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As to that other point of being able to sue the dealer, that is absolutely necessary. There is an innocent infringement clause that protects them. We should have that right. The law simply says the infringer in art is the person who gets it out, who does the picture or staue; or, in some cases, the publisher is considered an infringer. That is about as near
as they ever get. Mr. Bloom. The Imporium, in San Francisco, is a very large store, is it not?
Miss HUNT. Yes, sir.
Mr. Bloom. Could not this party have gotten out an injunction against them?
Miss HUNT. No; because, first, she would have had to get hold of the people; she would have had to find this Italian art company to do it.
Mr. Bloom. She does not have to get hold of anybody; could not she ask for an injunction to prevent the Imporium selling those ?
Miss Hunt. No; not until she has had a long law suit and proved that it is an infringement; because every one to whom she went said, “Miss Albro, that is not an infringement, because it has been changed.” I have been told over and over and over again by the dealers, etc., and the attorneys, I could not do anything, because the thing had been taken and changed slightly. It is very easy to take a picture or statue and change it slightly, as you see they have done with this picture of Maxfield Parrish's. You saw one there. They refused to give an injunction to Rankin & Newnan, publishers, who brought suit against the dealers.
Mr. Bloom. By the way, are you going to give each of us one of the pictures, so that we can study it carefully?
Miss HUNT. I think Rankin & Newman would send you one, because I rather think you would get your indignation up if you had one and saw a cheap imitation around the corner. You would see you had been done, if you had given it to a friend as a present. Art is all for its beauty, for its sacredness, for its artistic conception. They do not buy it for its use.
Mr. Bloom. You claim the way the bill is worded
Miss Hunt (interposing). It is an invitation to infringement. It does not give us protection. Another thing, since 1909, we have numerous methods of cheap reproduction which we did not have then, and, within the last five years, color production has come out, and it is simply wonderful. We did not have that 10 years ago, so that we have all that to adjust ourselves to. And you must remember photography killed us 65 years ago; it simply slew us and simply left us on the ragged edge financially. The American Art Bureau and the American Federation of Arts, which includes all the big museums, including the Metropolitan Museum, in New York, represent an enormous amount of money, but the artists themselves, of course, do not get the money. The authors and musicians get the money. Still, what are you going to do if they crowd us off ? We have to have your help to make a living, and one of our principal sources of making a living is through the dealers, and that is the source now that is shut off from us; at least, it is damaged badly.
I think that is all it is necessary for me to say.
Mr. OSBORNE. Miss Mechlin, on this very point, who is the secretary of the Art Federation of America, wants to be heard for just about three minutes on this same point. She is an authorized representative. STATEMENT OF MISS LEILA MECHLIN, SECRETARY OF THE
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF ARTS Miss MECHLIN. I am secretary of the American Federation of Arts. I represent 400 art associations in this country, practically all of the art museums and associations. I was authorized, last week, at a meeting of our board of directors, to appear before this committee, with your permission, to express unqualified approval of the Vestal bill, in so far as it gives adequate protection to the creative arts, and also to approve, in general, an amendment which would give more complete protection to the artists, not from actual imitations but from the near imitations. The wording of that amendment, we are very glad to leave in the hands of the legal committee which has the bill under consideration.
I would supplement by a word what Miss Hunt has said in regard to the near imitation à protection which the artists have needed sorely for a long time. For instance, I wish to show you a painting by Miss Celia Bow, which was purchased by the Toledo Art Museum some years ago, published in the official organ of the American Federation of Arts, and copyrighted. Some years later that is, only last year–I came across this as an advertisement for a chocalate firm, published in the advertising pages of Country Life in America. You will see there is a striking resemblance, but it is not absolutely the same; because in this case she holds a candy box in her lap; while, in the other case, her hands are empty. In that case, I wrote immediately to the candy manufacturers. They referred me, with great concern, to the advertising agent that they had employed. He referred me to the art firm, those who were making advertising drawings, and they referred me to the artist, and the artist said that it was a strange coincidence that he and Miss Bow had thought of the same thing in the same way. That same thing has happened in regard to the painting of Mr. John Alexander, the late John Alexander, one of our most distinguished artists. His picture, owned by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, representing a young woman on an upholstered seat by the window; a mattress factory has reproduced that and is using it as an advertisement for their mattresses.
