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Wall has told you this morning that he believes he is more qualified to speak for the American public than any librarian.
So, I say in conclusion, the Subscription Book Publishers' Association wishes to go on record as absolutely approving each and every provision of the Vestal bill as printed.
Mr. MELCHER. Mr. Chairman, we have one more aspect of the book publisher's standpoint before concluding this matter, and we would like to reserve, for the book publishers, simply the right to reply to any misstatements about our industry that may occur in later hearings whenever they may be.
There were two or three things on the aspects of the general publishing business omitted in this presentation which can be now presented in closing this part of the approval of the bill, by the President of the Publishers' Association, Mr. John McCrae, also president of Dutton & Co.
STATEMENT OF JOHN MCCRAE, PRESIDENT OF THE PUBLISHERS' ASSOCIATION AND ALSO PRESIDENT OF DUTTON & CO.
Mr. MCCRAE. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the congressional committee, first, as the president of the National Association of Book Publishers, I should like to give voice for the publishers in gratitude for your friendly hearing and for the interest you have taken in the publishers' problems.
I should like to begin the few words I shall have to say here by holding up this paper [exhibiting] and stating that I come here as president of the National Association of Book Publishers and state emphatically that we are in favor of H. R. 10434, known as the Vestal bill.
The publishers of the United States have a great ethical interest in copyrights. From the beginning of this country there has been a certain number of people who have desired to cultivate art and literature. From those few people have grown those men and women who have produced the works of art and literature, and from those have grown the publishers. The copyright question in the United States has been one of long standing and difficulty in progress, but at last it appears that we are in sight of the promised land and that we are now in a position to enter the International Copyright Union.
As president of the National Association of Book Publishers, I should like to say that we feel that now is the time for us to enter the International Copyright Union. For two years the publishers, the authors, the book manufacturers, and all those people concerned in the manufacture of books or the making of books or the writing of books have been considering the problem of entering the International Copyright Union, and I hope that it will be possible that at this session of Congress this bill can be passed, and I hope that H. R. 10434 will be that bill.
There have been several things that have been inadvertently overlooked this morning by speakers from the publishers, and one of them is the important matter in regard to the clause in this bill dealing with importations. The Perkins' bill provides for the importation of books under certain conditions, and it also provides for the importation of books for sale. The publishers feel that we have
conceded as far as we can go to the librarians' demands and requirements on the subject of importations; that there should not be importation of books for sale. Books made in the United States by American publishers are as good or better than those made in any other part of the world and, notwithstanding, on the whole, they are as cheap, notwithstanding any kind of statements which may be made here by other speakers. The reason that we can make books as good here or better than anywhere else in the world arises from the fact that the market for the sale of books is larger here than anywhere else and the reason we can make them cheaper is the same thing.
For instance, there are two books [exhibiting], the same book, one made in England and one made in the United States. The American publishers feel that the book made in the United States by the American manufacturer from American paper and from American typesetting is, of the two, the more artistic. We feel that simply for the mere matter of swank, Librarians should not be permitted to import American copyrighted books simply because they wish to have an English edition.
Mr. PERKINS. What is the relative price of the American book and the English book?
Mr. MCCRAE. One sells for 7 and 6 and one for $2.
Mr. PERKINS."7 and 6," translated into dollars, amounts to what? Mr. MCCRAE. $1.87, so that the price is approximately the same, if you take into consideration the difference in the trade discounts in England and in the United States. One of these books is "The Flying Emerald" by Ethelreda Lewis and is published in England at 7 and 6 by Hodder & Stoughton. The other is published by exactly the same author, by George H. Doran Co.
Mr. PERKINS. Then, adding the duty, the cost would be less in this country than the one in England.
Mr. MCCRAE. Yes, sir. This second book [exhibiting] is written by Susan Ertz, and published in England by T. Fisher Unwin. This one published in the United States, by the same author, is published by D. Appleton & Co. I do not desire to go further unless the committee desires me. All of these books [exhibiting] are written here, and I could go on for a day to show that the American book is as good or better and, on the whole, cheaper, than those published in England.
