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considerable support. I will not hesitate to say I thought it was a good idea myself until I was taught better. Every other country but ours has abandoned registration because it is not available for the purposes it should serve. There are two things required in registration. It is convenient for an author if he desires to file and register his work to show his copyright; anyone has that privilege and as long as it is done without making its protection depend on compliance with that formality he is right. We have, under the acts of 1891, a catalogue of registrations the volumes of which would fill that wall. It was supposed necessary to print it and it costs now $55,000 per year to do it. It is sent to the customs and to post offices to check the importation of fraudulent copies. The customs officers write to us saying we can not deal with this mass of catalogues, we have to deliver the books promptly and it will take an hour to go through them and find out if anything like this is recorded.
The CHAIRMAN. We are not interested in that phase of it at allif anyone has burglarized, the court will take care of that.
Mr. SOLBERG. There are not 1,000 cases in the whole world.
The CHAIRMAN. All we are interested in is we have registration of this copyright and protection given the author in this new law.
Mr. SOLBERG. You desire that the proposed law shall insure protection.
The CHAIRMAN. If you have a property that you value, register and record it, and after you have done that the deed is yours.
Mr. SOLBERG. Take the radio people, they have to use a multiplicity of things and so on; they may not use it to-day, they can not go through the millions of cards and in the Copright Office they do not index one-tenth of the available material; in order to do that it takes time. If you will take the copyright page you will find two dates given; one, the date of publication of the book, and, two, the date of receipt and registration. They differ from five days to five months and some times five years; you can not stop it; we have endeavored for 30 years to have prompt and efficient registration. We have in the Copyright Office not much of the author's history; it is absolutely no use for the purposes you have in mind, to determine for A something he must use to-night or next week; we must have other methods of protecting the author and the hundreds of men who prefer copyrights.
The CHAIRMAN. That prefer copyrights! Mr. Caldwell, I have just noticed you in the audience. You are the chief counsel representing the broadcasters in how many hundreds of radio stations. I want to ask you as former counsel for the Radio Commission, are you in favor of automatic copyright, or do you prefer registration and recordation?
STATEMENT BY LOUIS G. CALDWELL, FORMER COUNSEL FOR
RADIO COMMISSION, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. CALDWELL. I do not think I can answer your question, Mr. Chairman, in the way you put it. We are in favor of registration. The broadcasters are interested in having sufficient registration and copyright notice so that they will be able to tell what material is protected by copyright and what material is in the public domain.
So far as automatic copyright goes, the broadcasters have no quarrel with it if these requirements of notice and registration are preserved.
The CHAIRMAN. Exactly; there is your answer.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you mean by an answer from one source ? You just referred to the radio people; I did not know Mr. Caldwell was here.
Mr. DIEs. I think we should hear it all. I do not think the committee is interested in automatic copyright; I thought we were going to proceed on registration and recordation of copyright.
The CHAIRMAN. Exactly. But we have not come to the transition stage in the human being yet. Those who do not want to register and record their copyright shall be subject only to a statutory damage if proven to the court, but if they register and record it, they can collect all the damages in the world, if they can prove it to the court. That will give us this law in which you can not deprive an author of his rights if he has registered and recorded his copyright.
Mr. SOLBERG. It might be interesting to the committee to be told that in England, when the question arose many years ago as to obligatory registration and deposit, registration was permitted before going into court.
The CHAIRMAN. Before going into court?
Mr. SOLBERG. Just before going into court, but even that has been done away with.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, you would not grant to the next of kin the privilege of renewal? What is that context?
Mr. SOLBERG (resuming the reading of his text):
In such contingency to provide, as in recent bills, for renewal “by the said author's executors or testamentary trustees, or, if there be no such executors or trustees, then by a duly appointed administrator with the will annexed; or, in the absence of a will, by the administrator, or other legal representatives of the said author's estate,” this to cure a troublesome defect in the present law.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to thank you, Mr. Solberg, this was very interesting
Mr. SOLBERG. I have ventured to prepare a tentative text for your consideration. May I have it printed in the record ?
The CHAIRMAN. You may. I believe I have heard expressed the sentiments of nearly every member of this committee, with possibly the exception of two. That is, we are opposed to copyright according to the general rule; it may be a European method, but it is not an American method. We would like to have an American recordation and registration resolution; we can not take away a man's common-law privilege; we have to put up with the faults of our people, for we would not like to be smoked out, to use a slang expression; we would not want to make any man register and record any copyright; so that every industry that has been before this committee, dramatic, periodicals, newspapers, and so forth, who wants this thing registered and recorded is entitled to protection.
Mr. Diss. I want to know if I were to buy a thing that somebody else had in his possession and did not pay for it. I know he owns it if he has registered it; the other way I do not know whether or not he owns it. On that basis I want to find a line of demarcation in the man who creates a child; he automatically owns it, it is an automatic copyright from its very creation; but if anyone infringes on this right before he has had an opportunity to register or record it, which is his right, he is assessed in damages amounting to $50,000; but the moment he records that copyright he has the protection of the Government 100 per cent, and that will compel everyone to record a copyright.
