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exceptions made in the Perkins bill. But the exceptions are all in his own bill and the act of 1909, not in the Perkins bill, which in one sentence merely provides for exclusion of piratical copies, and, if the publisher so elects, of legitimate foreign reprints of American works as well. That is all. The exceptions in the Vestal bill have puzzled me as much as the major, though I heartily applaud them. I have wondered and often asked in vain why the Library of Congress, under his brother's direction, is exempt, while his alma mater is not. Surely the institution which harbors the Copyright Office ought to be the first to exemplify sound copyright practice. It is more understandable that one with defective vision should feel for the blind. Their raised texts are all too few to be blocked or retarded. But why favor European travelers, the buyers of whole libraries, and those content with newspapers and magazines, while denying the impecunious student at home the ready acquisition of his needed texts? What gives the German book the precedence over one in English, and, above all, why is the motion-picture industry assigned the seat from which they propose to oust the colleges and universities, after a century and a third of occupancy?
In one particular the critic is right. The Perkins bill does allow the trade to import for sale an English original reprinted here. This accords with continental but not British practice, and changes the existing law. While the register is right in theory, we are willing to yield that point, since the trade is not fighting for it, and claim only the right to import single copies for use.
Here, too, we are glad to cooperate toward ending an abuse alleged-in that stool pigeons of booksellers are said to import for stock under the use provision. The persons we have in mind, of course, are the scholars and scientists, who are generally connected with the institution always heretofore recognized by Congress in both tariff and copyright legislation. Let us, then, if we must have the last dollar, confine the privilege to the libraries, the institutions, and their members. And yet I am ashamed when I think of the unattached Burbanks and #disons and the pure scientists in industrial laboratories.
The writer concludes his indictment No. 7 with the assertion that “if the Perkins bill should become law, the only person who is prohibited from importing copies of the trans-Atlantic edition of copyrighted work is the person who is the owner of the copyright, the publisher.” The gentleman has his targets mixed. The offending provision is not in the Perkins bill but in his own, following the lead of the present law. As already seen, anyone, including the publisher of the American reprint, is free under H. R. 5841 to import foreign originals. [He means foreign originals in this case when he speaks of trans-Atlantic editions of copyrighted works, for he has already correctly stated that both bills bar foreign reprints of American works.] The Vestal bill, however, denies the trade the privilege of importing foreign originals in English if there is an American reprint, and gives the reprinter such privilege only in so far as he is filling a definite order from an institution or person entitled to a single copy. He can not stock from abroad. The printers saw to that in this case as in the present law. They said the monopoly sought in British books was of dubious value, but if given it must be
conditioned on American manufacture, as under the act of 1909 American copyright in an English work was so conditioned. If the reprinter and the bookseller, whether or not his stool pigeon, could import the original, the manufacturing clause would be flouted. That is the reason why the owner of the American copyright is, in the Vestal bill, refused the original, but he is not the only one in the trade who meets the same refusal. The Perkins bill treats both better, though, as already said, we are willing to cancel the favor if they insist.
Sections 8 and 9 of the circular under review explain that the English original can be easily secured through the American reprinter, while the more important works desired by educational institutions can not in any way be interfered with, if the Vestal bill should become law. Let us test this alleged ease of operation. American subscriptions to the Berne Convention validates for the United States all the outstanding copyrights in the countries making up the International Copyright Union, and therefore gives to the American reprinter the desired monopoly in the importation of British originals for the full extent of the American copyright term both backward and forward.
Mr. Bloom. Mr. Chairman, just a second. Are you going to argue this, addressing yourself to this letter, or are you just trying to get this on record ? What is the idea; are you going to debate things in there! Are you going to give us your explanation of these things, or do you just want to get it in the record ?
Mr. RANEY. I am doing it as I go along. I wanted to make it as brief as I could.
Mr. BLOOM. We have all got that.
