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had no idea that the word would be susceptible of the application that has been suggested.
Mr. CURRIER. I merely make the suggestion, because no one need argue that before the committee.
Mr. WELLMAN. Then I can omit that, sir. I wanted to speak of the duration of copyrights, which relate to libraries as well as to the public; of the omission of the date in the notice of the copyright; and particularly of the importation clauses, both as regards the individual and as regards the libraries.
Mr. McGAVIN. What sections of the bill are those ? Mr. WELLMAN. Section 18, subsection C; section 14, and section 30, subsection E.
The LIBRARIAN. It would be well to deal with the importation first, although not in order, Mr. Wellman.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Wellman, are you a practicing lawyer?
Mr. WELLMAN. I am librarian of the city library in Springfield. I have no legal knowledge.
The CHAIRMAN. Some of the questions which you suggest involve legal questions, do they not? Mr. WELLMAN. Possibly.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me suggest that to-morrow morning, we expect to have Mr. Porterfield and also Mr. Steuart present just the questions which you are now suggesting; and let me suggest that you confine what you have to say now to the question of the libraries pure and simple, and then, if you are here to-morrow morning and listen to those gentlemen, perhaps you will not desire to discuss those questions.
Mr. WELLMAN. Very well, sir. Then I will take up the question of the importing.
The CHAIRMAN. I wish you to understand that we desire you to discuss the question of importation by the libraries.
Mr. WELLMAX. I shall be glad to do that.
The CHAIRMAN. And in the discussion of that question we think that ten minutes is ample.
Mr. WELLMAN. I should like, then, to answer the question of the gentleman who said “Why did we not control the action of the executive committee of the American Library Association?” I should like to say, in the first place, that the delegates of the American Library Association were at first appointed informally, the appointments being afterwards confirmed by the association after the delegates had been at the conference. I should like to say that the delegates do not represent the overwhelming sentiment of the association, as Doctor Steiner showed you. You ask why we could not control them. There are various
In the first place, you know how difficult it is in an association that includes a membership from Canada to the South and from the East to the West, to manage an association which is in the hands of an executive board. This is an executive board of five. One member was the delegate who is here, the president of the association. Another member is secretary or recorder, and is connected with various publishing interests. The executive board acted previous to the action of the council of the American Library Association. I attended the first meeting of the council of the American
prietor of the copyright to get something more for his book than he would get if he did not have any copyright.
Mr. WELLMAN. And he secures that whether the book is brought from abroad or not, if it is an authorized edition.
Mr. CURRIER. Exactly.
Senator Smoot. You say the proprietor of the copyright sells to the libraries cheaper than he will to the public?
Mr. WELLMAN. The English proprietor?
Mr. WELLMAN. The American proprietor sells for 10 per cent less on ordinary net-price books.
Senator Smoot. But you made the statement that by importation of the English edition the American edition is sold to vou cheaper, and if that is the case he must sell at more than 10 per cent discount, if that is the regular price.
Mr. WELLMAN. That is not generally the case; but the American price is fixed with regard to the price that is fixed in England.
Senator Smoot. For the libraries and for the public generally?
Mr. WELLMAN. Both; yes. And I should like to say that I believe it is an attempt, to a considerable extent, to squeeze more money out of the public libraries, which have become a profitable field. When the net-price system was put into operation five years ago, the discount at which dealers might sell to libraries was absolutely limited to 10 per cent, with a threat to cut off the supply of any dealer who would sell for less. My booksellers in Springfield both told me that they could well afford to sell for less, and one agreed to do so, and he was warned by the American Publishers' Association that if he did so his supply of books would be entirely cut off and he would be put out of business.
Mr. CURRIER. So far as the libraries are concerned, would they suffer very much if they were held down to the importation of one book in any one invoice?
Mr. WELLMAN. No; that would be a minor consideration.
Mr. CURRIER. Do you care anything about the clause there in reference to importation for individual use?
