« ZurückWeiter »
bears so directly upon my argument, that I desire to have it appreciated. Of course it is written with that fluent expression which is so attractive in Mr. Putnam's writing. He says:
The book-buying public has also a direct business interest in the matter. There are many books of which the publisher is prepared to undertake the production of American editions only when he can be assured of the control of the market that he has purchased. If such control can not be assured and the book is not undertaken in an edition suited for the special requirements of American readers, a large number of these readers fail to have knowledge of the existence of the book or to secure service from it. The readers who have occasion to purchase their copies are obliged to take these in the transAtlantic edition, which is, as a rule, not so well suited for American requirements and which is usually higher in price than an edition printed on this side.
That is to say, Mr. Putnam, as spokesman for his association and trade, proposes to adapt an English book to suit the American taste, as he thinks, and then to tell the American student and scholar that he must take his adaptation or go without. For my part I do not care for Doctor Putnam's preparations. [Applause.]
Representative Law. Under the provisions of this law, at least as they stand now, you could not get an original foreign edition, without going over to Europe after it.
Mr. JENNER. I would not say that without a qualification, and I will now come to the qualification. I will endeavor to speak of that qualification with patience. All of my life I have enjoyed frankness. I do like things to be done aboveboard, and I do not like tricks. I have not much skill at them. The framers of this bill, and it was framed in the Librarian's office, put in these hoodwinking words, " They shall not be imported except under permission "—under the permission of the proprietor of the American copyright. The Government, the college, the institution of learning, and the returning traveler are not obliged to get permission; but the private citizen is required, by this law, to go to JIr. Putnam, if he is proprietor of the American copyright, and say to him: “Mr. Putnam, will you give me permission to import Longman's edition of Mr. Bryce's book on America ?" He will reply, “ Now, Mr. Jenner, I am getting out that book myself; my edition will be ready in a few days, and while I have adapted it a bit, not much, you will have to wait for that." I say, “ Please, Mr. Putnam, let me have the permission." And he replies, “ Well, if you want it so badly, give me $3 and I will give you the permission." [Laughter.]
I do desire, in all seriousness, that the chairman and other members of this committee will not put us in that position. That is not a situation in which I would want to be put; but you have legalized it and sanctioned it, under the authority of this Government.
But what is the situation of the student, what is the situation of the scholar, what is the situation of the American citizen who feels tingling in his blood the spirit that tossed overboard the tea in Boston Harbor, when you, by your law, compel him to submit to that humiliation. I say to you in all candor, and I say it in all earnestness, that you should take that out of the bill. Do not include in your bill a single word which will make it possible for any American to degrade himself by soliciting that permission or by paying any amount, I care not how small it be, for the privilege of doing that which for a century and a quarter every American has had the right to do, and which you can not find a reason for depriving him of now.
Turn him into a smuggler, for in that character he would be more respectable than in the character of petitioner for the favor of doing that which he ought to be able to do as a right. And so I say
take that out of the bill. That would be my advice.
Representative LEAKE. I agree with you, Mr. Jenner.
Mr. JENNER. I thank you, sir. Now, I know I am taking too much time, but there is one other aspect of this question to which I want to refer, and that is the labor aspect of it; and it is an important one. I do not know whether there is any representative of labor interested here; but if there is I want to say to him I do not want him to antagonize before these committees what I want, and I am going to give him a quid pro quo, and with the permission of the committee I am going to expose a plot in this bill by which labor is being cheated.
Representative Sulzer. That is very important. We would like to hear that.
Mr. JENNER. I will do it, sir. I pledge my word to do it. I do not want him to interfere with what is right in this bill in that respect. I simply say to labor that labor is interested on my side of this question. The amount of extra type set and the amount of extra printing and binding that may be done, if you let me and a few others who may want to exercise the right, import a copy for use and not for sale, is not going to put a thousandth part of a mill into the pocket of the laboring man, the typesetter, the printer, or the binder in this country.
I have a note to refer to something Mr. Putnam said yesterday about your changing the law so as to permit him to get his books, such as he wants, bound abroad, in France or in Italy, because he has some rich clients or customers who like to have European binding. Therefore he says, “ Let me have my books bound in France or Italy, but do not let the private scholar or student import a foreignbound book.”
