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But, after all, that is a mere bagatelle, which would hurt nobody one way or the other, because I think it is probably true that even if the privilege were refused the American publisher would not often stand in the way of these inquirers getting these foreign reprints.
The other section, however, is of very great importance. There the requirement is that if there is a reprint of any foreign work gotten out in the United States, then while you are not prohibited from acquiring the original, you must acquire it through the American reprinter.
Now, you will recall the fact that by our entrance into the International Copyright Union, the copyright is retroactive; the provision is retroactive. All foreign copyrights within the International Copyright Union become operative in the United States.
Therefore, in case of the desire to acquire an original, which you may have learned about from reading a notice which is before you in a secondhand catalogue or a review, or whatnot—that has a period possibly operative for the past 56 years—that is the length of our present term in which you must make the inquiry and ascertain definitely whether there is an American reprint before you can proceed with safety to order that copy. As the act carries a term of 50 years after the author's death there is a wide range in there of the applicability of this necessity for inquiring before you could gain possession of the copy of the book of which you received a notice.
Now, how would that be brought about? How would you get your information if you wanted to acquire it? They say that is available in the catalogues of the Copyright Office.
Well, there are 12 of those issued per year; and they are not cumulative. Twenty years ago, in the testimony on much this same point, a representative of the Treasury Department stated that it was a physical impossibility-quoting a letter from the appraiser in the New York customhouse for that office to examine copyright entries; and that right on his desk that day there were 1,000 books to be examined ; and it would take one man 10 days to make the examinations. He said that it was a physical impossibility for the New York customhouse to make the inquiry of the Copyright Office as to the entries in their catalogue, which would be his only source of information.
Mr. PERKINS. This is quite technical. May I ask this question? Suppose you wanted to import a book that you found a notice of in a catalogue. What would you do? Suppose you sent an order for it. Would it not be up to the person who claimed some right against you to stop it?
Mr. RANEY. He would not know that I had made the order
Mr. PERKINS. Well, you do not risk anything very much. If it is a question of examination of records for 50 years back, as to whether there had been a print in this country, would it not be up to the person who had made the print here to make the objection?
Mr. RANEY. If I wanted to be safe I would have to make the inquiry. And that inquiry would have to be made at the Copyright
Office. If I do not make the inquiry, and I assume that probably there is not an American reprint, and I proceed to give the order, then, before the book is admitted, these two inquiries must be made by the customhouse: First, they must ascertain whether there has been an American reprint. They have not either the records or the time to make the inquiries themselves, according to their testimony in connection with the 1909 act. So they would have to get that from the Copyright Office.
Shall they write to the Copyright OfficeIf they do not write to the Copyright Office, then, apparently the Copyright Office will be under the necessity of looking up a card catalogue, kept up to date, in all the customhouses and post offices, of taking out cards when the aditions have gone out of print or when the copyrights have expired, and of adding new ones daily showing the new books that have been copyrighted. And how is that kind of record going to be kept up backward and forward?
And then the second inquiry that would have to be made after they found out that there is an American reprint, would be whether that reprint is still in stock. That can be found out, of course, only by inquiry of the publisher, because the publisher has not the right to prevent that coming in unless he still has the book in stock.
Mr. Bloom. Well, following along the line of what Mr. Perkins said, you have a way of finding out the foreign publisher; that is correct, is it not? You must have some way of finding out who the foreign publisher is, so that you can write to him?
Mr. RANEY. No; the point is this: We have before us a bibliography or a secondhand catalogue, or a journal review, and we see a specific title which interests us.
Mr. BLOOM. Yes.
Mr. RANEY. Now, the information may or may not contain the publisher's name.
Mr. Bloom. Well, where do you write abroad for those books?
Mr. Raney. The order is sent to the agent. It does not go to the publishers.
Mr. Bloom. You order from an agent?
Mr. Bloom. Well, could you not order in the same way from some agents over here? Some of these large publishing houses handle stocks of all books published? Is there not a way of finding out whether that book is published in this country or not that foreign book?
