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Mr. O'CONNELL. I put Victor Herbert in that class-God forbid! Representative BARCHFELD. You would not put De Koven in that
Mr. O'CONNELL. Do not ask me where I would put De Koven, or I will answer you.
Now, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, although this is a matter affects you gentlemen more than it affects us, still I want to put the matter before you and before the public regarding this campaign of misrepresentation which has been carried on by the other side at the instigation of our friends on the other side. I will say that the theatrical people who come here have disavowed to me that they had any connection with it, while the so-called "Friars" have been back of it all.
The Friars is an association of what we commonly call "press agents," but they prefer to call themselves "publicity promoters." Some of their achievements are told in the columns of the daily papers around the city, about how a celebrated actress takes a milk bath every morning. If they would stick to their own line they perhaps would not do very much harm, but when they send circulars containing misrepresentations to members of Congress everywhere, in a matter in which they have no direct pecuniary interest except as they are paid for their work, then it becomes of interest to know the facts in regard to the matter, and I will put into the record some of the things which show the connection of these gentlemen with this campaign.
In the first place, you may not know it, but they sent out broadcast through the country, to every man they sent the formal circular to, a list of the members of the House and Senate of the Sixtieth Congress, and told them who to strike and where to strike. They also sent out a long form of letter, which I offer in evidence, and down at the bottom, in red ink, is this:
Kindly use this matter and write a similar letter, in your own style, to the members of Congress in your State. If you are not an author or composer, write as a sympathizer to the cause. Do it now.
The gentleman who started this campaign is a man called Friar Abbott, assisted by Wells Hawks. I have here a letter addressed "To my brothers of the Friars," signed by Wells Hawks, which was sent broadcast through the country, asking for kindly cooperation with Mr. Victor Herbert as an honorary Friar, and also a letter signed by Mr. Victor Herbert as president of the Authors and Composers' Copyright League, in which he states that further information, details, and copy matter will be furnished upon application to Mr. Reginald De Koven at 734 Knickerbocker Building, Broadway, New York.
I now offer these letters in evidence.
(The letters referred to are, by direction of the committee, inserted in the record, and are as follows:)
[Postal card-The space below is for the address only.]
TO REGINALD DEKOVEN, Esq.,
Hon. Secretary Authors and Composers' Copyright League of America,
734 Knickerbocker Theater Building, New York.
TO REGINALD DEKOVEN, Esq.,
Honorable Secretary A. and C. C. L. of A.
Honorable MEMBER OF CONGRESS,
In response to your inquiries:
We have no contract with the Æolian Company, or any other, for the exclusive right to our publications for mechanical instruments.
In case you have a contract, please state here with whom and for what duration.
We have about
Our catalogue consists of approximately-▬▬▬▬▬numbers. authors and composers on our staff.
Washington, D. C.
DEAR SIR: I beg to call your attention to a matter of the greatest importance to me and a matter directly affecting every author, composer, and writer of music in the United States, which practically means the welfare and future of our American music and melodies.
I refer particularly to the bill known as the Kittredge copyright bill, S. 2900, introduced in the Senate by Senator Kittredge, and specifically to the clause E in said bill.
As one of your constituents and a resident of your State, I beg to trespass your time to explain my interest in the bill and the crying necessity for such legislation.
Under the present copyright law, made and passed before phonographs, graphophones, talking machines, automatic piano players, etc., were thought of or invented, an author or composer is protected in his publishing and dramatic rights, but absolutely no provision is made at protecting him from having his works, his creations, the result of his talent and ability, absolutely and literally stolen from him without his permission, consent, or even knowledge, and without one penny remuneration, by manufacturers of mechanical devices.
This great wrong the Kittredge bill seeks to correct; and in this righteous cause I seek your aid, influence, and assistance.
As matters now stand, what is the result? I see my compositions-as does each and every other author and composer in America-stolen bodily by the phonograph trust and piano-player combination, and ground out daily from thousands of cylinders, disks, and rolls, without paying me or any of us one single, solitary penny, and in addition daily reducing the sales of sheet music, and therefore constantly reducing royalties on the sales of my publications. And I have only to look to you, Mr. , and your colleagues, as my representatives in Congress, to assist in protecting me against such robbery, such unfairness, and such a terrible disadvantage.
The phonograph trust and piano players combination have made millions upon millions of dollars, selling the product of the brain and genius of American composers and authors, without paying them one cent. Why should they not pay royalties? Why can they steal our property and take advantage of a technicality of the law to protect them? Why should they be protected in selling untold thousands of records, at a tremendous profit, without paying one single cent to the person who originated and composed the composition and whose genius made possible the melodies which these trusts are vending? Why is this flagrant injustice to American authors and composers permitted to continue? This robbery has gone on far enough, and the copyright law must be revised to meet present-day necessities.