This bill presents a pervasive and synthetic scheme for the profit of a few publishers at the expense of the people. It proposes to legalize the right of the publishers and the booksellers to regulate the retail price during the copyright term.
Representative CURRIER. Do you mean section 4+?
Representative CURRIER. I suppose you do know, Mr. Jenner, that that appeared, in a more pronounced form, in section 3t, which was in the bill as I reported it and which we afterwards discovered and cut out.
Mr. JENNER. You did, sir.
Representative CURRIER. And if you can convince this committee that there is anything in section H that will produce the same result, you need not be disturbed about its remaining.
Mr. JENNER. I know that.
Representative CURRIER. Pardon me for saying this; but I have the impression that the committee are unanimous on that proposition and that section 44 will either go out or be so changed as to meet your objections.
Mr. JENNER. Then I will not waste a word upon it.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not think it is necessary to discuss it, because the question has been thoroughly thrashed out in the committee of the
Senate, and I do not think there is a member of the Senate committee that does not realize the danger in that section.
Representative LEGARE. Let him state his point, so as to get it in the record.
Mr. JENNER. My point is that section 44 is absolutely unnecessary and has no place in the bill, because the point has never been raised that the sale of a copyrighted painting had the slightest effect upon the copyright theretofore taken. They tell you that section 44 is for the purpose of enacting that rule of law. It is not necessary. It is always dangerous to enact a rule of law. You had better leave it in its present condition. I leave that point there.
The bar association has suggested a certain modification which I think the chairman has received.
The CHAIRMAN. The bar association recommendations are in the record.
Mr. JENNER. As my next point, I want to take up the proposition that this bill cheats Congress. Here is an assembly in this beautiful room, in what is perhaps one of the noblest library buildings in the world. I believe you have here a million and a half of volumes in this library, and I would be glad to have the Library of Congress the largest and the most complete to be found anywhere on the earth. You intend to contribute to its completion and to its perfectness by having copies of every copyrighted work on file here.
Representative CURRIER. May I interrupt you just for an instant to state that I have become thoroughly dissatisfied with the provision in my bill with reference to the deposit of copies, and I intend to offer an amendment in my committee which will provide that if the copies are not filed within so many days, without any demand or notice whatever, the copyright shall be forfeited.
Mr. JENNER. Then it is unnecessary to say anything further about that. I was intending to show you how the scheme worked out, so that no publisher need file any copies.
Now let me call your attention to this point. You gentlemen would be disposed to think that it was a very small tax on the publisher to be required to file or deposit in the Library in Washington two copies of a copyrighted book; and that it was so small a matter that even a publisher would not object to it.
I have here the Publishers' Circular of January 4, 1908, which I received from London a week ago. It gives a sketch of the proceedings and subjects which are to be discussed and provided for, so far as the International Congress of Publishers can do it, at Madrid next May, and this is the eleventh topic of discussion: “ Abolition of legal deposits." The members of the International Congress of Publishers are going to discuss the abolition of the legal requirement to deposit a copy of a book and all other similar formalities for obtaining a copyright. They are going to discuss and «levise some common scheme by which they can get rid of giving away, as the price of a half a century of exclusive privilege, a copy of a book.
I venture to say that Mr. George Llaven Putnam will go as the American delegate to that convention, as he has gone heretofore, with all of his knowledge and all of his skill, to advocate such abolition.
I would like now to say a word on the copyright term. I have no brief for any auther. I am personally acquainted with many of them, and, to some extent, have the honor to enjoy their confidence. I know somewhat about their situation and their relations.
There are certain inaccuracies and inconsistencies in this bill, certain snares perhaps-no; that is not the proper word. The word “inconsistencies” will express it better.
The bills, as they stand, give to the copyright taker a term for life and thirty years from the death of the last survivor, if there are joint parties. But you give to the posthumous work only thirty years of protection, and you give to a work copyrighted by an employer or a corporation forty-two years.
May I ask what is to prevent even a posthumous work or any other work from being copyrighted by a corporation, which you can organize, if it is necessary, for $25 or less?
