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President Roosevelt's message, 1905

Meantime President Roosevelt, in his annual message of December 5, 1905, to the Fifty-ninth Congress, had made strong recommendations in favor of copyright reform: “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 twelve 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 investigations, 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."

It was arranged that the two Committees on Pa- Congrestents of the Senate and House should hold joint sional hearsessions for public hearings on the copyright bill,

ings, 1906-08 and these hearings were held in the Senate reading room in the Library of Congress, the first June 6 to 9, 1906, the second December 7 to II, 1906, the third March 26 to 28, 1908, of each of which full stenographic reports were printed for the Committees. At the first hearing the discussions were largely on the general principles of copyright and their special application to the right of musical composers to control mechanical reproduction of their works. Amendments proposed at this hearing were printed by the Copyright Office in two parts, and a third or supplementary part gave the comment of the Bar Associations' Committees. Register Solberg also printed as preliminary to the second hearing the copyright bill compared with copyright statutes then in force, and earlier United States enactments.

In 1907, at the second session of the Fifty-ninth KittredgeCongress, the copyright measure was introduced by Currier reSenator Kittredge January 29, 1907 (Senate bill 8190), ports, 1907 accompanied later by the majority report, February 5, 1907 (Senate report' 6187), and a minority report, February 7, 1907 (Senate report 6187; part 2); and by Chairman Currier January 29, 1907 (H. R. bill 25133), accompanied later by the majority report, January 30, 1907 (H.R.report 7083), and by a minority report, March 2, 1907 (H. R. report 7083, part 2). No action was taken at this session.

At the first session of the Sixtieth Congress, Senator Smoot, who had become Chairman of the Patents Committee on the retirement from it of Senator Kit

Smoot tredge, introduced a majority bill December 16, 1907 Currier,

(Senate bill 2499), and Senator Kittredge a minority KittredgeBarchfeld

bill December 18, 1907 (Senate bill 2900); and in the bills, 1907-08 House, Chairman Currier introduced the majority bill

December 2, 1907 (H. R. bill 243), and A. J. Barchfeld the minority bill January 6, 1908 (H. R. bill 11794). The Smoot-Currier bills, practically identical, were less favorable to authors, particularly in respect to mechanical reproductions of music, than the Kittredge-Barchfeld bills; and in a pamphlet “The copyright bills in comparison and compromise," prepared by R. R. Bowker in behalf of the American (Authors) Copyright League in March, 1908, the features of the several measures were compared and the views of the Copyright League set forth in a combined measure, with annotations. The "canned music" question, indeed, absorbed most of the time at the third hearing, in the stenographic report of which

a combined index to the several hearings was printed. Washburn,

After the hearings, other bills were introduced into Sulzer, Mc- the first session of the Sixtieth Congress by C. G. Call, Currier Washburn May 4, 1908 (H. R. bill 21592), more fully bills, 1908

representing authors' views; by Wm. Sulzer May 12, 1908 (H. R. bills 21984, 22071), embodying views of dramatic authors; by S. W. McCall May 12, 1908 (H. R. bill 22098), embodying an amendment to the manufacturing clause as phrased by the American (Authors) Copyright League, excepting from the manufacturing provision “the original text of a foreign work in a language other than English," and by Chairman Currier May 12, 1908 (H. R. bill 22183). But again no action was taken at this session.

At the short (second) session of the Sixtieth Congress the copyright bills were reintroduced in the House by Mr. Barchfeld December 19, 1908 (H. R. bill 24782), by Mr. Sulzer January 5, 1909 (H. R. bill

25162), by Mr. Washburn January 15, 1909 (H. R. Fourth Conbill 26282). On January 20, 1909, a fourth public gressional

hearing, 1909 hearing, specifically on “common law rights as applied to copyright," was given by the Copyright Subcommittee of the House Committee on Patents, to which had been referred the preparation of a final draft, which hearing was reported with the inclusion of a communication of Arthur Steuart, Esq., Chairman of the Copyright Committee of the American Bar Association, giving a careful analysis of the several common law rights possible as to copyright property. After this hearing there were further reintroductions of copyright bills by Mr. Washburn January 28, 1909 (H. R. bill 27310), by Chairman Currier February 15, 1909 (H. R. bill 28192), and in the Senate by Senator Smoot February 22, 1909 (Senate bill 9440).

The Currier bill was referred to the Committee of Passage of the Whole February 22, when a report (H. R. report act of March 2222) was presented. On February 26, amendments 4. 1909 were agreed to by the House Committee on Patents; on March 2 the bill had a further reading, and on March 3 was briefly discussed and passed by the House. Senator Smoot had reported to the Senate March 1, 1909, with a report from the Committee (Senate report 1108), and on March 3 the bill as passed by the House was brought before the Senate, briefly discussed, and passed. The exact votes were not recorded.

It had scarcely been hoped at the beginning of Approval by 1909 by the friends of copyright that the act could President

Roosevelt be passed during the short session, but the

energy

of Chairman Currier, complemented by Senator Smoot in the Senate, carried the bills through, and on March 4, the last day of the administration of President Roosevelt, himself an author of distinction and mem

Code of 1909

ber of the Authors Club, he had the satisfaction of signing, as one of his last acts, a copyright bill completely codifying the law of copyright and greatly broadening international copyright. The copyright code, as in force July 1, 1909, is printed with an index and with the regulations adopted by the U. S. Supreme Court, as Copyright Office Bulletin 14.

The code of 1909 made the manufacturing clause more drastic, though freeing photographs from its provisions, by requiring in the case of books, periodicals, lithographs and photo-engravings that they should be completely manufactured within the United States, including printing and binding as well as typesetting, with requirement of affidavit from printer or publisher in the case of books; but made on the other hand a further approach to complete international copyright in freeing from the manufacturing clause "the original text of a book of foreign origin in a language or languages other than English,” thus relieving a difficult situation which threatened retaliation and the rupture of copyright relations by Germany and other countries, and in extending protection to mechanical music reproductions on a reciprocal basis. The hopes of the friends of copyright will not, however, be fully realized until the manufacturing clause, with the affidavit provision, is repealed, and the United States enabled by Congress to join the family of civilized nations as a signatory power in the Berlin convention.

Hopes of future progress

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