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Mr. GEORGE H. PUTNAM. If you will allow me, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Currier has a very interesting thing in his mind. What really happened there was not that anything had been sent from here to Japan to be printed, but the Japanese had photographed or made photographic facsimiles of American books
and had, contrary to various laws, imported into this country, underestimating the invoices, the copies printed from their photographic plates. It was not that American plates had been sent abroad and printed abroad. They had made photographic facsimiles.
Re, resentative CURRIER. Do you not suppose they could supply the South American market with those books?
Mr. GEORGE H. PUTNAM. There is nothing to prevent them from doing it.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Putnam, does not the record show that the plates in that particular case were sent to Japan and were manufactured in this country?
Mr. GEORGE H. PUTNAM. No, sir; I have stated the facts.
The CHAIRMAN. And came to San Francisco and were held up there, not on account of the plates being made here, but for lack of notice?
Mr. GEORGE H. PUTNAM. They were held on various grounds. They were undervalued, and represented American copyright material, and were very properly seized; but it was a practice that had been going on in Japan for many years, the photo-lithographing of American plates.
The CHAIRMAN. They were seized on the ground that it was a piratical edition?
Mr. GEORGE H. PUTNAM. Yes, sir.
Representative CURRIER. And this bill carefully guards the publishers against anything of that kind.
Mr. GEORGE H. PUTNAM. I believe so.
Mr. Johnson. With the cooperation of the Authors' League, you understand, Mr. Currier.
Representative CURRIER. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. If I remember right, Mr. Ogilvie or Mr. Sullivan was the gentleman that brought that matter to our attention.
Mr. OGILVIE. Mr. Sullivan asked me if I knew of the piratical edition.
Mr. Johnson. I remember it. I hope the Chairman remembers, however, that we cordially unite in the provision to prevent the importation of plates. Certainly Mr. Currier remembers that?
Mr. CURRIER. Yes.
Mr. Johnson. Therefore that can not be heard against the proposition I am making, which is that now, before there is business, when the business is beginning, this large bulk of business with South America, when we are drawing together with them under this PanAmerican convention which is here, a copy of which I have and which has been signed, but has not been ratified, that now is the time to make copyright laws. People have upbraided me because I have been acting as secretary of the American Copyright League in getting our law accepted abroad. I say the time to get the copyright agreements is before there is any business. Then there is nobody to oppose it, because it is a decent law.
The CHAIRMAN. You made the statement that you would collect certain statistics in relation to the sales.
Mr. JOHNSON. I will.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like very much to have you do so, and I would like to have you put it in the record, particularly for our information, but I believe the workingmen of this country and other citizens would like to know. I don't believe the workingmen would recommend anything that would be contrary to their interests.
Mr. JOHNSON. I do not think they would, intentionally. I have too much respect for the workingman's willingness to try to get what he thinks he ought to have. I respect him for it. I think that if we were all as energetic in that, the country would be in better condition to-day.
However, in this matter I have a sincere belief that the workingman is cutting off his nose to spite his face, that he is going to come some time to this Congress and ask you to repeal the entire manufacturing clause. When we are selling more than we are buying, it is to his interest to print the things we sell rather than to lose the things we buy. Is not that a plain proposition? I challenge anybody to meet that proposition.
Representative CURRIER. How long do you suppose they would go on making books in this country, say standard school books, that cost them 50 cents here, when they could have them made in Japan for 7 cents ?
Mr. Johnson. In the first place, I do not believe they could be made in Japan for 7 cents.
Representative CURRIER. The statement was that these school books that were brought in from Japan, or that they attempted to bring in, were invoiced at 74 cents a piece. The duty is 25 per cent, which would be less than 2 cents, making them less than 94 cents a copy that they could sell them for after paying the duty.
Vir. Johnson. What I have to say on that subject is that it is a subject for tariff consideration.
Representative CURRIER. You would have to have almost a prohibitive tarifl.