Mr. WEFALD. The English books are thicker, it appears. Is that because they are printed on better paper?
Mr. MCCRAE. No, sir; the thickness of the paper does not demonstrate its quality. It may be poorer.
Mr. BLOOM. Some of the English books are thicker and larger and others of the American books are thicker and larger.
Mr. MCCRAE. Yes, sir. There [exhibiting], for instance, is the same book, only changed in title.
There is one other important question in regard to the manufacture of books in the United States, and that is that the American taste is distinct from the European taste; that is, the style of making things in the United States differs from that of the style of Europe. The American public require a different looking book from that made in England. To demonstrate that, at the present time there are many times more American books
The CHAIRMAN. Pardon me, Mr. McCrae, but how much more time do you want? I am afraid we will be called out to answer a roll call.
Mr. MCCRAE. One minute. There are many times more books exported to Canada than there are imported into the United States, and the reason for the large export to Canada of American books arises from the fact that Canada, lying across the border of the United States, has imbibed the idea of the American style of manufacture and have insisted in many instances on having the American manufactured books.
I should like also to call attention to the fact that as to the questions which have been raised by the librarians of the trouble of finding and locating books, there is really no reason in the world why there should be any trouble. There are abundant measures taken and a number of things published-catalogues and quarterly reviews-giving the lists. There is no reason why the librarians may not look up and find what books are copyrighted and what books are not copyrighted.
The American publishers beg you gentlemen to consider the fact that everything in the way of living in the United States is based on the American method of living; in other words, we live here very much better than they live in Europe, and the reason we live here better than they live in Europe is that we have more money to spend and the reason we have more money to spend is that our labor is paid better. The result is that the average American has more money to spend for books than any other nationality in the world.
I should like to say just one more thing. In the preparation of this bill, the publishers' committee worked hand in hand with the Authors's League. They have also worked hand in hand with the American Federation of Labor. The American Federation of Labor have given up some important things in order that the United States should join the international union, believing that, in the long run, the value of entering this union will overcome any losses they will or may sustain.
I thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. There is a roll call in the House and ex-Governor Burchard, from Rhode Island, wanted to talk five minutes. Therefore, we will take a recess until 4.30, at which time we will resume the hearings.
(Whereupon, at 4.15 o'clock p. m., a recess was taken until 4 30 o'clock p. m., at which time the committee reassembled and the hearings were resumed.)
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order. Governor Burchard desires to be heard and we will hear him at this time.
STATEMENT OF HON. R. B. BURCHARD, PRESIDENT THE JOHN CHURCH CO.
Mr. BURCHARD. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am just a bird of passage through the city to-day, and I stopped over and asked if I might speak to you a minute or two on some of the many bills before you. I find there are a voluminous lot of bills already pending on the important subject of the author and composer on the one hand and the publisher and distributer on the other.
There was a teacher in a school who was expounding the law of gravitation-how we should all fly off into space if it were not for the law of gravitation-and after he had concluded, one bright little boy said, "How did the people stay on the earth before that law was passed." [Laughter.] And I should like to ask a question of our fellow publishers, "How, in the name of the Almighty, have the publishers been able to stay on earth since the iniquitous copyright Îaw of 1909 was passed?
Congressmen are presumed to be wise and generally are. I have the greatest respect for a man who is so much thought of by his constituents as to be sent here to represent them, and Congressmen are pretty wise men, taking them all through. But they sometimes make mistakes, and in 1909, in the rush of things at the end of the session, things were put into the copyright bills which I beg and implore you to look at as sensible men and take out now.
