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said certificate, to be filled out in each case as above provided for in the case of all registrations made after July 1, 1909, and in the case of all previous registrations so far as the copyright office record books shall show such facts, which certificate, sealed with the seal of the copyright office, shall, upon payment of the prescribed fee, be given to any person making application for the same. Said certificate shall be admitted in any court as prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein. In addition to such certificate the register of copyrights shall furnish, upon request, without additional fee, a receipt for the copies of the work deposited to complete the registration. [As amended by Act of Mar. 2, 1913, 37 Stat. 724]

SEC. 56. [Catalogues of copyright entries; effect as evidence.] That the register of copyrights shall fully index all copyright registrations and assignments and shall print at periodic intervals a catalogue of the titles of articles deposited and registered for copyright, together with suitable indexes, and at stated intervals shall print complete and indexed catalogues for each class of copyright entries, and may thereupon, if expedient, destroy the original manuscript catalogue cards containing the titles included in such printed volumes and representing the entries made during such intervals. The current catalogues of copyright entries and the index volumes herein provided for shall be admitted in any court as prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein as regards any copyright registration.

SEC. 57. [Same; distribution and sale; disposal of proceeds.] That the said printed current catalogues as they are issued shall be promptly distributed by the copyright office to the collectors of customs of the United States and to the postmasters of all exchange offices of receipt of foreign mails, in accordance with revised lists of such collectors of customs and postmasters prepared by the Secretary of the Treasury and the Postmaster-General, and they shall also be furnished in whole or in part to all parties desiring them at a price to be determined by the register of copyrights for each part of the catalogue not exceeding ten dollars for the complete yearly catalogue of copyright entries. The consolidated catalogues and indexes shall also be supplied to all persons ordering them at such prices as may be determined to be reasonable, and all subscriptions for the catalogues shall be received by the Superintendent of Public Documents, who shall forward the said publications; and the moneys thus received shall be paid into the Treasury of the United States and accounted for under such laws and Treasury regulations as shall be in force at the time. [As amended by Act of May 23, 1928, 45 Stat. 713]

SEC. 58. [Records and works deposited in Copyright Office open to public inspection; taking copies of entries.] That the record books of the copyright office, together with the indexes to such record books, and all works deposited and retained in the copyright office, shall be open to public inspection; and copies may be taken of the copyright entries actually made in such record books, subject to such safeguards and regulations as shall be prescribed by the register of copyrights and approved by the Librarian of Congress.

SEC. 59. [Disposition of articles deposited in Office.] That of the articles deposited in the copyright office under the provisions of the copyright laws of the United States or of this Act, the Librarian of Congress shall determine what books and other articles shall be transferred to the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, including the law library, and what other books or articles shall be placed in the reserve collections of the Library of Congress for sale or exchange, or be transferred to other governmental libraries in the District of Columbia for use therein.

SEC. 60. [Destruction of articles deposited in Office remaining undisposed of; removal of by author or proprietor; manuscripts of unpublished works.] That of any articles undisposed of as above provided, together with all titles and correspondence relating thereto, the Librarian of Congress and the register of copyrights jointly shall, at suitable intervals, determine what of these received during any period of years it is desirable or useful to preserve in the permanent files of the copyright office, and, after due notice as hereinafter provided, may within their discretion cause the remaining articles and other things to be destroyed: Provided, That there shall be printed in the Catalogue of Copyright Entries from February to November, inclusive, a statement of the years of receipt of such articles and a notice to permit any author, copyright proprietor, or other lawful claimant to claim and remove before the expiration of the month of December of that year anything found which relates to any of his productions deposited or registered for copyright within the period of years stated, not reserved or disposed of as provided for in this Act: And provided further, That no manuscript of an unpublished work shall be destroyed during its term of copyright without specific notice to the copyright proprietor of record, permitting him to claim and remove it.

SEC. 61. [Fees.] That the register of copyrights shall receive, and the persons to whom the services designated are rendered shall pay, the following fees: For the registration of any work subject to copyright, deposited under the provisions of this Act, $2, which sum is to include a certificate of registration under seal: Provided, That in the case of any unpublished work registered under the provisions of section 11, the fee for registration with certificate shall be $1, and in the case of a published photograph the fee shall be $1 where a certificate is not desired. For every additional certificate of registration made, $1. For recording and certifying any instrument of writing for the assignment of copyright, or any such license specified in section one, subsection (e), or for any copy of such assignment or license, duly certified, $2 for each copyright office recordbook page or additional fraction thereof over one-half page. For recording the notice of user or acquiescence specified in section one, subsection (e), $1 for each notice of not more than five titles. For comparing any copy of an assignment with the record of such document in the copyright office and certifying the same under seal, $2. For recording the renewal of copyright provided for in sections twenty-three and twenty-four, $1. For recording the transfer of the proprietorship of copyrighted articles, ten cents for each title of a book or other article, in addition to the fee prescribed for recording the instrument of assignment. For any requested search of copyright office records, indexes, or deposits, $1 for each full hour of time consumed in making such search: Provided, That only one registration at one fee shall be required in the case of several volumes of the same book deposited at the same time. [As amended by Act of May 23, 1928, 45 Stat. 714]

