# Primary Sources on Copyright - Record Viewer
Debate in Congress, Washington D.C. (1896)

Source: Cummings Bill, H.R. 6835, 54th Cong, 2d sess., Congressional Record 29 (December 10, 1896).

Debate in Congress, Washington D.C. (1896), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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            Chapter 1 Page 8 of 8 total

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1896.                  CONGRESSIONAL RECORD—HOUSE.                  91

      The gentleman from New York made another valuable sugges-
tion—that the owner of a copyright might not want to part with
his rights in such a way as to allow the promiscuous production of
his work: he might be unwilling to allow the rendition or the in-
terpretation of his composition by every bungler who might hap.
pen to get hold of it. Take the case of the owner of a song—for
instance, the song "Lorena," published some years ago. the com-
position of a poor man who at that time lived in my district—a
genius, if ever there was one. He wrote the song, and a great many
thousands of dollars were made out of it. But he ought to have
had the right, after obtaining his copyright, to withhold that
song from public sale, and to give to an artist in the city of Chi-
cago, for instance, the right to sing it on the stage there. Nobody
else would have the right to sing a word of that song in public, so
long as the exclusive right had been given by the author to that
      Mr. CUMMINGS. Will the gentleman allow me a remark
right there? The song, '' Mamie, come kiss your honey boy," sung
by May Irwin, has brought to its author, as I read in the news-
papers, $50,000 in the form of royalties.
      Mr. COOPER, of Wisconsin. Exactly. In that way a song may
be sung into reputation and popularity all over the United States.
But if the owner of the copyright of a song wishes to sell it to the
music dealers in Chicago, in California, North and South Dakota,
North Carolina, and all the other States, then anyone who buys
the song from any one of those dealers buys it with the consent of
the owner of the copyright to the public or private performance
of the composition for profit or without profit. The distinction
which has been made seems to me to be perfectly good. And there
is no necessity whatever for the amendment of the gentleman from
      Mr. DRAPER. Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that this matter is
fully understood. I hope the amendment will not prevail. I ask
for a vote.
      Mr. LACEY. I ask for a division of the question upon my
amendment. The amendment embraces two propositions—first,
to strike out that part of the bill which proposes to make the
unlawful performance or representation of any dramatic or mu-
sical composition a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment.
The amendment further proposes to insert new language in place
of that which I move to strike out. I ask a division of the ques-
tion, so that members may have an opportunity to vote as an inde-
pendent proposition on the motion to strike out.
      The SPEAKER pro tempore. The first part of the amendment
will be read.
      The Clerk read as follows:

      Strike out all after the word "just," in line 14, down to and including the
word " year," in line 17, the part proposed to be struck out being as follows:
      "If the unlawful performance and representation be willful and for profit,
such person or persons shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon convic-
tion, be imprisoned for a period not exceeding one year."

      The question being taken, the motion was rejected; there being—
ayes 9, noes 52.
      The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is now on the
second branch of the amendment of the gentleman from Iowa,
which the Clerk will read.
      The Clerk read as follows:

      Insert after the word "just," in line 14, the following:
      The printing, publication, and sale of such dramatic or musical composi-
tion by the proprietor thereof shall be deemed sufficient consent to the public
performance or representation thereof."

      The question being taken, the amendment was rejected; there
being—ayes 10, noes 52.
      Mr. CONNOLLY rose.
      The SPEAKER. Has the gentleman from Massachusetts de-
manded the previous question?
      Mr. DRAPER. I have not. The gentleman from Illinois [Mr.
CONNOLLY] has an amendment to which the committee will agree.
      The SPEAKER. The amendment which the gentleman from
Illinois has sent up to the desk will be read.
      The Clerk read as follows:

      Amend by inserting after the word "granted," in line 17, the words " upon
hearing, after notice to the defendant."

      The question being taken.
      The SPEAKER. The noes seem to have it.
      Mr. CONNOLLY. I ask for a division. The chairman of the
committee is content with this amendment, I understand.
      The question being again taken, there were—ayes 43. noes 22.
      So the admendment was agreed to.
      Mr DRAPER. I now move the previous question.
The previous question was ordered; and under the operation
therefore the bill was ordered to a third reading, read the third
time, and passed.
      On motion of Mr. DRAPER, a motion to reconsider the last
vote was laid on the table.



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