Mr. RANEY. American subscription to the Berne Convention validates for the United States all the outstanding copyrights in the countries making up the International Copyright Union, and therefore gives to the American reprinter the desired monopoly in the importation of British originals for the full extent of the American copyright term both backward and forward; that is, to a possible 56 years in the past, and forward to 50 years after the author's death. In all this stretch, one could not safely order a book old or new from an English list without first ascertaining whether there had been an American edition, and this only the Copyright Office would know. The same information would have to be had by the customs officials when the book reached port. But a Treasury official, quoting the New York appraiser, plainly said that this could not be done, when a similar proposal was made 18 years ago. Ten times as many books arrived in a day as could be looked up for copyright. The best that could be done was to detain specific shipments warned of. Take a concrete case. Here is the catalogue of the publications of E. P. Dutton & Co., the head of which is the president of the National Association of Book Publishers. The list is alphabetical, and mixed in are several hundred British titles. But which are which, and which of the
British are reprinted, and which are imported without reprinting, there is no indication. And, incidentally, when I had a representative call upon this firm and ask to mark in the margin clearly those that were British, and indicate which were reprints and which were imported, they declined to divulge the information, but said that they rarely did reprint. My only way, therefore, of finding out what I must order from Dutton is to inquire of the Copyright Office. Economically, it is of very distinct importance that I know, as I shall show a little later. It is altogether true of the works desired by that clientele for whom the present plea is made, that a-negligible percentage would be found to have been reprinted. But the inquiry would have to be made for all, to be safe. There would be the maximum of annoyance to institutions and libraries, with the minimum of gain to the publishers. The scheme is altogether impracticable, and the game is not worth the candle.
The tenth and eleventh sections allege discriminatory treatment against British authors under the Perkins bill, which might prevent our admission into the International Copyright Union and be accounted a violation of treaty with Great Britain. The quotation from Doctor Röthlisberger given above disposes of the first bugaboo. As for the second, we are not violating our treaty with Great Britain now, and all we ask is a continuance of the present condition so far as importation goes. At present one who writes in English must print on both sides of the water if he is going to get copyright protection on both sides. It is the fault of our manufacturing clause, but the equation is complete. What we require of them they, in turn, require of us. At present, again, under a mixture of copyright and private contract, the British publishers keep out of England foreign editions brought in for sale or hire if there is domestic copyright. Importation for use is conceded, but not much resorted to. We ask merely the same law, and shall quite inevitably come to the same practice if our American publishers will but adopt a very simple precaution—that is, equalize prices on the two sides of the Atlantic, and not touch a British work if they are going to raise the price. That they fail to do in the overwhelming majority of cases. I mentioned Dutton's catalogue above. In it are 20 known British series containing about 1,200 volumes. The average list price on this 20 series is 70 per cent above the London prices. From the list price a library would get a discount of 10 per cent in most cases, or a maximum of 20 per cent. Most of these are probably importations, but the importations and the reprints are mixed in with the purely American books in one alphabet. The trap is prettily set for the purchaser who, endeavoring to obey the law, would, because he saw an English title in Dutton's list, order it from them. In the far greater number of instances he would be badly bitten. Macmillan's arrangement is franker. The importations are put in one list, the American prints and reprints in another. They each amount to about 4,000. Some time ago I had occasion to check the New York and London prices of Macmillan's importations here and found them running at over $0.38 to the shilling at a time when the shilling was worth $0.19. A casual checking of a few titles handled by another prominent firm actually showed $0.46 to the shilling. Major Putnam is always citing his experience with the Cambridge History of English Literature, but he is very canny in his omissions. This is a great reference work of 14 volumes, which it took from 1906 to 1916 to issue. There was not the slightest economic excuse for sinking $30,000 in reprinting this edition, which naturally would have almost its sole sale among libraries. For this purpose the original British edition was quite sufficient. Whatever chance he might have had to succeed he sacrificed by blundering on the price he charged. He claims his is a better edition, and now sells considerably below the London price. He fails to tell you that this has come only recently to be true. When the work was announced and going through the press the American price set for subscribers was $2.25 a volume, English price $1.85. The libraries naturally bought from England and left him to hold the bag. He has raged over their lack of patriotism ever since, and consequently has left no stone unturned to get a law that would force us to his house. The English edition has been a success, as is indicated by the fact that several of the volumes are now in reimpression. The change in their relative price recently is probably a courteous effort to aid the Putnam house in disposing of its stock.
