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American dictionaries, produced bona fide by American scholarship and American labor suffered from the competition and the result was in all probability a loss of employment for the printing trades as compared with what would have happened if, instead of the photographed British dictionary, a similar number of copies of an American dictionary has been sold.
Had the pending treaty been in force and, accordingly, copyright been accorded to the British dictionary, it would not have been copied and bona fide American dictionaries would presumably have been sold to its purchasers. For want of extension of adequate copyright protection to foreigners, in other words, for want of the pending convention, nearly 100,000 American homes have what must be considered, for their purposes, an utterly ridiculous dictionary (e. g., an aeroplane is defined as "a flying machine driven by a petrol engine") and the returns to labor resulting from its production has presumably been less than had 100,000 genuine American dictionaries been marketed. (See the Publishers' Weekly, September 28, 1940, p. 1334, November 9, 1940, p. 1834.)
Even more important reasons why American labor should advocate and press for American adherence to the copyright convention are set forth in a recent Senate document and hence need not be repeated here (see S. Doc. No. 99, 76th Cong., 1st sess., July 20, 1939, the Printing Industry and the Proposed Copyright Convention. Presented by Mr. Hayden).
It is important to remember that parts of the public seldom gain by what is to the detriment of the whole and seldom fail to gain by what upbuilds the general welfare and the general economy, All special interests might profitably to themselves as well as to the public interest consider this fact. Not often and not long is the impairment of the general welfare profitable to anyone. The great argument for the pending convention is that it is in the public interest that the United States adhere without further delay. But it seems also to be clearly in the interest of all of the special groups directly or indirectly involved.
(8) The President has sent this convention to the Senate with request for approval. The Department of State has at all times urged that favorable action be taken. The Department of Commerce has just reaffirmed its advocacy. The Librarian of Congress has given and continues to give his consistent support. The Office for Coordination of Commercial and Cultural Relations Between the American Republics adds powerful arguments from the point of view of new and vital policy. In short, all of the branches of the Government of the United States which are concerned with copyright are asking the Senate to approve the convention for the protection of literary and artistic works. They represent not special interests but the public interest.
Senator THOMAS of Utah. I believe that completes the list of witnesses, and concludes the hearing. I desire to thank all of you who have come to take part in these hearings.
(Whereupon, at 12:30 p. m., the hearings were concluded.)
The chairman ordered the following communications inserted in the record:
REPORT OF MAY FUTRELLE, NATIONAL CHAIRMAN OF COPYRIGHT, NATIONAL LEAGUE OF AMERICAN PEN WOMEN Madame President, and Members of the National League of American Pen Women:
At our biennial 2 years ago I announced to you that I had written and sponsored a copyright bill in the Congress and asked your support in getting this legislation effected. This support was unanimously given, and our incoming president, Audrey Wurdeman, appointed me national chairman of copyright.
I have now accomplished my purpose, and our bill, known as S. 547, was passed on March 4, and approved by the President March 15 (1940). It was the first bill signed by the President that day and is so recorded in the Congressional Record.
Our bill, S. 547, is an amendment to section 23 of the present Copyright Act, the renewal clause. Because of seven words in it authors were losing their right of 28 years' renewal privilege and their property was falling into the public domain. By deleting those seven words, "when such contribution shall be
separately registered," we can now control and sell our property for
term of 56 years.
We of the Boston branch deemed it proper to ask Senator H. C. Lodge, Jr., of Massachusetts, to introduce our bill in the Senate. Hon. Robert Luce of Brookline, Mass., was our choice to introduce the bill in the House. And I know you will join me in thanking them for the speedy passage of S. 547. Also we should thank Senator Bone of Washington State, chairman of the Senate Patents Committee, and Hon. Charles Kramer of California, chairman of the House Patents Committee, for their cooperation in the passage of S. 547. And I should like to extend our appreciation to the Congress and the President of the United States.
