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FRANK D. CURRIER, NEW HAMPSHIRE, Chairman.
CHARLES MCGAVIN, ILLINOIS.
WILLIAM SULZER, NEW YORK.
GEORGE S. LEGARE, SOUTH CAROLINA.
EDWIN Y. WEBB, NORTH CAROLINA.
ROBERT G. SOUTHALL, VIRGINIA.
EDWARD A. BARNEY, Clerk.
ARGUMENTS ON H. R. 19853, TO AMEND AND CONSOLIDATE
THE ACTS RESPECTING COPYRIGHT.
COMMITTEE ON PATENTS,
Wednesday, June 6, 1906. The committee met at 10 o'clock a. m., at the Senate reading rooni, Library of Congress, conjointly with the Senate Committee on Patents.
Present, Senators Kittredge (chairman), Clapp, Smoot, Foster, and Latimer; Representatives Currier (chairman), Bonynge, Campbell, Chaney, McGavin, Sulzer, and Webb.
The CHAIRMAN. We are met to consider Senate bill 6330, relative to the copyright law. We would like to hear first from Mr. Putnam regarding the history of the proposed legislation.
STATEMENT OF HERBERT PUTNAM, ESQ., LIBRARIAN OF
Mr. PUTNAM. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, the origin of this bill is indicated in the message of the President to Congress last December. The passage is brief; let me read it:
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 iinpose 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 investigation, 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.
So far the message. It did not contain what was the fact as to the origin of this project, that it did originate in an informal suggestion on the part of the chairman of this committee.
The conferences to which it refers were not open, public meetings; they were not conventions; they were conferences, and conferences