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TO AMEND THE COPYRIGHT ACT

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7, 1926

CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES, COMMITTEES ON PATENTS OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Washington, D. C. The committee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 9.30 o'clock a. m., in room 412, Senate Office Building, Senator William M. Butler (chairman) presiding.

Present: Senators Butler (chairman), Metcalf, Shipstead, and Dill; and Representatives Vestal, Bloom, Bowles, Lanham, McLeod, Wefald, Esterly, Goodwin, and Underwood.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. Mr. Klugh, you may present your first witness.

Mr. KLUGH. Mr. Chairman, the first witness this morning will be Mr. Hanson, representing the American Newspaper Publishers Association.

STATEMENT OF ELISHA HANSON,

502 ALBEE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D. C., REPRESENTING THE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION, 270 MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK CITY

Mr. HANSON. Mr. Chairman, my name is Elisha Hanson; address, 502 Albee Building, Washington, D. C. I am speaking for the American Newspaper Publishers Association, which has its headquarters at 270 Madison Avenue, New York.

The American Newspaper Publishers Association is a corporation which includes in its membership something like 550 publishers of daily newspapers throughout the United States. The membership includes all of the great metropolitan dailies, and it also includes representative daily newspapers in all of the 48 States of the Union, including both large and small.

It is absolutely a nonprofit organization. It acts, not in the interest of any individual newspaper, but only when the association as a whole takes a position which it believes to be the proper one to take in public matters affecting the newspaper business generally.

At the present time somewhere between 90 and 100 newspapers in the United States either operate their own broadcasting stations or arrange for time on stations operated by other parties. Ever since radio became a public service and that is what the newspaper publishers regard it-the publishers have been very much interested in the development of radio so far as radio may have an effect on their

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business, and also so far as radio may affect the public service which they feel they render in their business capacity.

They have three grounds for interest in radio and, of course, in the bill which is pending before you. The first ground is the possible effect, if any, which radio may have on the publishing business, either beneficial or detrimental. The second ground is the possibility of combining radio with the publishing business in the dissemination of news, advertising, and entertainment. The third ground, which they regard as the most important, is the public service which newspapers may render by supplementing their ordinary service by furnishing either news, educational matter, or entertainment over the radio.

During the last two or three years the publishers have been compelled to deal with the American society, with which this committee is familiar. The publishers do not object to dealing with any representative body of authors or others who have material to sell them, but they feel very earnestly that in this matter of broadcasting music over the radio not only is their interest not protected by this society, but the public's interest, which is so vital, is not protected.

The American society does not in its agreement with the publishers offer them 100 per cent protection against infringement of the copyright law, and that is the main reason why the publishers of daily newspapers would like to have this committee arrive at some equitable basis so that the man who possesses a copyright and receives that copyright from the Government, for the benefit of the public, may return to the public a consideration for the rights which the public have conferred upon him.

Representative BLOOм. Let me ask you a question, please right there. You say the publishers that are interested. Are you speaking for the 550 publishers whom you represent generally, or are you speaking for the 90 who have broadcasting stations?

Mr. HANSON. I am authorized to speak for the association as a whole, which has directed me to make this appearance.

Representative BLOOM. Then the 550 members of the American Newspaper Publishers Association approve this bill the way it stands?

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Mr. HANSON. They approve of the purpose of this bill, although there may be details of this bill which they would not approve. am merely speaking of the purpose of the bill, which is to permit the broadcasting of music, and music only on a basis which the Congress may regard as fair to the public, in return for the right which the Congress gives to the owner of the copyright.

Representative ВLOOм. Do you approve of the bill the way it stands to-day? That is, does your association approve it?

Mr. HANSON. There are some features of the bill which I shall not go into now that I think our association would not approve of. Representative BLOOM. Mr. Chairman, I think it would be very interesting to know what his association does and what it does not approve of.

The CHAIRMAN. It probably will be, but I think the committee would prefer to have him proceed now with his statement.

Representative BLOOM. But he says he does not want to go into

that.

Mr. HANSON. I am perfectly willing to go into it.

Representative BLOOм. And since we are on the bill, I think we should take that up.

The CHAIRMAN. I think we should let the witness proceed, Mr. Bloom, as he desires, and then when he gets through we will ask him such questions as we desire to ask.

Mr. HANSON. As I say, I expect to make only a very brief statement. The newspaper publishers who are interested in this matter of broadcasting and as I understand it, the bill before you deals only with the broadcasting of music-would like to have full protection, so that when they put their programs on they shall know exactly what their responsibility is and they believe that the protection which they seek is not only a protect for them, but for the general public.

They are not so much interested in the actual price which is fixed by Congress per piece for the numbers which are rendered over the radio as they are in having Congress fix a price for such numbers are permitted by the owners of the copyright to be broadcast over the radio. In other words, if a copyright owner does not want his music broadcast, there will be no effort on the part of the newspaper broadcasters to compel him to give that privilege. But if he does permit it to be broadcast, they think that in return for the benefit which the public confers on him in giving him a copyright the Congress should protect the public so that they may know in advance what they will have to pay for that broadcasting.

Representative BLOOM. Do you not think that should apply to everything that is published in a newspaper and that is copyrighted. If they syndicate articles by Frank Crane, Arthur Brisbane, or anyone else, if the broadcaster should pay for the privilege of broadcasting them, don't you think that at the same time we ought to put a price on them-put a price on everything?

Mr. HANSON. Well, my dear Congressman, this bill does not deal with news which is copyrighted in the newspaper, and your question is entirely foreign to the subject before the committee. But if we come down to your question, this bill reserves to the owner of the copyright the right to refuse the privilege of broadcasting. The present copyright law reserves to the owner of a copyright of a newspaper, a magazine, or a book, the right to permit the use of that copyrighted material as he sees fit. Now, if your music publisher or music writer refuses to give the right to broadcast he need worry not at all about this bill. And if the newspaper refuses to give the right to broadcast its copyrighted articles it is in the same position that the music publisher is in.

