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Our request read as follows:
WASHINGTON, D. C., November 22, 1906. SIRS: The chairmen of the Committees on Patents of the Senate and House of Representatives have requested this office to announce that hearings upon the pending copyright bill will be resumed on December 7 and 8, 1906.
Like those in June last, they will be by the two committees, sitting conjointly, in the Senate reading room at the Library of Congress. They will presumably begin at 10.30 a. m.
As a large number of persons are likely to be interested, we trust that you will be able to give the widest publicity possible to this announcement.
Register of Copyrights. The AssOCIATED PRESS,
Evening Star Building, Washington, D. C. As published in certain papers, the notice named the committees as Committees on “Library” instead of Committees on Patents.
After the June hearings the office suggested to the chairmen of the two committees that under its duty to gather criticism and digest it, to get it into form for presentation to the committee and for its convenience, it would be desirable to have some published request from the committee that such criticism should be forwarded to the copyright office. Accordingly there was such a notice published in the following form. I don't seem to have it here at the moment. Yes, sir; it is here. It is as follows:
JUNE 20, 1906. "With reference to the status and prospects of the pending copyright bill the Librarian of Congress has issued the following statement:
“The hearings by the two Committees on Patents, sitting as a joint committee, which were begun on June 6 and concluded on June 9, were preliminary merely. The chairman of the House committee announced that his committee would be prepared to resume hearings after the first Monday in December. The Senate committee has authority to sit during the recess, but the chairman indicates that there is no possibility of any hearings during the summer, and no probability of hearings prior to the beginning of the next session. The Senate committee has passed the following resolution which it has instructed me to communicate as widely as possible to the public:
Pending further hearings upon the bill (S. 6330, H. R. 19854) the register of copyrights is requested to keep record of the discussion of its provisions, and to receive, in behalf of the committee as well as of the Copyright Office, suggestions for its amendment whether in form or substance, and to digest these, also, for convenient consideration by the committee.'
I desire to have that put in the record, Mr. Chairman. The CHAIRMAN. There are no objections. The LIBRARIAN. Our request to the Associated Press in the case of that notice, as in the case of the recent one, was that it should be given as wide publicity as possible.
Now, sir, all the letters, or rather communications, that have come to us since the June hearing were transcribed in duplicate, and a copy has gone to the chairman of the Senate committee and another copy to the chairman of the House committee. The originals are here, of course, for the committee's inspection if necessary. That transcript was brought down to last Monday.
The office has attempted, as at the outset I indicated, to tabulate the suggestions and criticisms received to date or otherwise noted, as well as to set forth against each particular section of the bill each amendment proposed. That attempt has been embodied in print in the form in which you have it, with addenda, and a supplementary addendum, which includes the variant provisions proposed by the substitute bill of Mr. Burton. Those criticisms also are thus avail
able, and the others will be made so, which are to be recorded in these present hearings.
What is not available for convenient aid in your consideration of the bill (I mean what has not been introduced to your particular attention) is the accumulated matter prior to May 31. At the hearings of June I did call your attention to the records of the conferences, in four volumes, and the sixteen volumes of correspondence and other communications relating to those conferences and to the bill. Of course these volumes are entirely accessible to the committee, but they were not introduced to your attention in any other way, and the bill was presented to you simply as a bill. But they are available if you have occasion to examine them at any time, or to consider them in the consideration of any particular question which you have occasion to look into, such as the discussion which preceded the adoption of a provision as set forth in the bill.
There is not yet available one body of suggestions that might be of considerable value to you; that is the comment and criticism of the newly, recently constituted committee of the American Bar Association. The original committee consisted of only three members Mr. Arthur Steuart, of Baltimore; Mr. Edmund Wetmore, of New York, and Mr. Frank F. Reed, of Chicago. That committee reported to the bar association at its recent annual meeting last summer and, as I recall, asked to be discharged. [Note by Mr. Putnam: “An error; the committee was continued and enlarged.”] A new committee was appointead, however, to continue, on behalf of the bar association, consideration of the pending bill and to report later. Of that committee, also, Mr. Steuart is chairman. The other members are Edward S. Rogers, of Chicago; Edmund Wetmore, of New York; Henry E. Randall, of St. Paul; Robert H. Parkinson, of Chicago; Antonio Knauth, of New York; William L. Putnam, of Boston; Frank P. Prichard, of Philadelphia, and A. Caperton Braxton of Richmond. Mr. Steuart informs me that he has not yet had an opportunity to have a meeting of that committee to consider the bill and submit to you its criticisms and suggestions as a committee. He wrote to each member of the committee, sending a copy of the bill and asking for offhand suggestions. He had hoped that the replies might be useful to you and had sent me copies of some of them. But he now writes me as follows:
In response to your request I desire to say that the printed copies of letters which I sent you a few days ago from the members of the copyright committee of the American Bar Association have been written by the members of the committee merely as a means of exchanging ideas between the members of the committee and to promote the thought and study of the members of the committee, so that they might know what each other was thinking about.
