« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
solution as quickly as possible because it's important to those who are impacted.
Mr. MOORHEAD. I think what you get is the motion picture people feel this is a valuable asset they have, and while they're willing to make a gift to a lot of people in these homes, they would like to be able to say they gave it of their own free will. It's looks as if they're being pressured just a little bit. So it makes them feel a little differently about it.
Thank you very much.
Mr. SANGMEISTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This is more a comment than really a question to the Senator and Representative.
It appears from your testimony that you are willing to settle if we can get an agreement from all the studios involved. I had a representative from the studios call on me, because he knew I'm a member of this subcommittee, stating that they don't want to have any part of any revenue tax. The only problem they had was strictly with the antitrust laws.
Now, if that's the case and the chairman has indicated contacting the Attorney General's Office to get a waiver of that-we ought to put the agreement together. It would save us legislation and both sides will accomplish what they want.
Mr. Roth. As we mentioned in our testimony, we had really hoped that we could have come forward today with such an agreement. Unfortunately, the studios were not willing to agree. That certainly is a possible solution that we would be happy to
Mr. SANGMEISTER. But, Senator, haven't they indicated to you that the only problem they have is the antitrust laws? That's the understanding I have. They're more than willing to enter into any kind of agreement that will be acceptable-
Mr. CARDIN. I think there's been agreement as to what we're trying to accomplish, and that is, to allow nursing homes to be able to show videos without having to pay the royalty. Where we have not been able to reach an agreement is on the uniformity of who is covered under nursing homes, as to the enforceability of the right to be able to view nursing home tapes, and that it be in a transaction-free way, so that it's not a cumbersome process for a nursing home to know that they have the right to view the videos.
So, George, I think you're correct. We have reached an agreement in principle, but there is still a lot of other matters that need to be worked out. One of the obstacles that the motion picture industry has pointed out has been the antitrust issues, and I think that if we can give them a degree of comfort in that area, it is much more likely we will be able to reach agreement on these other points by direct negotiations, rather than doing it in a very circuitous way.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. If the gentleman would yield, I suspect the studios would say they would not be unwilling to do it, but they feel they are unable to enter into an agreement today. But I understand you really are not that close to an agreement. That an agreement in principle is a long way from an agreement in
Mr. ROTH. I think that's a fair statement, Mr. Chairman. I would
separately sign the agreement without any concurrence among themselves.
As Congressman Cardin has pointed out, in our discussions it has not been said to us that the only concern was antitrust. But I hope that's correct.
Mr. SANGMEISTER. That's what I think we need to hear, and will hear from the studios on this issue.
Congressman Cardin, as you define in your legislation what a home is, you can define that just as easily, in my opinion, in the agreement. So again, if we can agree that the only problem is the antitrust laws, thing should not be that difficult to resolve.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. The gentleman from North Carolina.
Not unlike the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Chairman, I will make a comment rather than a question at this point. This is very delicate. I think all of us may find ourselves in a nursing home one day, and for some of us, that is couched in the not too distant future as it once was. It may be in the imminent future.
Mr. COBLE. But the chances of most of us in this room probably being in a nursing home one day, the chances are not remote. I think we can all relate to the problem here. I certainly am not in favor of imposing the necessity upon these nursing home people to buy licenses.
Now let's move along to the alternative. Ben, I think you said you thought early on the easiest way to correct the problem may be through legislation. Well, if we can do it voluntarily, that has more appeal to me.
I am by no means taking sides in this. I don't want to see on TV or in the newspaper that I'm coming down on the side of the big motion picture folks from Hollywood. But if we can resolve this to the satisfaction of all parties, it appears to me that that is probably within our grasp.
I have talked with representatives of the motion picture industry. I have read some of the statements today. It appears to me, Senator and Congressman, that you all are almost ready to get this thing resolved. I have problems, Mr. Chairman, about probing into the copyright law. You know, that could end up in results that may well not be favorable. When you open floodgates, you invite floods. So I think we need to be aware of that, and I think we need to proceed very cautiously and very prudently.
If the problem can be resolved voluntarily, which I think it can be-based upon my conversations with certain parties involved, and basically having read some of the statements here—that is the direction from which I come. If you all want to take a shot at me, I'll be glad to yield to you.
Mr. ROTH. I don't want to take a shot at you, but I would like to reemphasize that we have been seeking what we call a "legislative equivalent” solution. In other words, we would be satisfied if we could reach a binding agreement of the character we have discussed. That is very much a possibility.
As I just said a few minutes ago, we even hoped that we would be here today announcing the signing of such an agreement. If we can get it back on track, I think that is certainly an alternative.
Again, I would like to emphasize that time is of some essence. I would hope the fact that you're holding these hearings would move the whole thing ahead expeditiously. I appreciate very much, for that reason, your willingness to move ahead on what I think is a very important issue.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, gentlemen.
Mr. BERMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I share some of the concerns earlier expressed by you gentlemen and by my colleagues on the committee.
I would point out on this antitrust issue that when the subject of the networks dealing with television violence came up and the concerns of the networks collaborating, simply a few Members of Congress saying we urge you to work this out wasn't enough. There was an actual effort, I guess, a successful effort, to amend the antitrust law-I voted against it-to allow the parties to work together.
I guess my question is, is the studios' concern, in your opinion, simply a smoke screen, or an excess of caution, or have we in the past found that concern to be sufficiently legitimate when expressed by the television networks, that we are willing to entertain legislation? I'm not sure that that is such a great solution, either, in this situation, for problems that maybe I'll get into in a moment. But I throw that out to you for your comments.