Representative BLOOM. Yes; but let us put a price on it so that if the publisher does give the right to anyone, everyone should have it, at that price. In other words, why not broaden the bill to include newspapers and copyrighted articles, syndicated articles, and everything else? Why pick out the music publisher? You are representing 550 newspapers. Why not make it broad? Why not give everyone the same right?

Mr. HANSON. I do not think the newspapers of the United States would have the slightest objection, in the event Congress should see fit to put a provision in this bill fixing a price on their news at which every broadcaster could broadcast it, provided the newspaper itself authorized the broadcasting thereof.

Representative BLOOM. But supposing that Fannie Hurst, who copyrighted an article herself, objected to that, what right would the newspaper have?

Mr. HANSON. Fannie Hurst would have the privilege of permitting the broadcasting of it, or of declining to permit it to be broadcast. Representative BLOOM. Why not make the bill so broad that it will cover everything?

Mr. HANSON. I have no objection

Representative BLOOM. You are speaking for these 550 newspapers, and that is the thing they would like to have done?

Mr. HANSON. I would have no objection, and I am sure they would have no objection.

Representative BLOOM. But you answer for the 550 newspapers in your association that they would like to have the same thing apply to everything in writing or in print the same as in music?

Mr. HANSON. With the privilege that this bill gives to the music composers, that if they refuse to have the music broadcast it shall not be broadcast. This bill does not compel the broadcasting of music where the writer or the owner of the copryight declines to have it broadcast.

Now, the American Newspaper Publishers Association is not coming in here trying to get something with one hand and trying to hold back something with the other. If this Congress should see fit to enact a provision for the broadcasting of news, or for the broadcasting of literary material, and to give to the owner of the copyright the privilege of withholding the right to broadcast, I do not think, in fact I know

Representative BLOOM. And fixing a price?

Mr. HANSON. Yes, fixing a price.

Representative BLOOM. Congress fixing a price on everything? Mr. HANSON. Fix your price.

Representative BLOOM. On everything?

Mr. HANSON. Fix your price if you want to, and we will have no objection, because we ask nothing for ourselves that we would not concede to the other person. As the newspaper publishers see it, the whole proposition is wound up in this one paragraph which gives to the owner of the copyright the privilege of refusing to have his material broadcast if he feels that it will injure him to have it done. Representative BLOOM. Mr. Chairman, would the committee want to go into this question of the right to refuse now?

The CHAIRMAN. I am sure the committee would prefer to have him make a statement, and then we will go into these other matters. Representative MCLEOD. I should like to ask a question there. Is it not a fact, Mr. Hanson, that this legislation pertains to a specific class, the composers and publishers of music?

Mr. HANSON. As I understand it, this legislation affects only music. Representative MCLEOD. And therefore it is, in that sense, class legislation?

Mr. HANSON. Not at all, because this legislation is an amendment to the copyright law and it deals only with the provisions relating to mechanical reproduction. That is already in the copyright law. Representative MCLEOD. Other than the composer and the publisher of music, whom else does it classify?

Mr. HANSON. No one that I know of.

Representative MCLEOD. And therefore in that sense, I say, it is class legislation?

Mr. HANSON. It is not class legislation any more than any other legislation.

Mr. MCLEOD. Then it is classified. Put it that way.

The CHAIRMAN. This proposed bill is drawn on almost exactly the lines of existing legislation

Mr. HANSON. That is true.

The CHAIRMAN. The act of 1909, with reference to the mechanical reproduction of music by means of phonograph records, etc.

Representative BLOOM. Mr. Chairman, may I state that it is not exactly the same. It is just the contrary.

The CHAIRMAN. I said almost.

Representative BLOOM. No; it is just the contrary.

The CHAIRMAN. Well, I think we can discuss that matter at some other time.

Representative BLOOM. That is what I want to take up with the gentleman. This is just contrary to the other law.

Mr. HANSON. As we see it, this merely extends, or revises, or amends, or whatever you want to call it, those provisions of the law of 1909 regarding the mechanical reproduction of music.

I am sorry we differ, Congressman. As I say, the newspaper publishers, because of their contact with the public, want full protection for themselves and, through themselves, for the public, so that where music is permitted to be broadcast protection will be given to all. And that is all that they desire. They ask nó particular privilege for themselves that they are not willing to grant to other people.

Representative BLOOM. You say this law and this bill are the same. Let me point out to you wherein the bill is entirely different, in my opinion. This bill says that the owner of the copyright upon copyrighting may reserve the right to broadcast and shall give notice in the Copyright Office?

Mr. HANSON. Yes.

Representative ВLOOм. Now, is not that just contrary to the present law?

Mr. HANSON. I really do not know whether it is or not. I assume not. Read the law, will you, please, and then we will know.

Representative BLOOM. I thought you knew the law; that is why I was asking the question. I am waiting here for somebody who is supposed to know the law. There is no use going into it with you If you want me to tell you about it I

unless you do know the law. shall be glad to do so.

The present law says that you do not have to file anything unless you want to give the right for people to make reproductions on mechanical instruments. That is right, isn't it?

Mr. HANSON. Yes.

Representative BLOOM. They may reserve the right to themselves? That is the present law?

Mr. HANSON. And now this law, as you say, says that they must reserve a right against broadcasting.

Representative BLOOM. Yes; immediately-immediately. In other

words

Mr. HANSON. Well, that is a small matter, Mr. Congressman. Representative ВLOOм. Oh, no; I say that is a big matter.

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