I have sent you these copies in order that you might be advised of what we are doing. After the careful and elaborate analysis of the criticisms of many persons upon the copyright bill, which have been made by your office and printed by you, was examined, and after hearing the arguments which have been presented to the committees of Congress which have the copyright bill under consideration, I have become convinced that the expressions of opinion made by the various members of my committee who have written letters to me are very immature and not sufficiently considered to justify submitting them to the members of the patent committees. I will at the earliest possible moment, however, urge upon the members of my committee to give to the subject as careful attention as they possibly can give, and we will then have a meeting, if possible, in Washington, at which meeting I shall be very glad to have you present, and formulate for the committee a single letter which we will be glad to submit to the patent committees.
As I recall it superficially the criticism, for the most part, is concentrated about a few provisions of the bill, particularly section 1 (b) and some others affecting "the nature and extent" of the right, the formalities requisite to secure it, the remedies and jurisdiction, and the clausės relating to importation. Something was offered as to term, but rather from the personal standpoint; and the copyright office feels that from the scientific standpoint the record might be more complete. We have printed off on this card the terms of copyright in the various countries of the world, arranged in the order of length, running from minimum to maximum. This form is for the convenience of the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir, we have seen that.
The LIBRARIAN. In answer to críticisms as to phraseology and other matters as to which the advisory committees of the bar associations might particularly be called upon to speak, you have had Mr. Steuart's own testimony here. You have not yet heard from Mr. Fuller, who is chairman of the advisory committee—the committee of the New York Bar Association. But as I indicated at a former session, Mr. Fuller is writing out his statement and it was your approval that it should go into the record.
Now, there are provisions in the bill as to which the copyright office offers, and will offer no opinion. The register may have an opinion; I may have one; but the office as such will offer none. But there are other provisions in the bill as to which the office as such must have an opinion an official opinion. Especially will this be the case as to three of the questions dealt with in the bill: The formalities, the term, and its own administration.
Upon the question of the formalities—what shall be necessary in order to secure copyright-the office can not but have an opinion, and of course if asked will express it. Upon the question of term the office can not avoid having an official opinion and expressing it. (Of course I do not mean to express it at this point. I am only indicating that it must exist.) And the third matter as to which the copyright office must have an opinion, because it is itself directly concerned, is the administrative section of the bill, which covers the administration of the office. So far as I recall there has been no particular criticism of that section except as to three provisions. The first is the provision that the register shall have authority to make rules and regulations, section 52:
That subject to the approval of the Librarian of Congress, the register of copyrights thall be authorized to make reasonable rules and regulations not inconsistent with she provisions of this act, for the conduct of proceedings with reference to the registration of claims to copyright as provided by this act: Provided, That no breach of such rules and regulations shall affect the validity of the copyright.
That provision has been criticised as vesting a quasi-judicial authority in the register and though the criticisms have not reached you I think they will be formulated and reach you.
Another criticism is as to the fee. The increase in the fee has been criticised.
The third is directed to the provision which authorizes the destruction of card indexes, from time to time, as the matter of those indexes in the office is reproduced in printed publications of the office.
Those are the three criticisms that so far as I recall particularly touch the section of the bill which refers to the administration of the copyright office. The last one was your suggestion, Mr. Low, I believe.
Mr. Low. It appears to me that card indexes are very valuable, and much easier to consult than the printed volumes successively printed, and that they should be preserved in any way possible.
The LIBRARIAN. That is the opinion of the copyright office; that so long as the card indexes did not become unwieldy they should be preserved. We recognize that in the library proper, where we maintain our catalogue in the card form and extend it indefinitely. On the other hand, the card indexes of the copyright may become so distended that it will not be practicable there, in connection with other administrative work, to justify the retention of them when the matter of them has appeared in available printed form. The provision, however, only authorizes destruction. It does not require it.
Mr. Low. I would suggest that they might be destroyed at any time when the whole body of matter contained in the index which is destroyed appears in one printed index. It is very difficult and takes a lot of time to go through successive volumes—that is to say, to analyze the printed indexes.
The LIBRARIAN. I think our ideas of what would be convenient and what would be safe would entirely coincide with yours; and I mentioned that as only one of the three details of criticism that had affected the provisions relating to the administration of the office.
I think it would be of concern to those who have addressed you, Mr. Chairman, to know whether they would be able to get at the record before it is printed. You intimated at the hearings in June that they might look at their remarks before they went into print. Am I permitted to say that now?
The CHAIRMAN. That is understood.
The LIBRARIAN. And the office will be glad to attend to the indexing of them, as it did for the Senate print in June.
I have nothing more, Mr. Chairman, which I feel now under obligation to submit.
The CHAIRMAN. As I understand, this concludes the public hearing and the matter is adjourned.