Mr. CARDIN. We could debate how sincere we think or how legitimate we believe the antitrust issues are. It was clear to me from the beginning that the motion picture industry wanted to try to find a nonlegislative solution and they wanted to work together, but they had concerns and wanted our office to try to help in that by making specific requests from each of the various companies. We did that, and Senator Roth's office did that.
I guess, Howard, there's an easy solution here. Let's try to get this issue resolved by seeking an exception, and then I think we can eliminate that as one of the areas of contention and can hopefully move forward to some resolution of this issue. I think the motion picture people were clearly concerned
Mr. BERMAN. By "exception," do you mean-
Mr. CARDIN. By asking the Attorney General. As I understand it, this committee has done that before as related to the jukebox issue, where the subcommittee asked the Attorney General to allow an exception so that, in response to Congress, the parties can get together and submit a unified position.
Mr. BERMAN. The jukebox is not a legislative, compulsory license?
Mr. CARDIN. It is my understanding that in 1984, 1985 the committee successfully initiated a request from the Attorney General to allow people to get together. I have some information
Mr. KASTENMEIER. The gentleman is correct. We also used this on the jukebox question, enabling a number of both performance
negotiate without any penalty under antitrust. So we have found this to be a useful and necessary device on more than one occasion.
Mr. Roth. If I might make just one observation, in answer to your question, I think I agree with Congressman Cardin. It is hard to know exactly what motivates anyone, and when you've got several, there may be differing reasons.
I regret that the Motion Picture Association of America is not here today, so that that question, as well as others, could be propounded to them, because I think that would be very helpful.
In any event, regarding the antitrust concern, if that is the only concern, that is certainly something we ought to be able to deal with in an intelligent and expeditious manner. We would be happy to cooperate in any way we can with this committee.
Mr. BERMAN. Well, I see that the chairman advises, and I even see a letter from the private parties requesting that kind of permission. I was just wondering, on this question of TV violence, why that wasn't a satisfactory way to work that issue out and why they chose the legislative route instead.
Senator Roth, the exception on the copyright law for public performance that you seek to carve out seems very appropriate, but you put it into the sense of, well, this nursing home is a home. But there are a lot of other homes as well. My guess would be that, to a certain extent, college dormitories, military barracks, certain kinds of summer camps could also be viewed as homes.
Is there a coherent logic to applying it here, where it seems very appropriate and right to do, and not also including some of those other situations?
Mr. Roth. It does seem to me that you can distinguish those situations. In most cases those are temporary residences; in most cases, they would have other homes as well—for example, in the case of college dormitories. But in this case we're really dealing with what the lady who has written me points out: A nursing home is her home, just as much as the home of a single family is the home of that single family. So I do think there is a basis of distinguishing it.
It may be that the committee would want to look at other possibilities, but here we have a situation where people usually are assigned permanently and not by choice. I just think it's a problem that we should deal with, as I said before, from the standpoint of equity. A nursing home is just as much their home as my home is mine, and they should be treated the same.
Mr. BERMAN. I appreciate that.
In conclusion, let me just say I join the group of people who hope this can be worked out in a nonlegislative fashion to the satisfaction of the residents of the nursing homes who I think, very understandably, want to have access to this kind of entertainment in a way that's feasible.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. We thank both of our distinguished colleagues, the senior Senator from the State of Delaware, Bill Roth, and Congressman Ben Cardin from the State of Maryland, for their appearance today.
Mr. Roth. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We certainly look forward to continue working with you on this matter toward its resolution.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. Frank Polk, it's good to have you here, also.
Next we will have the Register of Copyrights. It's always a pleasure to welcome Ralph Oman to the subcommittee. He is a frequent and valued witness on the many copyright matters, and even beyond those, that the subcommittee considers. So we're looking forward to his testimony on both bills today.
Before I recognize the Register, does the gentleman from California have a statement he would like to make now, or before the panel on his bill testifies?
Mr. BERMAN. Either way, whatever the chairman's pleasure.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. Well, since the Register is testifying on two bills, let's let him go ahead. Then you can make your introductory statement and then we'll have the panel following him.
Mr. BERMAN. Since my statement quotes the Register of Copyrights' earlier comments on this issue. Mr. KASTENMEIER. Yes, then it should perhaps follow. Mr. Oman.
STATEMENT OF RALPH OMAN, REGISTER OF COPYRIGHTS AND
ASSOCIATE LIBRARIAN FOR COPYRIGHT SERVICES, ACCOMPANIED BY DOROTHY SCHRADER, GENERAL COUNSEL
Mr. Oman. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. It's a pleasure to be here.
I have prepared a written statement and I would like to submit it, with your permission, for the record.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. Without objection, that will be done. It is a 23page statenient, together with appendices, and we're delighted to include it in the record.
Mr. OMAN. Thank you very much.
First, H.R. 3158. This bill would permit hospitals that provide long-term care to show motion pictures on VCR's to their patients. The VCR could be located in a hospital room or a lounge-type area. They would use conventional home-use equipment and they won't charge for the performance. Simply stated, the bill wants to give people who have to spend a big chunk of their lives in a hospital the same right to watch movies that they would have if at home, where they presumably would prefer to be.
We all want to relieve the suffering of sick people, and the bill has obvious emotional appeal. So it seems like a modest request to ask Congress to let men and women, boys and girls, confined to an institution, away from family and friends, to watch movies for a brief spell of relief or escape. The hospital administrators say that the movie industry is rich enough to forgo royalties from viewers living in long-term care facilities.
Senator Roth and Representative Cardin have testified on their bill and I won't get into the details, but I think it would be accurate to characterize their bill as a very narrowly drawn exemption. If you adopt it, Mr. Chairman, I don't expect it would be able to be used as a foot in the door to open up more exemptions for the public performance right, which is one of the primary ways that creators make money:
Certainly we aren't asking the oil companies to provide free