Mr. Johnson. It is a question for the tariff. If the workingman is going to be protected he should be protected through the tariff.
Representative CURRIER. Many of the gentlemen want us to revise the tariff down as soon as possible.
Mr. Johnson. I am speaking of the propriety of considering all these restrictive measures in conjunction with the copyright. We are here for the purpose of bestowing a right and defending a right.
Now, I ask the indulgence of the committee a few moments for the purpose of presenting three points against which I think there can be no objection by anybody here.
Representative Law. On this same section?
Representative Law. I wish to ask if you have proposed an amendment covering the points which you have raised.
Mr. Johnson. I have. It is in this copy. I thought every member of the committee had this. It was sent to them for their convenience by Mr. Bowker.
I understand, Mr. Chairman, that the time is pretty well apportioned for to-morrow and the next day. On our behalf, Dr. Henry
Van Dyke and Mr. Hamlin Garland are coming down to-morrow, with the expectation that they might be able to speak on Saturday and somewhat reenforce us. I therefore ask the indulgence of the committee in presenting three points which it seems to me ought to be incorporated in this bill, because there is no objection to them, and for a reason which I can give briefly.
In the first place, when I say there should be no backward step in copyrighting, I immediately come to the first backward step that has been taken. That is, that in the extension of the term of copyright to life and thirty years, which we think a very honorable record to have been made by this committee, there is the peradventure-in fact the positive danger, more than a chance, the certainty—that the work of the last twelve years of a man's life will not be protected by copyright.
Representative CURRIER. Let me suggest right there that there would be a good deal of difficulty, probably, in getting through the House such a term as we propose, and it was suggested to us by friends of this long term that we would use that as an argument in favor of the proposition in the House, that it might shorten some copyrights.
Mr. Johnson. Does the honorable gentleman mean to tell me that the House of Representatives has fallen so low that in order to get justice from it for certain people we are obliged to tell them that there is injustice for others?
Representative CURRIER. We do not tell them anything of the kind. I want to say there will be great opposition-you may realize it or not-to a term as long as life and thirty years—very great opposition in the House. Opposition will undoubtedly develop, as it did before in the committee.
Mr. GEORGE H. PUTNAM. Life and thirty years is shorter than the term of any civilized state except England and Greece.
The CHAIRMAN. A good many countries have life and thirty years, so it could not be shorter.
Representative LEGARE. We are the best judges of that, however, as to what Congress should do.
Mr. JOHNSON. I do not think I am called upon to talk of the expediency.
Representative CURRIER. I was not making my own suggestion. I was making the suggestion made by the men who are promoting this proposition. That was one of the arguments they suggested to me that could be used. It was not my suggestion.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Johnson, let me ask you a question. You gave notice of two gentlemen being here to-morrow.
Mr. Johnson. Dr. Henry Van Dyke and Mr. Hamlin Garland.
Mr. Jounson. From the point of view of the authors, upon the general principle.
The CHAIRMAN. The question I had in my mind was whether they were to be heard upon the three points you mentioned.
Mr. Johnson. No; not on these same points.
The CHAIRMAN. If they are, I would prefer to leave that question now and take up the manufacturing clause, as there are a number of gentlemen who wish to speak upon that point.
Mr. Johnson. Will the committee give me five minutes to complete my statement ?
The CHAIRMAN. If that is all you want, we certainly will.
Mr. Johnson. I beg the members of the committee not to take a backward step in reducing copyrights from forty-two years. Give us the life term and thirty years, with the alternative term of forty-two years, so if you are going to extend it, you will give us a practical extension.
Representative CURRIER. We had an alternative proposition in the bill, and we took it out at the request of the publishers, who said they wanted a single straight term.
Mr. Johnson. I am not here to speak for the publishers, but for the American Copyright League. I differ with Mr. Putnam on certain points. We are not here to speak as a league. Each person is here to speak for what he stands for.
