Lapas attēli

structure located on the site of the present bridge or within 100 feet thereof. The bridge in question was originally constructed in 1864–65 without authority from the Federal Government, but was subsequently legalized by an act of Congress approved February 27, 1867 (14 Stat. L., 412).

Section 2 of the bill proposes to authorize the corporations owning and controlling this bridge to appropriate and condemn such real and personal property, and rights of property, as may be necessary to effect the object of the bill. This proposition is an unusual one, and, in my judgment, the propriety of its incorporation in a bill of this kind is doubtful. The title and ownership of real and personal property are derived and held under State laws, and it would seem to be not within the province of Congress to confer on any person or corporation the power to take the property of another for private purposes. While the section provides that the property shall be acquired in accordance with State law, it is conceivable that the section may be construed as conferring unusual powers on the grantees, and as constituting to some extent a limitation on the rights of the owner of the property affected. If this is the intent of the provision, I regard it as inadmissible; if it is not the intent, it is without force, and is clearly unnecessary, as the grantees either have already, or can secure under State laws, ample power to acquire the necessary property rights. Holding these views, I recommend that section 2 of the bill be eliminated.

With this amendment and others of minor importance, all of which are indicated on the bill, I see no objection to favorable consideration by Congress.

A. MACKENZIE, Brig. Gen., Chief of Engineers, U. 8. Army.

(Third indorsement.)


January 24, 1907. Respectfully returned to the chairman Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, inviting attention to the foregoing report of the Chief of Engineers, United States Army, and to the accompanying cops of amended bill referred to.

ROBERT SHAW OLIVER, Assistant Secretary of War,

[ocr errors]




JANUARY 29, 1907.-Referred to the Ilouse Calendar and ordered to be printed.

Mr. ALEXANDER, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted

the following


[To accompany H. R. 21383.]

The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred House bill 21383, submit the following report and recommend the passage of the bill when the same is amended by inserting the following as section 4:

That the city of Bellingham shall furnish a suitable room in which to hold said court, and light and heat the same without any expense to the United States.

Bellingham is a city having a population of about 30,000 people and is situated on Puget Sound near the international boundary, about 100 miles north of Seattle. It is the only city of the first class in the State of Washington that does not have terms of the Federal court. Bellingham has four railroads, and last year its rail shipments amounted to more than 25,000 car-loads. It has a fine harbor, and the value of its water shipping for 1905 was $5,938,000. There are several ports of entry in the immediate neighborhood of Bellingham, and Sumas, a short distance from the city, is one of the largest ports of entry in the West. There are sixteen customs officials and fifteen immigration officials in the territory naturally tributary to Bellingham. Many cases of smuggling and unlawful entry originate in this territory. It works great hardship on the accused to ne compelled to take witnesses to Seattle at his own expense, which he must do in all cases except when the defendant makes affidavit that he is a pauper. There are also many admiralty cases that would be tried at Bellingham. It is claimed that many personal-injury cases, that would be instituted in the Federal courts if terms were held at Bellingham, are now brought in the State court by reason of the very considerable added cost of a trial in the Federal court at Seattle,


HR-59-2-Vol 1- 40


2d Session



JANUARY 30, 1907.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the

state of the Union and ordered to be printed.

Mr. CURRIER, from the Committee on Patents, submitted the



[To accompany H. R. 25133.]

The Committee on Patents, to whom was referred House bill 25133, respectfully report that they have had the same under consideration and recommend that it do pass.

For years men familiar with the copyright laws of this country have urged the necessity of a complete revision. In a notable address on “ Our archaic copyright laws," delivered before the Maine State Bar Association by Hon. Samuel J. Elder, a distinguished member of the Boston bar, he said:

The whole system, in the light of an interpretation by the courts, calls for a revision. The courts are more and more called upon to consider these questions. And besides this, the reproduction of various things which are the subject of copyright has enormously increased. The wealth and business of the country and the methods and means of duplication have increased immeasurably. The law requires adaptation to these modern conditions. It is no longer possible to summarize it in a few sections covering everything copyrightable. It should be revised so that protection to the honest literary worker, artist, or designer shall be simple and certain.