Mr. Bloom. How long ago was that, that they asked about the prices?
Mr. RANEY. What part?
Mr. BLOOM. You just said the English price was $1.85 and the American price was $2.25 a volume. How long ago did that take place?
Mr. RANEY. This work was in course of publication from 1906 to 1916. That deviation in price has continued from the beginning of the publication down to these three or four years.
Mr. BLOOM. It started in 1906 ?
Mr. RANEY. That was the time of issue. It was a subscription work, running through 10 years. Naturally the libraries bought when the thing started, so as not to have the bill come upon them all at one time. During that period of publication there was this difference of price.
Mr. Bloom. Is there any other publication that you know of that meets with that situation? The reason I ask is that I have heard about that incident so many times, that I would like to know something else that happened similar to that, with such a variance of price.
Mr. RANEY. There are numbers of them. We have not got the cotalogues here.
Mr. Bloom. Why is it that we have had that case mentioned over and over again?
Mr. RANEY. Because Major Putnam always cites that case. That is the only book he brought here, and laid on this table.
Mr. BLOOM. He started it?
Mr. Raney. With such pitfalls before them, who can blame the librarian who adopts the rule of thumb in buying his British books abroad? He but rarely loses by it; he nearly always gains by it. If the publishers will but equalize the London and New York prices, it takes no assurance of mine for them to know that we shall flock
į to their counters. I could name American publishers who do so
with striking success, and it is a pleasure to testify to the fact that the Putnams find it possible to sell their American publications in London at New York prices. If, when they make their arrangements with British publishers, to handle books on the two sides of the water, they prescribe that the prices shall be equal except for duty and transportation, they will require no law to get our trade, but their way will be as easy as Tauchnitz finds his in Germany, or the British publishers theirs in London.
I confess I fail to see the point of sections 12 and 13, in which the writer speaks of the sharply increased competition which American publishers will, with our entry into the International Copyright Union, have to meet at the hands of English publishers. He says it will leave in the hands of English publishers the control of many works by English authors which heretofore have come into the hands of American publishers. Which means to say that, since the British will not have to reprint here to get American copyright, they will print at home. Aside from the fact that a negligible percentage of them do reprint here, since they rely upon American honor rather than upon American law, and upon the economic fact that, in most cases, reprinting would not pay, the writer overlooks the fact that by our entering the union the American author will escape the same necesity of double publication, and thereby get protection all over Europe and the British Empire. The advantage ought to be ours entirely, and the publisher hardly needs what actually amounts to a private subsidy to keep going under the new conditions.
Sections 14, 15, 16, and 17 point out the alleged advantage to the American readers, and the book-manufacturing interests to encourage American publishers in making investments in American editions of English works, particularly the books of larger compass planned especially for the needs of libraries. Yes; reprinting does make two jobs grow where one grew before, but the public pays for both. , The same thing would happen if a newspaper stopped its presses
in the middle of an edition and sent copy back for resetting before the rest of the edition was run off. The needless American plates for the Encyclopædia Brittannica cost $200,000. Patently, the economical procedure is to manufacture here the entire edition of an American work, and dispatch stock abroad, bound or unbound, for sale in Europe, and in turn to have the entire edition of a British work manufactured there, and then, in order to lower the duty, ship it over in sheets to be stitched and bound here. The American publisher can then put in his title page and give the desired “swank” to his cover, and sell without the slightest difficulty, if he does the patently just thing to the public and insists upon an equalization of price.
Mr. Bloom. What is your definition of “swank"?
Mr. RANEY. I am quoting the gentlemen who were here last week. I do not know what they mean by it; but I say they can get what they call swank
Mr. BLOOM. What is your definition of it?
Mr. RANEY. I have no definition for it. They say they want to get “swank,” and it is apparently gotten in the cover. I say they can get it in this way. What it means you will have to ask them.