It would ill become me, gentlemen, to preach to you, who are lawyers and business men, about our rights under the Constitution of the United States. You know what they are, and I rely, not on any transitory act of Congress but upon a full discussion of this law and ample thought about it, and I beg you gentlemen to steer by the compass course of two provisions in the Constitution of the United States. I have been informed by wise lawyers in New York that if we took this question-for instance, a little side issue of making a price on a record that must be paid to us by the record maker-to the Supreme Court, that provision would be invalidated, as an absolute variance from the rights given us by the Constitution. I do not know that the record question is up to-day, but I only mention that as incidental and as typical of the several things in this proposed law.
The record man-the Victor man, the Brunswick man, or any other man-may call in a great singer like Caruso or a great player like Paderewski, and he may negotiate with him for any amount of money for making a musical record; and you all know that Mr. Caruso, in his lifetime, made hundreds of thousands of dollars by singing into mechanical machines, and Paderewski has done the same thing by his marvelous playing. But under the copyright act, as it stands now, the owner of a copyright and the owner of a mechanical musical reproducer can not negotiate and make general terms, but he must be paid a fixed rate, the rate of a postage stamp, 2 cents on every record, no matter whether it is a record by Caruso or "Little Annie Rooney" or a jazz record-it is the same thing.
Gentlemen, the Constitution of the United States states two things: Congress shall not pass any law which impairs the right of private contract. You know that. Does not that impair the right of private contract? Again, the Constitution, in one of its fundamental clauses, says that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. Was it due process of law for Congress to fix a rate for our property? These things are specific and are typical, and all I have to say now is a word of general caution, if I may be permitted to call it caution, to you people who know much more about it than I do, to beg you, for your own sakes, for the integrity of the United States laws, not to write into your statute
a law which is manifestly unconstitutional and which we afterwards will have the privilege of taking into the United States Supreme Court and breaking. No judge likes to have his decision reversed; no Congressman likes to write a law which afterwards may be canceled by the courts, and I beg you, gentlemen, when you consider these property rights of ours, respect our rights.
I have read in the headlines of papers and I have a pocket full of clippings "Music Trust." There is no music trust. The only trust that we have is a trust in Congress and the Almighty that we may have proper laws, and in the public, that we may make reasonable profits. The people who get the profits in our business are the composers. You want to protect the composers. So do we. The doing away with the double term of copyright and sustituting one long term will be advantageous to all. I know of one typical case in my business, that of a man who died a great many years ago after writing some of the most popular airs that have been sung and played throughout this country and now radiographed. He came to us in poverty. His wife told me recently, "At that time my husband made me employ a servant when I should have done the work myself; he ordered wine for the table when we did not have the money with which to pay for it, and ordered a horse and carriage to go to the concert when we should have walked." Further she said, "When he died we had nothing but a mass of debts." We, with other publishers, pay her now in royalties on her husband's compositions enough for her to live in comfort approaching luxury. Under a crazy clause in the present act, any contract made in the first 28 years is null and void, and although we had contracts with that composer entered into by himself before he died, and subsequently with the guardians of his children and his widow, assigning to us that music at certain royalty prices, the widow came in at the end of 28 years, relying on your illegal law, and said, "Every contract we wrote at that time is illegal." And we had to lie down and submit to that old provision to an enormous extent in order to get that lady to rewrite the assignment for the second 28 years. These are things that are not fair. We have submitted to them, but if we are strong enough, if we make money enough, I do not think the publishers will submit to any new thing of that kind. These publishers have lain down for the last 28 years like St. Bernards and Collies and submitted to these laws. It is true they are big St. Bernards and mighty fine Collies, but they did lie down and submit.
Gentlemen, justice is in your hearts and the scales are in your hands, and I only beg you now, on general principles, that you will keep those two provisions of the Constitution in mind and will not write anything into the law that will deprive us of the right of private contract with the composers and the same thing applies to publishers in regard to authors and the same all the way through, and I urge that you will not permit outsiders to come in and take rights for reproducing mechanically and pay nothing for them.
I thank you for your attention and hope I have not intruded.
Mr. BURCHARD. Certainly. I may not be able to answer it.