Personally I am grateful to our president, Audrey Wurdeman, for giving me the chance to do this important work. I am nappy to think it could be brought to a successful conclusion during her administration.
We now have need of a new Copyright Act. According to the Registrar of Copyrights, Col. C. L. Bouvé, in a letter to the Librarian of Congress last year, the present act passed in 1909 is out worn. We have found it to be archaic and inadequate.
Now that we have achieved the passage of S. 547 let us, the National League of American Pen Women, work for a new Copyright Act that will protect our literary property under present-day conditions. And let us ask the Senate of the United States to give immediate and unconditional approval to the Convention of Literary and Artistic Works.
National Chairman of Copyright, National League of American Pen Women, Boston Branch. APRIL 1940.
Whereas it is altogether just and proper that creative authorship should receive, in most generous measure, protection of copyright, as contemplated by the Constitution of the United States;
Whereas the Government of the United States is greatly handicapped in its effort to protect American authorship from literary piracy in other countries because the United States lacks sufficient treaty guarantees from other governments;
Whereas the Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which has been favorably reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations and is now pending on the Senate Executive Calendar, is the best available instrument for the safeguarding of American authorship from infringement of copyright in other countries;
Whereas the present copyright law of the United States was framed before substantial progress had been made in the revolutionary developments of the present century respecting the utilization of literary and artistic works;
Whereas, among many other alterations, it is necessary for reasonable protection that authors be accorded copyright in all manuscripts, that the divisibility of copyright be fully recognized by law; and
Whereas an excellent beginning in copyright reform has just been made in respect of one important item, namely the vesting in the author of renewal privileges and ownership of copyright, for the period following the original 28-year term of copyright in magazines, periodicals, and other composite works, regardless of whether such articles have been separately registered at the copyright office, for which enactment the National League of American Pen Women expresses its cordial appreciation to the Congress and President of the United States: Therefore be it
Resolved by the National League of American Pen Women, assembled in biennial session meeting in the city of Washington, April 20–26, 1940, That—
(1) The Senate should give immediate and unconditional approval to the Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.
(2) General legislation for the modernization of the copyright should be prepared by the appropriate committees for enactment at the next session of Congress.
ATLANTA, GA., April 16, 1941.
To the Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: On my return home from a trip I have found a letter from the assistant clerk of your committee, Mr. Sutlive, notifying me that the subcommittee of which you are chairman was to begin open hearings this past Monday on the proposed International Convention of the Copyright Union.
I recall with pleasure my meeting with you several years ago when we discussed this same matter, and I have always been grateful to you for your interest and consideration at that time. I am glad to have this fresh opportunity to express myself on this subject, for it is one which is close to my heart and about which I feel very strongly.
When I talked with you, I told you of my personal experiences with piracies and attempted piracies of Gone With the Wind in several foreign countries. Since that conversation I have had other foreign copyright problems which are, I am sure, the problems of every author in the United States whose works find favor in foreign countries. For the most part our authors do nothing about these piracies, for they have a hopeless and helpless feeling that nothing can be done to prevent them. I, however, have vigorously fought every attempt by foreign publishers to appropriate my work. Perhaps I had more obstinacy than my fellow authors; certainly I was fortunate in having made enough money from Gone With the Wind to finance expensive legal operations in a number of foreign countries. In some instances I was able to stop attempted piracies but in certain countries I had little hope of success in my fight. But I fought as a matter of principle, believing firmly that an author's work belongs to the author, that the benefits from that work should belong to the author, and that if my own Government would not protect me from pirates, than I must protect myself as best I could.
So, since 1936, I have fought a single-handed fight to protect Gone With the Wind. It has been enormously expensive; it has taken a large part of my time for about 5 years, and, it goes without saying, it has been endlessly wearying and annoying.
Now, after these years of single-handed fighting, I've come to the conclusion that I can't win. No author can win, alone. We need the aid and the protection of our Government.