Mr. RANEY. There is not, except at the Copyright Office.
Mr. PERKINS. As a matter of actual practice, would not any man just order it and take the chances until somebody stopped him?
Mr. RANEY. Yes; but is that a position in which an educational institution should be put?
Mr. PERKINS. If I were to see a review of such a book that I wanted I would take a chance. Lawyers take more chances than that.
Mr. RANEY. But that is not treating education in the right way.
Mr. PERKINS. I mean, until evidence exists that it can not be imported, what is the objection to ordering it? I do not see any objection to that.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Raney, let me ask you one question that I think is a very pertinent one: Do you know of any one case of an American book that has been imported by an English library, where there was a good English edition, just simply because the American price was lower, or slightly different?
Mr. RANEY. I know nothing about what the English institutions do; but I think it is generally true of the institutions that I am familiar with—and they are the ones allowed under the British copyright act, like the Library of Congress in this country, to get a deposit of anything printed by virtue of the copyright act; those are the six most important libraries in the United Kingdom
Mr. BLOOM (interposing). I will say just this: That I have found just now that there is a great deal in what you say. I thought before that there was a way of finding that out. But I see now, Mr. Chairman, that it is almost impossible for the librarian to find out, according to the information that I have just received.
Mr. PERKINS. You got that de hors the record, did you not? ? [Laughter.] How did you find out!
Mr. BLOOM. I just asked one of the publishers. Mr. RANEY. I sent an inquiry to the director of the British Museum as to what, under the English statutes, he regarded as being his rights. He is the foremost librarian in the British Empire, Sir Frederick G. Kenyon. And he wrote me:
The answers to the questions asked in your letter of November 3, 1922, are as follows:
When an authorized edition of an American work has been published in England, we should not normally order a copy of the American edition. We are content with the English edition, which we receive gratis under the copyright act. If, however, there is reason to believe that the American edition would have a value of its own, we should feel at liberty to order a copy for the British Museum.
(2) We should feel at liberty to order an American edition under other conditions. In the case you supposed, it is the American book that we want, and a copy of the English book would not answer our purpose. We are, therefore, not buying what the English author has to sell.
(3) The purchases would be so rare that it is not likely they would be made, unless some special notation were attached to the volume, and the officials would have no means of knowing whether any authorized edition existed or not.
Now, there is one case that has often been cited as a parallel to this effort to control the importation of these originals that have been reprinted here; and that is a case referred to by Sir Frederick Kenyon in that letter—what are known as the Tauchnitz reprints. A German publisher named Tauchnitz, in Leipsic, has a long series of reprints, particularly of the British works, and to a certain extent of the American works, the sole printing rights for which in Germany are his; and he is under a contract with the British and the American publishers not to export back into the country of origin his reprints; and on most of the copies there is stamped in effect the statement that “ This German reprint can not go back to England or America.”
It is stated, and I have no doubt with accuracy, that something like this will happen to a person who is crossing the English Channel in a steamer and is reading one of these Tauchnitz reprints: A customs official will go aboard and ask him how far he has read in the volume. He will indicate how far he has read; and the part that has been read will be torn asunder and thrown into the water. He can keep the rest. It works out that way in practice, so that the copy is prohibited from coming in; that is, a foreign reprint could not come back into competition with the home product, which we will concede to be quite proper.
Now, I wrote to Tauchnitz to find out how it worked the other way; whether he had any control of, or whether there was any inhibition in the German.copyright act against the importing of the British and American originals into Germany. His answers are very specific
Mr. BLOOM (interposing). Well, how would you want to amend this, then, Mr. Raney? What is your suggestion as to this bill ?
Mr. RANEY. May I not read that statement! I will summarize it. The statement of this German publisher was that there was nothing in either the British or the German copyright act that prevented the free entry, for the use or sale by anybody, the trade, individuals, or an institution, of the British or American book into Germany. It did not have to come in by his consent; it did not have to come in through his own channels.