In opposition to the Kittredge bill-the square-deal copyright bill-I understand the lobby of the trust and combination urge two puerile objections. First, they say the Kittredge bill aims to assist a new monopoly. This is absolutely false. The foundation for such a statement is this:
A few of the music publishers-and a very few indeed-made a contract with the Eolian Company to grant them certain privileges and rights, covering a graduated period of from five to ten years. And, anyway, why should I, a composer, suffer from any contract some publishers may have made some time ago, especially when I have not tied up any of my rights to anyone and am free to make negotiations if protected by proper legislation.
The consideration was that the Eolian Company was at their expense to conduct a test case covering the present copyright law to the United States Supreme Court and obtain a final decision on long and much-disputed questions. This was all several years ago, and the whole agreement will shortly terminate by limitation. Does this smack of monopoly? And it is the only reason for their false and misleading cry.
Secondly, the trust lobby urges that they, with their rolls and disks, popularize the music-to the author's benefit. This is only silly rot and without foundation. Did you or did any other man ever hear any tune from any mechanical device that was not already popular? Did anybody ever hear music from rolls or disks that had not been made popular at the expense, time, and work of the author, composer, and publisher? And this is true in 99 per cent of the cases.
And now, Mr. I trust you will agree with me in the great need for this legislation, and I earnestly urge that you use your best efforts in the interest of American composers and the writers of our American songs and melodies.
Please be good enough to let me hear from you, with your views in the premises.
With anxious hopes that you will support the authors and composers' bill introduced by Senator Kittredge, and assurance of respect and regard, believe me,
Very truly, yours,
[In red ink.]
Kindly use this matter and write a similar letter in your own style to the Members of Congress in your State.
If you are not an author or composer, write as a sympathizer to the cause. Do it now.
[The Globe and Advertiser, New York, December 18, 1907.]
JUSTICE TO THE COMPOSER-KITTREDGE INTRODUCES NEW COPYRIGHT BILL-WOULD GIVE TO COMPOSERS ALL RIGHTS TO THEIR COMPOSITIONS.
WASHINGTON, December 18.
Senator Kittredge, who was chairman of the Committee on Patents during the last Congress, and who continues his membership on that committee, has introduced a bill on copyrights which differs in a material way from that introduced by Senator Smoot, the present chairman of the committee.
Mr. Kittredge's bill gives to composers all rights over their compositions, so that owners of mechanical music machines and devices may not make use of any copyright composition without securing the consent of the composer. This provision does not exist in Senator Smoot's bill, under which such productions of compositions are not subject to the copyright law.
ALL THE COMPOSERS WANT IS A SQUARE DEAL-KILL THE UNAMERICAN CURRIER COPYRIGHT BILL AND PROTECT OUR RIGHTS.
Not since the days of the American Revolution has there been a measure so un-American, so unfair as the present copyright law as regards the relation of sound-reproducing instruments and composers.
As the law now stands, and as the bill which Congressman Currier, of New Hampshire, for some unaccountable reason is trying to force through, the manufacturers of phonographic records and perforated rolls can reproduce to any amount the musical composition of a composer without paying him a single cent for the product of his brains.
This is doubly harmful to the men who give birth to the music of our country, for, aside from the fact of their not getting paid for the product of their brain, the reckless manufacturing of “canned music "-as John Philip Sousa so aptly terms it-kills the sale of sheet music from which the composer derives his sole revenue, as the music publishers pay royalties on every sheet of music they sell.
Not only do they pay these royalties, but they spend thousands of dollars in advertising and otherwise popularizing the musical composition. As soon as
they have gotten it before the public, and the sales are commencing to reach the stage where they are getting some of their investment back, and the composer is beginning to realize a little on the work of his brain, the "Talking Machine Trust" steps in, and with all the greed of a hungry wolf seizes upon the composition and turns out countless records and perforated rolls, thereby killing the sales, for it is a proven fact that as soon as the penny talking machines reproduce a musical composition it is dead as far as the public is concerned.
The "Talking Machine Trust" claim that they do a great deal to make a song popular, but it remains for them to point out a single case where they have made a record of a musical composition before it has been popularized by the music publisher.
Another thing this "poor, persecuted trust" claims is that they can not afford to pay the 2 or 3 cents royalty on each record and roll without causing the common people" to suffer. Yet they are enabled to pay the grand-opera singers from 50 cents to $1 royalty on every record they sell reproducing their voice, for which they are charging good and plenty to the "common people," not caring whether the "common people" like it or not. Suffice to say, the
common people" have bought thousands of these $3 and $5 records, and have paid the monopoly tariff on them without a murmur (it would have done them no good to murmur).
Not only does this law affect the prominent composer, but it hurts the unknown as well. One can never tell in the profession of song writing when the goddess of fame is going to knock at the door; beside this fact, the music publishing business is suffering to such an extent at present that the firms thus engaged are cutting down the number of publications and are limiting their business to the better known composers, thus assuring themselves of some chance to get a return for their investment. With a correction of the copyright bill, such as Senator Kittredge proposes, conditions will be changed and the profession of musical composition will take a new life.