As you can gather from what I have written, I am very strongly in favor of our country becoming a member of the proposed International Convention of the Copyright Union. The very nature of the international copyright problem, with its many complexities and difficulties, is such as to make action necessary by our Government, if American authors are to be given their proper protection.
However, there is a broader significance to this question than the rights and royalties of individual American authors. After nearly 5 years of dealings with copyright matters in countries in all parts of the world, I am convinced that the United States is damaged in its international relations by reason of our failure to join the Copyright Union. Citizens of other nations cannot understand why this country refuses to join a convention which is based on mutual fair treatment of the writers of all the member countries. The very fact of our refusal to join arouses the suspicion that the United States does not intend to give fair treatment to the authors of other countries.
I appreciate the invitation to appear before your subcommittee in person. hesitate to avail myself of this opportunity, because I know that you and the other members of the Committee on Foreign Relations are busy with many serious problems these days. However, if you feel that a personal discussion of my experiences in the international copyright field would be of interest or benefit to the subcommittee, I am at your service. If you wish me to come to Washington for one of the sessions of the subcommittee, please suggest a date and I will make every effort to be present.
MARGARET MITCHELL (Mrs. JOHN R.) MARSH.
THE NATIONAL PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION, INC.,
SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.
(Attention of Mr. C. R. Sutlive, Assistant Clerk.) GENTLEMEN: I am sorry that my absence from the city prevented my attending the hearings held by the subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the proposed International Convention of the Copyright Union. We are enclosing, however, a statement from the National Publishers Association which we would like to have included in the record of the hearings.
We are sending copies of this statement to the Senators composing the subcommittee.
MARVIN PIERCE, Chairman, Copyright Committee.
STATEMENT OF THE NATIONAL PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION OPPOSING THE ENTRANCE OF THE UNITED STATES INTO THE SO-CALLED BERN CONVENTION BY TREATY On April 13, 1937, the National Publishers Association entered the following protest against favorable action of the Senate bill authorizing the President to enter this country into the Bern convention by treaty. Since that time nothing has happened to change our position except to have it intensified by two very important elements.
First, whereas at that time there may have been some users and creators of copyrightable material who were supporters of the measure, in 1941 to our knowledge there are no such supporters amongst those whose livelihood and business are affected by copyright. Second, whereas in 1937 national boundaries were fixed, peoples were free, and treaties had some semblance of meaning, in 1941, particularly in a Nazi-dominated Europe, boundaries are being continually eliminated, peoples are being imprisoned, and treaties mean nothing. In the light of these changed conditions, therefore, the arguments quoted below, it seems to us, should carry greatly augmented weight.
"My name is Marvin Pierce. I am the chairman of the copyright committee of the National Publishers Association, which has a membership of approximately 150 periodical publishers embracing practically all the important magazine and trade publications in this country. The combined per-issue circulation of its membership is above 50,000,000.
"Our objection to the present measure rests primarily on the fact that it provides for automatic copyright without registration or recordation in this country to the citizens of all nations subscribing to the Bern convention, without providing for those accompanying changes in our present copyright law which we believe essential to the protection of our property rights.
"For the past dozen years active efforts have been made to rewrite the archaic copyright laws now on our statutes. These efforts have been occasioned by the profound changes in conditions surrounding the reproduction of copyrightable matter since 1909, the last year of any considerable amendment to our copyright law. Magazine circulations have increased from hundred thousands to millions; first silent pictures and then sound films have become widespread; the radio has become an important medium in the reproduction of written and musical compɔsitions; foreign authors have looked enviously on this rich market and some American authors have achieved recognition abroad. All of these factors have been recognized in the latest copyright acts prepared but not enacted, and substantial agreement has been reached on their terms by publishers and authors. Our contention in connection with the present proposed legislation is that it is approaching a highly complicated problem piecemeal and that its enactment would be greatly to the disadvantage of both American author and American publisher.