The second point is the copyright by a corporation. There is no provision in this bill for a copyright by a corporation. Half the copyrights of the country are held in that way, by corporations or by firms. Why should not Messrs. Harper & Brothers, for instance, be entitled to the same terms for copyright of something which they buy from the author as the author himself? I think there can be no possible objection to that. If there is, I should like to hear it.
The CHAIRMAN. On the other hand, you are aware, are you not, that a great many men object to the granting of a copyright to a corporation, and claim that under this bill a corporation would have a right to over a hundred years.
Mr. JOHNSON. I should certainly object to that on any such grounds.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what many of the men here now, attorneys from New York and Baltimore particularly, say, that under the provisions of this bill a corporation would have a copyright for over a hundred years.
Mr. Johnson. I favor no such thing.
Representative CURRIER. What do you favor for a corporation term?
Mr. Johnson. The same term as an author has.
Representative CURRIER. Do you represent the authors or the publishers?
Mr. Johnson. I represent the authors.
Representative CURRIER. Representing the authors, then, do you not think it is in the interest of the authors to have a renewal period ? If you were going to give a hundred years, would you not divide that, giving one term, and then a renewal term? Do you not think it would be to the advantage of the authors, speaking solely for the authors, to a renewal period?
Mr. Johnson. I have never considered that as being a matter of any importance one way or the other.
Representative CURRIER. As I said here to-day, when you, perhaps, were not present, Mr. Samuel Clemens told me he found it of very great importance to him; that he sold the copyright of “Innocents Abroad” for a very small sum, and all he ever got out of it, practically, was the renewal period.
Representative LEGARE. Are you a publisher, Mr. Johnson?
Mr. Johnson. I am a member of the Century Company, but I am not in the publishing department at all. I am in the editorial depart
ment. I am one of the associate editors of the Century Magazine. I approach this from the point of view of the authors. I hold no brief for the publishing end of my own business. I am talking about it from the point of view of ordinary convenience. Take the Harper's Magazine. In every number there are 150 items
Representative LEGARE. What office do you hold in the American Copyright League?
Mr. Johnson. Secretary. I have been secretary for twenty years. I was secretary during the passage of the present law, and I have been since.
Mr. OGILVIE. May I ask how many members there are of that organization?
Mr. JOHNSON. All the authors in the country have been connected with it.
Representative LEGARE. That is not answering the question.
Mr. OGILVIE. I would like to know, if possible, how many members that organization has at this time.
Mr. Johnson. I do not know. It has had no meetings lately. It is in the hands of a council of thirty.
Representative LEGARE. When did you have your last meeting? Mr. Johnson. The last meeting of the council?
Representative LEGARE. Yes, sir; of the Authors' Copyright League.
Mr. JOHNSON. Last week.
Mr. OGILIVIE. Are they? You know whether the authors are all publishers.
Mr. JOHNSON. There are none of the authors that are publishers, I think.
Mr. OGILVIE. None at all ?
Mr. JOHNSON. I think none. There are James Lane Allen, Thomas E. Nelson, Samuel Clemens, William D. Howells, Edmund Clarence Stedman, president of the League
Mr. OGILVIE. Is it not true that many men connected with it are also connected with publishing concerns?
Mr. Johnson. I know none of them that are.
Mr. Johnson. Yes; but I am not speaking from the publishers' point of view.
Mr. OGILVIE. You are the Secretary?
Mr. Johnson. I am the Secretary. I am a member of the Century Company. I draw dividends from that.
Mr. OGILVIE. Very well. I wanted to get the information. Mr. Johnson. Yes; but I do not think you can discredit our points of view in any such way as that.
Mr. OGILVIE. I am asking for information.
Mr. Johnson. The chairman will note that I am dividing my time with other gentlemen.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; I would like Mr. Johnson to continue.
Mr. Johnson. These are the three points—the backward step in cutting off twelve years of copyright
Representative CURRIER. That is, you say we are taking a backward step as to the term ?
Mr. JOHNSON. Yes.