There is no redress afforded by the present law for anything of that kind, because it is not an exact reproduction, an exact imitation. Now, I leave it to you entirely, in view of the facts brought before you, that there is need of some regulation, some statute, that would bring to justice the deliberate infringer who cleverly evades the law by a slight change, but obviously makes money from the products of some one else's brain. The wording of that, we do not presume to offer; but we do urge upon you the consideration of that point.
I thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand Mr. Phillips desired to be heard at this time so that he may be able to get home.
STATEMENT OF J. D. PHILLIPS, REPRESENTING HOUGHTON,
MIFFLIN & CO., BOSTON, MASS. Mr. Phillips. I represent Houghton, Mifflin & Co., of Boston, both general publishers and school and college textbook publishers. I suppose our house is the best known by the fact we were the original authorized publishers of Lowell, Longfellow, Whittier, Emerson, Holmes, and Irving; in fact, the great majority of the classic American list. We are not members of the National Association of Publishers; we are not members of any organization. We are on our own.
There is one body of publishers which has not been represented here to-day at all, and that is the publishers of American school and college textbooks. That is the largest publishing interest in this country. I suppose more school and college textbooks are printed and distributed than any other type of books in America, and Mr. Melcher, knowing I was not a member of the association, asked me to come down here and say a word about that part of our business. It is a very important part of our business; perhaps the most important part among some other important features of it, and he asked me what bearing this copyright bill would have on our house as regards the textbook side as well as the other side.
Now, I want to say here that our house is strongly in favor of the Vestal bill. We believe that the very important thing which that bill contributes is a strengthening of the fundamental principles of the copyright. In the first place, it takes up a number of things along the different lines, of course, which Major Putnam spoke of this morning. He knows more about copyrights in a minute than I know in a year. On the other hand, he has not had the experience of the textbook side, because the public mind does not run in that direction.
Now, in the 1909 bill, as you know, we had the difficulty of the renewal term not going to the original author in case he died before the termination of the original 28 years; by which I mean the renewal term was in the hands of his heirs and they might or might not employ the original publisher, regardless of whether the original author had signed a renewal contract or had not. That has been straightened out in this bill. It was also straightened out in the Perkins bill. But that is a fundamental thing. It is as fundamental for the author as it is for the publisher. In fact, I think it is very much more fundamental for the author, because when an author did not know whether he was going to own the second 28 years or not, he could not sell it. It all depended on whether he was living at the end of the 28 years. That was a very vital point for the school and college textbook publishers. School and college textbooks have a more permanent life than the ordinary trade books. They go on and on. Some of them go on under contracts.
Assuming that one of those contracts, such as you have in the various States in the Union, came up in the twenty-fifth year of the first copyright period. The contract is a five-year contract. Then and there you have to make an arrangement with the author for the second period. The author can not make it, because if he dies in the next three years somebody else owns that copyright for that period. Now, there is really only one thing you can do, and that is to drop
that book and take up some other one. That is not to the advantage of the author.
Now, this whole question of straightening out the period into one 50-year period is undoubtedly immensely to the advantage of the author, and it is undoubtedly also immensely to the advantage of the publisher. Contrary to some ideas, I think the publisher is usually the author's best friend; sometimes the author's dearest enemy. But, still, usually the publisher is his best friend-intends to be.
Now, the next question which I have appreciated, particularly about this bill, was that it made an obvious attempt to clear up the formalities in regard to copyrights. A great many copyrights have been lost through technicalities. If the author is entitled to the work, he ought not to be deprived of it because somebody has forgotten to put a date on the copyright entry on the back of the titlepage. It is not in the least their fault that mistake has been made and I am strongly in favor of doing away with the notice of copyright. I think it is not right that the author should be deprived of his or her rights in a book simply on account of errors in the formalities of the copyright registry, or on account of doing anything which is contrary to the technicalities of the registry. This bill has done away with that. That is a great advance, in my opinion.