Should the Currier bill triumph, the musical art and all other musical industries in this country will languish, as the authors and composers, not receiving any royalties on records, and their royalties on sheet music decreasing from year to year, will have no incentive to write or compose. All the composers ask is a square deal.
THE AUTHORS AND COMPOSERS'
[Authors and Composers' Copyright League of America-Victor Herbert, president; John Philip Sousa, treasurer; Reginald De Koven, honorable secretary.]
734 KNICKERBOCKER THEATER BUILDING,
DEAR SIR: No doubt you are familiar with the fact that there is pending in Washington a copyright bill-the Kittredge bill, S. 2900-favoring the payment of royalties to the author and composer on mechanical instrument records.
This bill is being strongly opposed by the mechanical instrument trust, who, because they have not been paying royalties in the past through a discrepancy in the present copyright law, do not want to do so in the future. To this end, they have trumped up a number of false charges, which, however, will be readily and successfully explained away before the joint patent committee in Washington in the near future.
One of their meanest cries is that of monopoly," they claiming that the music publishers have signed exclusive contracts with the Eolian Company of New York, and that, in the event of the passage of the Kittredge copyright bill, the said Eolian Company would have a monopoly, to the exclusion of other perforated roll manufacturers.
As a matter of fact, the contracts that certain publishers have made with the Eolian Company are not contingent upon the passage or defeat of any copyright bill, but rather upon the litigation that is now pending in the Supreme Court of the United States, and which is liable to be lost, thus abrogating and nullifying all such contracts.
On the other hand, if the Kittredge bill is passed, every author and composer, including the many, many thousands not tied by exclusive contracts to any pub
lisher or publishers (there are hardly twenty-five in all so signed) will be justly benefited.
We need your assistance in this connection, so that we can prove to those men sitting in Washington that there can be no monopoly on brains, and that the smallest minority possible have signed contracts with the Eolian Company, which they did in the best of faith.
We want to prove that there are as many, and more, good and profitable catalogues free and in the open market as there are signed.
We want to prove that there is an overwhelming majority of authors and composers not exclusively tied to anyone.
We want to prove that more publications are represented in the combined catalogues of those publishers not signed with the Eolian Company than those that are signed.
Will you kindly help us by immediately filling out the inclosed post card and returning the same to the address given? It will mean much to a great many, and can not legitimately hurt anyone.
We might say for your information, that some of the largest houses, such as the John Church Company, Breitkopf & Hartel, M. Witmark & Sons, Chappel & Co., Boosey & Co., as well as the younger houses, from which are emanating so many of the present-day popular successes, among them the Gus Edwards Music Publishing Company, Helf & Hager, and York Publishing Company, are not tied by contract or otherwise to any talking-machine house.
Thanking you in advance for your hearty cooperation in this most worthy and just cause, and awaiting your prompt reply, I am,
Very truly, yours,
President Authors and Composers' Copyright League of America.
P. S.-We inclose you a little pamphlet entitled Copyright legislation-an answer to the argument of the manufacturers of phonographs and other mechanical reproduction devices," by Harry D. Kerr, which fully explains away the false monopoly charges of the mechanical-instrument trust. We hope you will read it carefully. We want to enlist your sympathy and cooperation.
[The Friars-Rooms 1120-1121 Knickerbocker Theater Building, 1402 Broadway. General attorney and counsel, Abraham L. Jacobs, 30 Broadway, New York.-The abbot, Wells Hawks; the dean, Charles Emerson Cook; corresponding secretary, Philip Mindil; recording secretary, Clinton W. Moffatt; treasurer, John W. Rumsey.Governors, Harry G. Sommers, Frank C. Payne, George W. Sammis, W. G. Smyth, Bruce Edwards, W. M. Hull, Marcus R. Mayer, A. Toxen Worm, Wallace Munro, Willard D. Coxey.]
NEW YORK, January 2, 1908.
To my brothers of the Friars:
As your Friar abbot, my attention has been called to a matter which, to me, seems of the greatest importance, and which I deem it my duty to present to each and every Friar, believing that he will realize its importance.
I refer to the matter of the copyright legislation now offered and being agitated in both Houses of Congress. As the law now exists, the author and composer of our American songs and melodies are protected in their dramatic and publishing rights, but no provision is made to protect them against the gigantic trust of the phonograph, gramaphone, and automatic piano player, the law, of course, having been enacted before these inventions were heard of, with the result that these combinations have been seizing and helping themselves to the creations of the genius and ability of American composers and writers without paying them any royalty whatever or without so much as asking permission.
I have been shown by our brothers and friends who are being seriously affected by this lack of legal protection that the future of their profession, and almost the future of American music, is at stake. As the sale of disks, cylinders, and rolls increases, so decreases the sale of sheet music, with a consequent decrease in royalties; and royalties being the incentive to write, as the incentive grows less so will the merit and quality of the music depreciate.
To right this terrible wrong and to secure honest protection where honest protection is due, the Kittredge copyright bill (S. 2900) has been introduced, and has for its object the specific clause of protecting American authors and composers against the cruel piracy of the manufacturers of mechanical musical instruments.