"Our statutes now call for the establishment of copyright by registration and recordation upon publication. Prior to registration the author has the same protection of ownership in his property under common law that any man has for an article he possesses or has created. Penalties for infringement, willful or innocent, of our copyright law are restraint of distribution by injunction, statutory
damages of $1 per copy distributed, and impounding of all materials entering into the manufacture of the infringing article.
"These penalties, which at the time of their original enactment perhaps may not have seemed particularly severe because of the relatively small circulation and advertising volume of publications, are now a veritable sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of the magazine publisher. His distribution may be halted during any issue by temporary injunction, through an entirely innocent act on his part, to the point where he must rebate to his advertisers and his readers. When it is considered that there have been issues of magazines in which the publisher has contracted to deliver at a stated time better than a million dollars' worth of advertising to over 2,500,000 readers, the magnitude of this possible penalty becomes apparent. The one strand of steel in the thread holding the sword, the one reliance of the publisher, is the necessity of registration of copyrightable material. Favorable action on the legislation under consideration not only removes this safeguarding strand, leaving the suspended sword as deadly as before, but paves the way for individuals throughout the world to sever the weakened support. It would be possible by injunction to suspend the distribution of an entire edition of the Saturday Evening Post for the publication of a four-line poem, accepted by it in good faith, which had lain, unrecorded and unpublished, in the desk drawer of an author in Germany. Each month 15,000,000 copies of women's magazines are issued carrying reproductions of Paris styles. Paris is admittedly the style center of the world and these designs admittedly originate in whole or in part in the shops of the Paris couturiers. Their presentation in the magazines of this country is a vital part of the service rendered to the women readers of those magazines. Yet, if this proposed legislation is enacted without ameliorating the penalties in the existing law, it is highly probable that publishers would be forced to discontinue this service for fear of the resultant suits for injunction and damages.
"We are opposed in principle to automatic copyright, and the entrance of this country into the Bern Convention. With the mere creation of a literary composition automatically vesting ownership in the creator, without the necessity for registration, and with the possibility of authorship of any piece of writing submitted to the publisher lying with a citizen of any one of the 39 signatories of the Berne convention, the publisher will be forced to accept material only from long-established, well-known authors. He can accept material from new creators only at the great risk of publishing material which may have been plagiarized in whole or in part, with a large part of the world as a field for the plagiarizer. The reluctance of the publisher to assume such risks will work not only to his disadvantage, since it is of utmost importance that he continually develop new writers and new artists, but also to the obvious disadvantage of the little-known creator. We believe that any change in copyright legislation should keep alive the incentive to encourage new writers and new artists, and should not, by eliminating the necessity for registration and recording, subject us to possible heavy penalties arising from innocent infringement and thereby make it impossible for us safely to purchase the work of unknown writers.
"Hence, we strongly feel that the possible advantage gained by certain authors through adherence to the Bern Convention is much more than offset by the throwing open of the richest market in the world to foreign authors without the necessity of registration; by the potent threat of strike suits which would face every publisher with an issue date to meet in order to satisfy his advertising contracts; and by the increased difficulty on the part of the beginning writer or illustrator to gain recognition.
"The present measure not only fails to give the publisher who innocently infringes, the protection necessary to safeguard his property rights, but it places a further obstacle in the way of his peaceful operation when it gives to the author the right to object to every deformation, mutilation or other modification of his work. Practically every piece of literary material printed in periodicals has been edited to conform to the tastes of the readers, to fit given space, to make it more interesting, or for many other reasons. Whether this editing is mutilation 'which might be prejudicial to his honor or his reputation' is frequently a matter of opinion, the adjudication of which, coupled with the right to restrain publication, could be a source of great loss to the most honest intentioned publisher.
"The National Publishers Association approves of the extension of additional protection to authors and artists, both as to escape from unnecessary formalities of copyright and as to a statutory recognition of the severability of rights, but we believe that such extension of copyright law should be joined with a protection