The action does not in any way strengthen the ownership; the ownership is complete from the time you acquire bill of sale and so on. Now, we had in our own States great trouble in the early days of recordation, the consequence was that great injustice was done; many people claimed many things that did not belong to them and lost everything they had through the failure of the copyright law. I think you have the right distinction in these two forms of copyright law, and we want to encourage you and encourage every one to put that on record.
The CHAIRMAN. Exactly, I agree with you 100 per cent, and I think every member of our committee thinks the same as I do.
Mr. DIEs. Of course, we have our American system which we want to hold intact. We have a great many laws different from European countries. The law holds a man innocent until his guilt is proven beyond the question of a doubt, along the lines you suggested without any motion.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to assure my distinguished friend and colleague from Texas that when I prepare the bill, that is exactly what I am going to incorporate in the bill, but I have to word it in such a way that the contention is we do not want to give away the least of our rights which we are required to have.
Mr. Rich. But the right does not require it should depend upon the registration ?
The CHAIRMAN. No. Mr. Rich. If you are compelled to register, that is depriving one of a right?
The CHAIRMAN. We can not give them compulsory registration, but we can do one thing, if a man's rights have been infringed upon he can collect in Court the amount of damages for the infringement on his copyright.
Mr. Dies. If I acquire a piece of property in Texas from some other man and another man sues the man from whom I bought that piece of property, that is the rights of infringement; so what the chairman proposes is not to compel anyone to do anything but record it, an incentive there to induce them to do it but not having a compulsory feature in it.
The CHAIRMAN. That is it exactly. I do not tell them they have to do it.
Mr. SOLBERG. It was very carefully worked out in the bill presented in the House.
Mr. Dies. That is going to be an important feature when you explain it to the House.
The CHAIRMAN. Exactly.
Mr. SOLBERG. As to the automatic copyright, it was practically only concerned with the unpublished work and now the bill as written says there would be no notice required.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not think you need any notice at all. I think what Congressman Dies stated is absolutely a fact; why in the world do I need to have a copyright on my book-it is my common-law right if I have my copyright; the moment I put it into registration and recordation, then I have the protection of the Government.
Mr. DIEs. When the State Department goes under the old law, do they go to the trouble of saying it is not compulsory?
The CHAIRMAN. Exactly. It is permissible.
Mr. Rich. But when a fellow over here writes a book he is not going to ask whether it is or is not compulsory.
Mr. Dies. Doesn't our law stand up with any requirement Congress sees fit in its wisdom to make, but it can not be done in the foreign countries
The CHAIRMAN. I want to tell you, Mr. Solberg, in talking it over with the State Department, it seems to be in full sympathy with Congressman Dies's view, and I talked the matter over about extending the same right to the international countries; and if they want to have the advantage of the publication, they can register here.
Mr. Dies. They can?
The CHAIRMAN. I want to thank you, Mr. Solberg, for your interesting remarks, it has made us all think more about the matter.
The committee stands adjourned until to-morrow at 10 o'clock a. m., when we are going to have the representatives of the newspapers, periodicals, and magazines here.
(Whereupon, the committee adjourned to meet on March 1, at 10 o'clock a. m.)
GENERAL REVISION OF THE COPYRIGHT LAW
TUESDAY, MARCH 1, 1932
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The committee met at 10 o'clock a. m. Tuesday, March 1, 1932, in the caucus room of the House Office Building, the Hon. William I. Sirovich (chairman) presiding.
STATEMENT OF THORVALD SOLBERG, FORMER REGISTER OF
COPYRIGHTS, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. SOLBERG. Before proceeding, may I have one minute to present a request that came to me in the morning mail?
The CHAIRMAN. I will be very glad to accede to your request.
I would like to say something for the benefit of the record. The Committee on Patents has been using this meeting room since this building was created, so I understand. We never invite visitors to this building. It is only the men and women coming before this committee who are invited to present their views so that the stenographer may take down word for word whatever transpires, and the members of the committee and the Members of Congress can then read the record and familiarize themselves with the proceedings before the Committee on Patents.
Yesterday the theatrical producers of American were invited to be present and because their organization is broken down and most of them are bankrupt, and because they feel their case is hopeless, they did not send their representatives.
A newspaper man from the New York Sun came in here yesterday and finding this room as is, sent out a statement to his paper that the caucus room was absolutely empty, the chairman of the committee was practically speaking to empty chairs. I want the distinguished gentleman to know that we never invite visitors. The men here today who represent newspapers, periodicals, and magazines are the only ones who have been invited and I think such kind of criticism that humiliates us is unfair and unjust.
Does that coincide with your view, Congressmen? Mr. Rich. Exactly. The CHAIRMAN. We will now be glad to call on the former register of copyrights, and apropos of that, Mr. Solberg, in the midst of your address yesterday when I interrupted you for the benefit of the newspaper men, this very same critic reporter of the New York Sun stated that we never even asked your name, that we did not know