Mr. WELLMAN. I do; not from the library standpoint, but from the standpoint of the general public. I think it is heathenish to say that a man shall not get an edition of an English author. I think a book lover has some consideration. Protect the American market by whatever duty you think is right. It is now, I believe, 25 per cent. Make it 100 per cent if necessary, but do not make it impossible. It is hampering education in this country. The editions differ in various ways. I know of an edition issued by Little-Brown on such wretched clay paper that the title-page broke and fell out before we could catalogue it. I can imagine the reply I would get if I wrote to the pub
. lisher, the copyright proprietor, “ Your book is such a wretched one that I humbly beseech your permission to import a copy from England.” His reply would be, * Why, we regret it very much, but the invariable rule," etc.
Mr. CURRIER. That was imported for the library, was it not?
Mr. WELLMAN. No; I am talking now of individuals. We could pot import it for a library either under this clause.
Senator Smoot. That is the only class of edition that they issue?
Mr. WELLMAN. That is the only edition that was issued. And I want to speak about this price that was fixed up by the net-price system. was claimed afterwards that it was necessary to increase the price to the public about 10 per cent; that everything else had gone up-food, and so on—and why should not books go up? That probably was reasonable. Now, if the price to the public was increased 10 per cent, I could show you by definite figures, which I have published, that the price to libraries was increased 19 per cent. In other words, they have squeezed out from this new and profitable field an extra 9 per cent over what would prevail under ordinary conditions of competition.
The CHAIRMAN. Your time has expired.
Mr. GILL. Mr. Wellman, I would like to ask you a question. You say that the price to the libraries is 10 per cent less than to the public?
Mr. WELLMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. WELLMAN. The American Publishers’ Association agree to put out of business any man who dares to allow a library, no matter how large its purchases, more than 10 per cent on their new net publications--protected net publications.
Mr. GILL. Where do you get that information from, Mr. Wellman?
Mr. WELLMAN. I get that information from the Publishers' Weekly. It is common information, sir. Everybody knows it. My bookseller was threatened with having his supply cut off entirely.
Mr. Gill. Cut off by the publishers ?
Mr. WELLMAN. By the American Publishers' Association—that they would not sell to any middleman, or to him directly, or to any middleman who would supply him, if he allowed the Library, which was purchasing $10,000 worth of books, more than 10 per cent.
Mr. GILL. You understand, then, that there is a combination on the part of publishers to destroy any seller of books who does not comply with their regulations?
Mr. WELLMAN. I certainly do, sir; absolutely, sir.
Mr. GILL. That is somewhat similar to the plan of the tobacco trust, is it not? Mr. WELLMAN. I should
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM P. CUTTER, ESQ., OF THE FORBES
LIBRARY, NORTHAMPTON, MASS. Mr. CUTTER. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committees, I will, with your permission, preface my remarks by a quotation:
What we need is not vainly to try to prevent all combinations, but to secure such rigorous and adequate control and supervision of the combinations as to prevent their injuring the public, or existing in such form as inevitably to threaten injury, for the mere fact that a combination has secured practically
complete control of a necessary of life would under any circumstances show that such combination was to be presumed to be adverse to the public interest. (From the annual message of the President of the United States, December 4, 1906.)
I hope to be able to show you, gentlemen, that there exists a combination which has secured practically complete control of a necessary of life, and that this bill is especially designed to make this control absolute, and that such control is adverse to the public interest.
The combination to which I refer is that existing between the American Publishers' Association and the American Booksellers' Association, organized to monopolize the market for copyrighted books. That this combination existed on July 11, 1905, is evidenced by the opinion of Justice Ray in the case of Bobbs-Merrill v. Strauss (Fed. Rep. 139, p. 155) in which the existence of such a combination is acknowledged to exist by both parties to the suit. That it existed on May 15, 1906, is evidenced by the report of the secretary of the American Booksellers' Association, printed in the “Publishers' Weekly," the organ of the American Publishers' Association, in the issue for May 19, 1906. At the risk of tiring the members of the committee, I will read this report.
The year which closes on May 15, 1906, has been a most successful one for the American Booksellers' Association. The net system is firmly established and working smoothly in all parts of the country. Protection has the support of practically every bookseller, and the large department stores are standing loyally for one price and a fair profit.
