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TO AMEND THE COPYRIGHT ACT
MONDAY, APRIL 5, 1926
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,
COMMITTEES ON PATENTS OF THE
UNITED STATES SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C.
The committees met, pursuant to call, at 10 o'clock a. m., in room 412, Senate Office Building, Senator William M. Butler (presiding.) Present: Senators Butler (chairman), Ernst, Smith, Broussard, Dill, and Shipstead; and Representatives Vestal, Perkins, Esterly, Goodwin, Bowles, Lanham, Bloom, and Underwood.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. mittee meeting is called for the purpose of having a hearing on two bills, one introduced by Senator Dill, S. 2328, which is entitled "A bill to amend section 1 of an act entitled 'An act to amend and consolidate the acts respecting copyright,' approved March 4, 1909, as amended, etc." And also another bill which I understand is identical, H. R. 10353, introduced by Representative Vestal.
We will proceed as ordinarily in the case with such hearings as this, and ask those who are in favor of these bills to introduce the subject which they desire to speak of.
But before proceeding in that way I would ask Senator Dill to address the committee in order to set forth the provisions of his bill and make such statements as he desires.
STATEMENT OF HON. C. C. DILL, A SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
Senator DILL. Mr. Chairman, I have no special statement to make, other than I wanted to say a few words in explanation of the reasons for this bill. A year and a half or two years ago, at the last session of Congress, I introduced a bill, S. 2600, which dealt with the same subject matter, in an entirely different way. That bill proposed to free radio broadcasters from paying any charges on copyrighted music for its use over the radio, on the theory that the radio was not being run for profit. Conditions have widely changed in the radio world, and without going into any discussion of what those changes are in detail, it is sufficient to say that at that time practically no radio broadcasting station was selling time, or making very large profits; whatever profits they made were so intangible that it could not be computed. At the present time a large number of the radio stations are selling time for profit and undoubtedly copyrights on music and everything else that is used is subject to some charge. I introduced this bill because I wanted to bring to the attention of
the country and Congress that there should be some analogy between the use of copyrighted music for broadcasting by radio, as there is a charge made for its use on phonograph records.
Representative LANHAM. May I ask you a question there, Senator? Senator DILL. Certainly.
Representative LANHAM. I do not know as I got the analogy. As I understand on the phonograph record the composer is entitled to a small royalty, 2 cents on each record.
Senator DILL. Yes, sir.
Representative LANHAM. And I play that record in my home to a little circle of friends, and they get 2 cents on my record; and you play it in your home, and they get 2 cents on that record and 2 cents from Mr. Bloom's record here.
Now, when you apply that to the radio, numerous groups are hearing it all over the country. Do you think they should pay in each group, as in the talking-machine record, or is the radio to pay as one machine?
Senator DILL. Each performance by the radio becomes a performance for profit, especially when time is sold. Under the present law they have a right to charge that profit, and they are charging various prices. And there is very great confusion. The music is put on and withdrawn; and while it is not identical, as you set out, it is giving the copyright owner a greater power than they have under the phonograph record.
Representative LANHAM. It is not intended to restrict to the radio performance the charge for a single record?
Senator DILL. No; they would pay it if they use the music. I have not put in the amount you notice.
Representative LANHAM. No; but I notice you specify cents rather than dollars.
Senator DILL. No; but I will leave that to the committee. This committee had hearings about a year ago and had some information on that subject.
I have no apology for having changed my mind. It is said that a wise man changes his mind, and the man who does not change his mind has no mind to change. I think the whole situation has changed in the radio world.
I think that is sufficient preliminary statement, Mr. Chairman. The CHAIRMAN. The Chair will call attention to the statement originally made, that those who are in favor of the bill are at liberty to proceed.
Senator DILL. I think Mr. Klugh, representing the broadcasters' association, wants to be heard.
STATEMENT OF PAUL B. KLUGH, REPRESENTING THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS, NEW YORK CITY
Mr. KLUGH. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, my name is Paul B. Klugh, representing the National Association of Broadcasters, a nonprofit-making organization having as members radio stations located in all parts of the United States and totaling in membership approximately 200 members, and consisting of both large and small stations.
Mr. Chairman, in order to expedite this hearing we have made a suggestion here for the program for the proponents of the bill, and having discussed this program with those who intend to speak, the intention is to limit the thing so that it will come to a conclusion as rapidly as possible; and with your permission at my conclusion I would like to suggest the speakers who will appear after me.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well.
Mr. KLUGH. I would also like to say to members of the committee that reports have reached us that a great many letters and some telegrams have come in to the committee members from listeners representing the public and undoubtedly the large number of those letters would cause members of this committee some embarrassment if they were called upon to answer each communication individually. In fact, I have been told that it would be physically impossible to do it, and for that reason I am authorized by the members of our association to say to this committee that we will be very glad to call the attention of those listeners who have written to members of this committee to the fact that their communications have been received; that they have been received in such numbers that it is not feasible to answer them individually, and to assure the listeners that they have been received and that they are being given consideration, and through this method, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, attempting to relieve you of any embarrassment that may result from the quantity of letters and telegrams that you have received.
Representative BLOOM. Mr. Klugh, were you surprised about the number of letters received, or was it your intention when you broadcasted to get as many letters and telegrams to the members of the committee as you possibly could get?
Mr. KLUGH. Regarding the surprise, Congressman, I do not know how many have been received. In the absence of that knowledgeThe CHAIRMAN (interposing). I will say that the chairman has received somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000.
Representative BLOOM. Well, was this a surprise to you that the response was so great, or did you do it to get this number of responses? Mr. KLUGH. We did not know what number of responses we would get.
Representative BLOOM. This speech that you just now delivered, it was practically the same as you delivered two years ago, lacking one day, on April 4, 1924, you made the same statement, in substance, that you are making now, so that it must be that you knew that the response would be so great and naturally embarrass the members of the committee that they could not answer them. You made the same statement two years ago and offered to broadcast a reply in general for the members of the committee; that is a fact, is it not? Mr. KLUGH. Yes.
Representative BLOOM. Then you knew and did it, as you did two years ago, that all of those letters would embarrass the committee. It is impossible to answer them. I have had two people opening the letters we received. So do you think it is fair to place the Members of the Senate and House in the same embarrassing position that you did two years ago? And then you are supposed to broadcast. And how can you broadcast to our people who have not heard the statement here?