The pressing need of a revision of the copyright laws was urged by the President in his message to Congress in December, 1905. Te said:

Our copyright laws urgently need revision. They are imperfect in definition, confused and inconsistent in expression; they omit provision for many articles whicii, under modern reproductive processes, are entitled to protection; they impose hardships upon the copyright proprietor which are not essential to the fair protection of the public; they are difficult for the courts to interpret and impossible for the Copyright Office to administer with satisfaction to the public. Attempts to improve them by amendment have been frequent, no less than 12 acts for the purpose having been passed since the Revised Statutes. To perfect them by further amendment seems impracticable. A complete revision of them is essential. Such a revision, to meet modern conditions, has been found nepz. sary in Germany, Austria, Sweden, and other foreign countries, and bills einbodying it are pending in England and the Australian colonies. It has been urged here, and proposals for a commission to undertake it have, from time to time, been pressed upon the Congress.

The inconveniences of the present conditions being so great, an attempt to frame appropriate legislation has been made by the Copyright Office, which has called conferences of the various interests especially and practically concerned with the operation of the copyright laws. It has secured from them sug. gestions as to the changes necessary; it has added from its own experience and investigation, and it has drafted a bill which embodies such of these changes and additions as, after full discussion and expert criticism, appeared to be sound and safe. In form this bill would replace the existing insufficient and inconsistent laws by one general copyright statute. It will be presented to the Congress at the coming session. It deserves prompt consideration.

Mr. Thorvald Solberg, in the introduction to his book on “ Copy. right in Congress,” gives reasons for a revision of the copyright laws, as follows:

It is doubtful if the enactment of further merely partial or temporizing legislation will afford satisfactory remedies for the insufficiencies and inconsistencies of the present laws. The subject should be dealt with as a whole, and the insufficient and antiquated laws now in force be replaced by one consistent, liberal, and adequate statute.

The laws as they stand fail to give the protection required, are difficult of interpretation, application, and administration, leading to misapprehension and misunderstanding, and in some directions are open to abuses.

The laws respecting copyrights must now be gathered from a large number of acts. Fourteen acts relating to copyrights have been passed since the Revised Statutes of 1873.

Prior to the year 1710 the term of a copyright was perpetual in England. The Statute of Anne, passed in that year, fixed a term and provided remedies for an infringement of a copyright, but long after the passage of that act it was contended that a copyright was a common-law right“ which always has existed and does still exist, independent of and not taken away by the statute of 8 Anne, ch. 19."

In the case of Millar v. Taylor, decided by Lord Mansfield in 1769, he held that not only the common-law right existed and was perpetual, but that the statute of Anne did not limit it. In 1774 the case of Donaldson v. Beckett was decided by the House of Lords. It was then held that the perpetual right of copy, which had previously existed at common law, was limited to the term provided in the statute. The IIouse of Lords referred to the judges of the three great courts a series of questions and ordered that the judges be directed to deliver their opinions before them. Two of the questions were as follows:

Fourth. Whether the author of any literary composition and his assigus had the sole right of printing and publishing the same in perpetuity by the common law

Fifth. Whether this right is any way impeached, restrained, or taken away by the statute 8 Anne?

On March 15, 1774, the judges delivered their opinions to the House of Lords. Seven to four they decided that there was a perpetual copyright at common law after publication. This decision was never reversed, but, six to five, they held that the perpetual right of publication was taken away by the statute of Anne and that the proprietor of a copyright was limited to the term fixed in that statute. Lord Mansfield, who was present, declined to vote, as he had previously passed upon this question in Millar v. Taylor. Had he voted the vote would have been a tie, and the decision of the

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »