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The House Committee on the Judiciary has heretofore issued four prints in the "Copyright Law Revision" series, covering the progress of the revision program from the initial Report of the Register of Copyrights issued in July 1961 up to the preparation of the bill (H.R. 11947 and S. 3008, 88th Cong.) introduced on July 20, 1964. The discussions and comments on the 1964 bill are in the process of being assembled for issuance as part 5 in the series.

The 1964 bill was modified in the light of these discussions and comments, and a new bill was introduced on February 4, 1965 (H.R. 4347 and S. 1006, 89th Cong.). The Register of Copyrights has now submitted his Supplementary Report which explains the 1965 bill in detail. Because of its immediate importance in connection with forthcoming hearings on the 1965 bill, the Supplementary Report is being issued at this time as part 6 in the "Copyright Law Revision" series, preceding the release of part 5.

In issuing this material the committee neither approves nor disapproves any of the views expressed therein. It is believed that this material will be valuable, both now and in the future, to all persons concerned with the copyright law.

[May 26, 1965]


Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary.



Washington, D.C., May 13, 1965.

THE HONORABLE JOHN W. MCCORMACK, Speaker of the House of Representatives, "Washington, D.C.

SIR: In 1955, under an authorization by Congress, the Copyright Office undertook a program of studies and legislative drafting aimed at the general revision of the copyright law, title 17 of the United States Code. So far this program has produced: a series of 35 studies, all but one of which were published in the form of committee prints issued by the Subcommittee on Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary; the 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law, containing detailed recommendations for a revised statute; the 1963 preliminary draft of a revision bill, issued for discussion by the Panel of Consultants on General Revision of the Copyright Law; three volumes of transcripts of discussions and written comments on the 1961 Report and the 1963 preliminary draft; the copyright law revision bill of 1964 (H.R. 11947, H.R. 12354, S. 3008, 88th Cong., 2d sess.); and the copyright law revision bill of 1965 (H.R. 4347, H.R. 5680, H.R. 6831, H.R. 6835, S. 1006, 89th Cong., 1st sess.). A volume of discussions and comments on the 1964 bill is still in preparation, and will be issued as "Copyright Law Revision, Part 5.".

As explained in the attached letter of transmittal from the Register of Copyrights, the Copyright Office has prepared a Supplementary Report to accompany the 1965 bill. This report not only contains a detailed explanation of the provisions of the pending bills, but also includes, as an appendix, a comparative table consisting of a sectionby-section reprint of the present law, the 1965 and 1964 bills, and the preliminary draft of 1963.

I am pleased to submit this Supplementary Report of the Register of Copyrights on General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law to you and to the Vice President for consideration and use by the Congress. Very truly yours,


Librarian of Congress.

Transmittal letter from Register of Copyrights.
Supplementary Report.



THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, Washington, D.C., May 13, 1965.

Librarian of Congress,
Washington, D.C.

SIR: This report is a supplement to the Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law, submitted to the Congress in July 1961. As explained in the preface, the purpose of the Supplementary Report is to set forth the reasons for changing a number of the recommendations in the 1961 Report, and to clarify the meaning of the provisions of the copyright law revision bill of 1965.

The Supplementary Report represents an effort to state, as frankly as we can, the thinking behind the language of the 1965 bill and, in many cases, the arguments for and against particular provisions. We also point to language in the 1965 bill which requires further study, and it should be clear that we envisage the possibility of amendments as the legislative inquiry proceeds. What success the revision program has achieved so far is the result of a willingness on the part of a number of people to enter into a continuing dialog in which alternative solutions were scrutinized and debated. A decade of this kind of thorough exploration has convinced me that, while the problems in copyright law revision have no simple or ineluctable solutions, none of them are irreconcilable.

In the last 5 years my colleagues on the Copyright Office General Revision Steering Committee, now including George D. Cary, the Deputy Register of Copyrights, Abe A. Goldman, General Counsel, Barbara A. Ringer, Assistant Register of Copyrights for Examining, and Waldo H. Moore, Chief of the Reference Division, have spent endless hours on revision. A temporary illness has forced me to the sidelines since March, but in my absence George Cary has actively and effectively carried the work forward. The very difficult task of putting precisely what we had in mind into words, both in the Report of 1961 and the Supplementary Report of 1965, has fallen to the gifted pens of Barbara Ringer and Abe Goldman.

I am proud to submit this Supplementary Report to you for transmittal to the Congress, as a part of our continuing obligation to work toward the formulation of a new copyright law.

Sincerely yours,


Register of Copyrights.


Supplementary Report.



Introduction. While some consider it strange that it took this long and others marvel that it got this far, the program for general revision of the copyright law has finally entered its legislative phase. The program started with a study phase which began in 1955 and lasted 6 years. This first phase ended in July 1961, when we submitted to Congress the Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law,* containing detailed recommendations for an omnibus statute. The next phase, which was devoted to discussion, debate, and drafting, lasted for 3 years and culminated in the introduction of a revision bill in both Houses of the 88th Congress for purposes of further discussion and comment.

Then followed an interim period of about 6 months during which the Copyright Office redrafted the bill in the light of the detailed comments and suggestions it had received. The final, legislative phase of the program began on February 4, 1965, when Senator McClellan and Representative Celler introduced the bill with the expectation of active congressional consideration during the current session of the 89th Congress. This supplementary report is intended both as an end product of the drafting phase and as an introduction to the legislative phase of the revision program.

The Development of a Draft Bill.-The Register's Report of 1961 was intended as a means and not as an end. Its tentative recommendations were considered carefully and advanced seriously, but their purpose was not to state a final Copyright Office position or even to argue the ultimate merits of a particular point of view. The purpose of the Report was to furnish a tangible core around which opinions and conclusions could crystallize, thus forming the basis for agreement on the principles to be embodied in a bill. Despite the criticism provoked by some of its proposals, and despite the radical differences between its recommendations and the bill now pending, I believe the Report accomplished what it set out to do.

We had expected the Report to be controversial, but I cannot honestly say that we were prepared for the fervent opposition to some of its major recommendations. At the same time the Report had the effect of prodding a good many people out of their seemingly list

*Citations to the Report, and to the later collections of comments and discussions published in connection with the program for general revision, will be found in App. A.

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