Would it not then come to this, that every book that is posthumous and every book that is written by a literary man will be copyrighted by a corporation so as to enjoy the forty-two years of protection, instead of thirty years, plus the term of his own life? Would there not be a constant temptation to resort to the subterfuge of copyrighting in that corporate form, so as to enjoy the longer term?
The present term is twenty-eight years, with the privilege of renewal by the author or his family for fourteen more, making fortytwo years in the aggregate. We have produced some masterpieces of literature in that time, and masterpieces have been produced without any time.
But you are now taking away from the author that privilege of the fourteen years additional. It has been asserted here, and you have agreed, that 90 per cent of the books copyrighted do not enjoy the second term of fourteen years. I think that is more than likely to be an accurate estimate. But those that do are the bonanzas, unexpected, the booties that have fallen into the mouths of the publishers unexpectedly, and why should not the author have the benefit of those fourteen years? Why should you not give him an opportunity to make a new bargain with the old publisher, or go to a new one?
What is the answer to that? This is the answer that is given you: We have got our plates, says the publisher, and this will leave our copies on our shelves. They will be of no use to us, if, at the end of twenty-eight years, the author can say to us I am going to some one else. I believe that if there was ever more thorough humbug than that uttered in the hearing of distinguished men, it has never come to my knowledge. You may go through the book markets of New York and through the big stores and look for books still on sale that were printed first twenty-eight years ago. Look at their advertisements in the newspapers for books that were first printed ten or twelve or fifteen or twenty years ago, and you will find that there has been a new edition of the works of such an author printed from new plates and new type. Why, a book that needs to go into its second term is set up over again.
What consideration ought you to have for the publisher, in order to preserve to him the value of the type metal in his old battered plates that have been paid for by the author over and over again, as compared with the necessity that the author or his children may be under, when the time to exercise that fourteen-year privilege comes about? I would say to you, gentlemen, that if you want to extend the author's term, do it.' I would be glad to see the author's term extended. If he wants a third term of fourteen years, I would give
it to him. We owe much to authors; but we do not owe anything to our publishers. The publisher has no right in morals or in law to mix himself up with the question. He is paid for what he does. If that second or third term is worth anything, he has been paid for his plates over and over again.
I would cut out that provision. I would rather leave the law as it is, or I would make that second term longer, or I would provide for still another term, or I would give a fixed term for every book copyrighted by the author, by the publisher, by a corporation or by an employer, and let every book take its chances within those limits.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to ask you a question. Would not the publisher, if a third term were given, make a contract with the author stipulating that not only was he to have control of the publication for the first twenty-eight years, but that he should control it, and the right to publish it, under the original contract for the fourteen-year extension period and if we give another extension of fourteen years, then for the second fourteen-year period?
Mr. JENNER. It is never done, and I have some doubt about whether it legally could be done. But I should be glad to see that so provided for that it could not be done under the law.
Representative Law. Then put it in the bill itself.
Mr. JENNER. Put it in the bill itself, and say that it cannot be done, so that the author is certain to have that extension as a provision for his age or a provision for his widow and his children. [Applause.)
The Chairman. It is now ten minutes past 12 and there is very important business to be attended to by the members of the committee in both Houses of Congress. The committee will now adjourn until 8 o'clock to-night.
Mr. GEORGE H. PUTNAM. I would not of course want my convenience to interfere in any way with the convenience of the committee, which has been so courteous to us. But there are certain matters I want you to have an opportunity to fairly consider, and I want you to have an opportunity to analyze certain statements that have been presented to you.
The CHAIRMAX. You shall be heard to-night, Mr. Putnam. The committee thereupon took a recess until 8 o'clock p. m.
EVENING SESSION :
The committee met at 8 p. m.
The CHAIRMAN. I wish to call attention to the fact that before adjournment this evening we wish all questions ontside of the music question disposed of, and therefore I shall ask that gentleman who may speak from this time on will speak to the subject-matter, and in as few words as possible, and I may also add that if any speaker objects to being interrupted in any way, I, as presiding officer, shall strictly en force his wishes in this regard.
STATEMENT OF MR. EDMOND E. WISE.
Mr. WISE. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, in accordance with the suggestion of the chairman, I shall limit myself to a very brief statement of the points I wish to call to the attention of the committee.