SEC. 62. [Terms defined.] That in the interpretation and construction of this Act “the date of publication” shall in the case of a work of which copies are reproduced for sale or distribution be held to be the earliest date when copies of the first authorized edition were placed on sale, sold, or publicly distributed by the proprietor of the copyright or under his authority, and the word "author" shall include an employer in the case of works made for hire.

SEC. 63. [Repealed.] [This section originally contained the repealing clause of the Act of 1909, but was replaced in the United States Code of Laws, Title 17, by Section 3 of the Act of June 18, 1874, relating to the registration of commercial prints and labels at the Patent Office, which in turn was repealed by the Act of July 31, 1939, c. 396, 53 Stat. 1142, which further provided that all original or renewal copyrights effected at the Patent Office should continue in full force and effect for the balance of the respective unexpired terms. New provisions dealing with the subject of prints and labels are set forth in Sections 64 and 65 of the Code as follows:]

SEC. 64. [Registration of prints and labels.] Commencing July 1, 1940 the Register of Copyrights is charged with the registration of claims to copyright properly presented, in all prints and labels published in connection with the sale or advertisement of articles of merchandise, including all claims to copyright in prints and labels pending in the Patent Office and uncleared at the close of business June 30, 1940. All such pending applications and all fees which have been submitted or paid to or into the Patent Office for such pending applications, and all funds deposited and at the close of business June 30, 1940, held in the Patent Office to be applied to copyright business in that Office, shall be returned by the Commissioner of Patents to the applicants. There shall be paid for registering a claim of copyright in any such print' or label not a trademark $6, which sum shall cover the expense of furnishing a certificate of such registration, under the seal of the Copyright Office, to the claimant of copyright. (July 31, 1939, c. 396, § 3, 53 Stat. 1142)

SEC. 65. [Renewal of copyrights originally registered in Patent Office.] Subsisting copyrights originally registered in the Patent Office prior to July 1, 1940, shall be subject to renewal in behalf of the proprietor upon application made to the Register of Copyrights within one year prior to the expiration of the original term of twenty-eight years. (July 31, 1939, c. 396, § 4, 53 Stat. 1142)

Committee Report (No. 2222) on Bill Enacting

Copyright Act of 1909

60th Congress, 2d Session

Report No. 2222



FEBRUARY 22, 1909.-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 following


[To accompany H. R. 28192.] The Committee on Patents, to whom was referred House bill 28192, 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. He said:

Our copyright laws urgently need revision. They are imperfect in definition, confused and inconsistent in expression; they omit provision for many articles which, 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 necessary in Germany, Austria, Sweden, and other foreign countries, and bills embodying 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 suggestions 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, register of copyrights, in the introduction to his book on Copyright 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.

The first copyright statute ever passed in this country was passed by the legislature of Connecticut in 1783 at the solicitation of Noah Webster, who desired copyright protection for his spelling book. It is said that Mr. Webster then traveled from State to State and induced 12 of the 13 Statesall except Delaware—to enact similar statutes. When the convention met and framed the Constitution of the United States copyright laws existed in 12 of the 13 States, but the requirements for the registration of copyrights differed greatly, making it burdensome to an author seeking to protect his work. The need of a law which would be effective in all the States was so apparent that a provision was incorporated in the Constitution, as follows:

Congress shall have power *** to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries. (Constitution, Art. I, par. 8.)

Congress and the courts have always given a liberal construction to the word "writings.” Mr. Justice Miller, in delivering an opinion of the Supreme Court in the case of Burrow-Giles Lithograph Company V. Sarony (111 U. S.), says:

The first Congress of the United States, sitting immediately after the formation of the Constitution, enacted that the "author or authors of any map, chart, book, or books, being a citizen or resident of the United States, shall have the sole right and liberty of printing, reprinting, publishing, and vending the same for the period of fourteen years from the recording of the title thereof in the clerk's office, as afterwards directed.” (1 Stat. L., 124, 1.)

This statute not only makes maps and charts subjects of copyright, but mentions them before books in the order of designation. The second

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