During the past year we have received many letters from dealers, all asking that we do something in the direction of a better price on fiction, and it seems to me that this convention should bend its efforts toward a $1.20 price on fiction. The question of a two-year limit should also receive careful consideration,
The number of dealers who are supporting the net system by paying their annual dues is not as large as it should be. The work should not fall upon a few. It should be borne by all, and steps should be taken by this convention toward securing the material support of every bookseller in the country.
Taking it all in all we have had a good year. The future is bright, and the full strength of this association should be thrown toward a $1.20 price on fiction.
HARRY F. DAVIS, Secretary. Later at the same meeting the following letter was read: HARRY F. DAVIS,
Secretary American Booksellers' Association. DEAR SIR: At a meeting of the booksellers of New York, held on Thursday, last, Mr. Simon Brentano presiding, it was moved and seconded that the American Publishers' Association be requested to publish fiction at net prices. I was authorized to communicate this resolution to your association, that you might know the feeling of the New York trade on this subject. Yours very truly,
E. S. FORHAM, Secretary. NEW YORK, May 12, 1906.
In the account of the session (I am still quoting from the Publishers' Weekly) occurs these words:
The discussion of the question of net fiction was resumed, the result of the discussion being that a committee composed of H. B. Burrows, W. B. Clarke, Clarence E. Wolcott, Alexander Hill, and Harry F. Davis was appointed to meet a committee of the American Publishers' Association to take action jointly as to the ways and means of carrying out the recommendations of the committee.
In addition, the following resolutions were passed unanimously:
Whereas the members of the American Booksellers' Association, now in sixth annual convention assembled, recognize and appreciate the interest displayed by the American Publishers' Association toward the betterment of the condition existing in the book trade of the United States: Now therefore, be it
Resolved, That we request the members of the American Publishers' Association to issue in the future all works of fiction on the net-price plan, and would suggest $1.20 net as the price on books that would under the existing plan be issued at $1.50 list, and a similar proportionate net price be made on such works of fiction as would ordinarily be listed at $1 or $1.25.
Where the publishers and booksellers of the United States organized two membership associations, one known as the American Publishers' Association, and the other known as the American Booksellers' Association, and together controlled the publication and sale of at least 90 per cent of all copyrighted books, the objects of which were to compel owners and dealers of such books to purchase them of the members of the combination at an arbitrary price fixed by it, regardless of the actual value of the books as determined by a demand in the open market, or the condition of the books, and to compel all publishers and dealers of such books to come into the combination, be controlled by it, and sell books at prices fixed by it, regardless of the values of the books, or of the exigencies of the trade and situation of the seller, or be deprived of the privilege of purchasing, owning, and selling such books, through a system of blacklisting, etc., the effect of which would be to cripple the business of any publisher or bookseller outside of the combination, such agreement was a violation of the Sherman antitrust law (act Cong. July 2, 1890, chap. 647, 26 Stat. L., 209) declaring that every contract, combination in the form of a trust or otherwise, or conspiracy in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States is illegal.
I suggest, gentlemen of the committees, that in subsection (a) of section 1 of the bill there be omitted the words “ for the purposes set forth in subsection (b) hereof,” and that subsection (b) be omitted from the bill.
I might say that fiction now sells to the public at $1.08. The $1.20 would be, as you see, 12 cents more to the public. It would be 8 cents or 9 cents more to the public libraries.
Mr. McGavix. Is that done by agreement between these parties? Mr. CUTTER. Yes, sir.
Mr. CURRIER. Why do you not call that to the attention of the district attorney?
Mr. CUTTER. We have been so busy in presenting this matter to the committee that we have not had time.
Mr. CURRIER. The trouble is that the committee can hardly reach a combination of that kind.
Mr. CUTTER. The committee is, however, in a position to prevent the passage of a law which will make an illegal action legal; and that is what is proposed. Mr. CURRIER. Well, the committee would be very glad if you
would point out what section of this bill you refer to.
Mr. CUTTER. Yes-subsection B, the first section of the bill which was referred to before.
Senator SMOOT. That is as to the sale?
Mr. CUTTER. It places a limitation on the sale; not only the original sale, but every time the book is sold after it is published.
Mr. CURRIER. You do not suppose this committee intend to deprive a man of the absolute ownership of a book he buys, do you?