In 1922 Switzerland put a further copyright statute on its books; and under that, which is the latest of the copyright statutes, and one adopted at the very seat of the union in which we are seeking membership, there was enacted provision for free movement, going and coming, of all authorized copies. That was an exceedingly courageous thing for Switzerland and its publishers to concede. Just think of the difference between the Swiss franc and the French franc and the Italian lira—the French franc right on their border being worth about 31/2 cents, and the Italian lira being about the same figure. They still allow under their law, if there are two of these editions printed, the one in Switzerland built up on an 18-cent, full-value franc, and the French reprint built upon a 312-cent franc, free course for both. The French reprint has free access into Switzerland and may be sold there in competition with the Swiss copy.
Now, of course, what actually happens, is that the reprint does not get issued, because the competition would be suicidal. So that it works both ways.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, Mr. Raney, I am only speaking for myself, but I believe there is no member of this committee that would want to do anything that would compel the libraries of this country to have to pay an exorbitant price for their books in the library. But with the provisions in this bill that the American manufacturer will furnish these books at the same price that the libraries can obtain them for from foreign countries, does not that protect the library in every way possible, and at the same time protect the American manufacturer of books, and the American labor ?
Mr. RANEY. It protects them so far as the actual money spent for the book is concerned. But the difficulty is the procedure.
The CHAIRMAN. The only objection that you have in mind, then, is that you would rather have in your libraries a book published in England, or in some foreign country, than to have a book published by the American publishers?
Mr. Raney. In general, the original will be preferred. The orig. inal is provided for acquisition under the measure at the original price. But the procedure under which it is to be secured is one that would prove impossible for the Government to manipulate, or for us to comply with.
And we simply ask, therefore, that the existing law continue, which will give the libraries and individuals the continued rightas they have always had from 1790 to date—to import for use and not for sale or hire, a single copy of the authorized foreign original.
Mr. Bloom. Let me ask you this question: Was the provision put in the bill in this way, on account of some differences with the American Federation of Labor? Did they exact some provision of this kind, so as to say that they would be willing to enter into the Berne convention?
Mr. RANEY. Well, you will have to ask the Authors' League about that.
Mr. BLOOM. No; I thought at the time there was something said by the American Federation of Labor, about protecting the manufacturer of printed books in this country. Do you not think that they have to be considered?
Mr. RANEY. You will have to ask the Authors' League that has had dealings with them as to what those dealings were. They favor the bill as drawn.
Mr. Bloom. But were you not there at the meeting? I think you were there at the time we took that up with the American Federation of Labor ?
Mr. RANEY. I have been at several meetings. Does it not answer the question to say that they favor the measure as drawn?
Mr. Bloom. Yes; that is the way it was done. The American Federation of Labor said that they would agree with the provisions in the way they are in here.
Mr. RANEY. Well, now, here is the main point there: The original proposal of the publishers was that they should have the control of importation, when a foreign work was brought into American territory; that is, without regard to whether or not it was manufactured here. They might bring in, under such a proviso-- I could quote to you the text of the resolution on that subject, which has been published in the Publishers' Weekly—the foreign sheets, stitch them together, bind them, and put their own title page on them, and so get this control.
Now, the American Federation of Labor said this to the publishers; here is Mr. Woll's testimony at the last hearing:
The book publisher tells you he wishes a certain section added in this bill. That matter was considered by us. Frankly stated, it is that the American book publisher wants the exclusive sales agency of the work, the copyright work of a foreign author; and, of course, he presented to us many reasons why the printing trades should favor such an amendement.
There is a question of doubt as to whether there is anything to be gained by that, but we say that if the American book publisher is to be given an exclusive sales privilege in the United States, if the sales market is to be given to one man or to one concern, then we say that the sales exploited in that exclusive market, the work must be produced under American conditions and the American wage earner shall profit by such an exclusive arrangement.
That is, they say to the publisher, “We will not agree to let you have the exclusive right to sell an English work in this market unless you agree that we shall remake that book here."