judiciary Committee on October 12, 190. The Houne Here port still remains the basic leginative explanation of the content of the biil, and ine reports sunting it in both house bave all been drawn from it.
The bill was reported too late in the with Congress for further legislative action, and inddegoedd none had been rymrted in 1:48In the reviene porn rutier by the Bloune, it was introduced by Reprintative (eller in the oth Congres and was considered by the newly considered membership of subeumter 3 again chaired by Representative kasteninelos on Fabruary 20, 24 and 27. 1:87 It was requirtrd to the full committre on the last of thorpe date and, after ta'..p bratej deput in the full committed on February 2 and Jarch 2, 1#7. ** acain trimited to the 1 v. 1).js time, bones por, the report include] 11.0*10.") Strøm hav Representatives Byron (1. Rigern of colorado and Basil L. Whitekst of Wingth Carolina, desafort in the juholnim smet, and additional diawut his Nr. Wiener of the bill's treatment of ("ATI'.
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