The next question which it seems to me is of great value, and this is of great value to the textbook publishers, is our entrance into the International Copyright Union. Recently Ameria has gone out into foreign publishing fields more intensively than it ever did before. Under the old law we could, of course, copyright a book in England and in certain other countries also under certain arrangements; but it did not happen automatically. It is very difficult to tell, when you publish a little book, whether it is going to be worth while to copyright that in Norway, Sweden, Italy, France, Czechoslovakia, Japan, or China. In many cases the publisher assigns the rights of publication in English, but it is up to him or her to say what is going to be done with translations, and the author very rarely feels, usually, there is sufficient importance in the foreign translation to go after it. Only a little while ago we had very kindly sent to us from a Spanish-American country a beautiful complete translation from Fiske's History of the United States, which the publisher said he thought we would be very much interested to see. We were very much interested to see it but we have no way of obtaining any return for that book. A little while later we had sent to us a beautifully printed two-volume translation of the Chinese History of Philosophy, a beautiful job, a superb book. I am going to have it bound in vellum. I think it is a curiosity which I will try to preserve. We have no rights whatever; we shall not have any under the Vestal bill unfortunately, because China has no official copyright law which will bring her into the copyright union, but I have faith in the business integrity of the Chinese and I think in due time they will come in, and if we have copyright protection we will undoubtedly then have copyright protection in China. And China is a great book market for America a great book market.
Now, we have to go through devious and interesting methods to secure copyright to-day in England. One of the two ways is to
ship books up to Canada, under certain conditions, and pay the tax on their sale in Canada, and then they will in turn spread all over the British Empire, more or less of a sidetrack method; but it can be done quickly and promptly so that it is a great advantage. Now, we ought not to be forced in the interest of the author to do this sort of thing as long as here is an International Copyright Union, the American author should have the advantage of it. That is the thing I am very strongly in favor of in this bill. That is the great thing in the bill, that we enter into the International Copyright Union, and therefore American commerce is going to be able to extend its business in American books throughout the majority, if not the whole, of the civilized world.
There is another clause in this bill which has appealed to me very strongly and that is the validating of copyrights which for some accident or other may have been invalidated by some error in the copyright entries in the past. That it seems to me is an act of justice to American authors. I think it is something the American authors are entitled to. A great many authors begin when they are quite young and also they are very modest about their achievements and they do not take the legal precautions. Then what he turns out afterwards ad magnum opus is printed by the local country newspapers, and forever afterwards it is in the public domain.
Now, there are a great many things which have affected securing copyrights. I am not going to tell you any secrets here but the publishers of America, if they told all they knew about all the copyrights they own, people would be surprised at the faults which the publishers can see and do not talk about in the American copyrights, which have grown out of these technicalities.
Now, gentlemen, it is a very important matter to establish this basal question of literary rights. There is no reason why the author or the artist, the sculpturer, or anybody else, is not entitled to the work of their brains. You would not for a moment say that a man who built a boat did not own the boat. The only difference is that he owns it forever and ever and you limit the author to 50 years after his death. By that time, he probably won't care a great deal about it, so that I do not object to the term of the copyright. In fact, I think the term is all right.
These are the reasons, not only as general publishers, but as textbook publishers, I believe this Vestal bill is one of the best bills you can pass. Now I am all for general and not for special legislation. I do not believe in exceptions worked into any bill. I think the moment you begin to work in exceptions, you are on dangerous ground. You make one exception for the benefit of 1 person and you tread on 20 people's toes. And the moment you say that one particular class of literary rights shall be handled in one particular way, you throw the implication that the other 20 classes of literary rights are handled in some other way. Now I am asking for legislation in general terms.
There are one or two clauses in connection with registration which I think should receive very careful study. If you put in a clause that requires special legislation in one instance, I shall probably register every assignment that ever comes before Hough