( Originally Published 1918 )
Copyright is defined by the Act of Congress of 1874 as the liberty of printing, publishing, compiling, executing and vending any original book, map, chart, dramatic or musical composition, en-graving, print, photograph or negative thereof, or of a painting, drawing, chromo, statue or statuary and of models or designs intended to be perfected as works of art.
The object of such copyright is to encourage the writing of books or the production of anything that may conduce to the advancement of art and literature and the general improvement of mankind.
How to Obtain Copyright.—The best and the only safe way to go about the business of securing copyright is to write to The Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington, D. C., re-questing that you be furnished the blank forms and information that will enable you to make application for copyright covering an original work. Full and accurate information, directions and forms will be mailed to you immediately, free of charge. The rest will be easy.
A number of things are not eligible to copy-right ; for example, the words of an unpublished song. These things are enumerated in the information furnished by the copyright office.
The following requirements are prescribed by acts of Congress, approved March 4, 1909; August 24, 1912, and October 22, 1914, May 23, 1928, and effective July 1, 1928.
The Application for registration of copyright must specify to which of the following classes the work to be copyrighted belongs:
(a) Books, including composite and cyclopedic works, directories, gazetteers, and other compilations; (b) periodicals, including newspapers; (c) lectures, sermons, addresses prepared for oral delivery; (d) dramatic or dramatico-musical compositions; (e) musical compositions; (f) maps; (g) works of art; models or designs for works of art; (h) reproductions of a work of art; (i) drawings or plastic works of a scientific or technical character; (j) photographs; (k) prints and pictorial illustrations; (i) motion picture photo-plays; (m) motion pictures other than photo-plays.
Necessary Steps to Secure Registration,—For works reproduced in copies for sale: 1. The work must be published with copyright notice, which in case of books, etc., may be as follows: "Copyright, 19.., by " In case of articles embraced in classes f to k, inclusive, the notice may consist of the letter C inclosed within a circle, accompanied by the initials, monogram, mark or symbol of the copyright proprietor, provided his name appears elsewhere on the copies. 2. Promptly after publication of the work two copies of the best edition must be sent to the Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington, D. C., with application for registration.
In case of motion picture photo-plays and of motion pictures other than photo-plays, a description of the work must be filed and a money order payable to the Register of Copyrights for the statutory requisition fee of $2.00.
In case of books by American authors, or permanent residents of the United States, the copies deposited must be accompanied by an affidavit, under the official seal of an officer authorized to administer oaths, stating that the type-setting, printing, and binding of the book have been performed within the United States. Affidavit and application forms will be supplied by the copyright office on request.
Books of foreign origin in a language or languages other than English are not required to be manufactured in the United States. In the case of a book in the English language published abroad before publication in this country, an ad' interim copyright for 30 days from the day of the deposit of the foreign copy may be secured by depositing in the copyright office one complete copy of the foreign edition within 30 days after its publication abroad. If two copies of such book manufactured in this country are deposited with application for registration fee ($2.00) during the ad interim term, the copyright shall be extended for the full term of 28 years.
For works not reproduced in copies for sale : Copyright may also be had of certain classes of works (see a, b, c, below) of which copies are not reproduced for sale, by filing in the copyright office an application for registration, with the statutory fee of $1, sending therewith : (a) In the case of lectures or other oral addresses or of dramatic or musical composition, one complete manuscript or typewritten copy of the work. This privilege of registration, however, does not exempt the copyright proprietor from the deposit of printed copies of a dramatic or musical composition or lecture where the work is later re-produced in copies for sale. (b) In the case of photographs not intended for general circulation, one photographic print. (c) In the case of works of art (painting, drawings, sculpture) ; or of drawings or plastic works of a scientific or technical character, one photograph or other identifying reproduction of the work. In case of a motion picture photo-play, a title and description and one print taken from each scene or act. In case of a motion picture other than a photo-play, a title and description with not less than two prints to be taken from different sections of a complete motion picture. In all these cases, if the work is later reproduced in copies for sale, two copies must then be deposited.
Fees.—For registration of any work subject to copyright $2.00, which sum is to include a certificate of registration under seal. But only one registration at one fee is required in the case of several volumes of the same book deposited in the copyright office at the same time. For every additional certificate of registration, or copy of record under seal, $1.00. In the case of photographs the fee shall be $1.00 where a certificate is not requested. For recording and certifying an assignment of copyright, or for a certified copy of an assignment, $2.00, if the instrument is not over three hundred words in length.; if more than three hundred and less than one thousand words in length, $2.00; if more than one thousand words in length, $1.00 additional for each additional one thousand words or fraction there-of over three hundred words. For comparing a copy of an assignment with the record of such document in the copyright office and certifying the same under seal, $2.00. For recording the transfer of the proprietorship of copyright article, 10 cents for each title of a book or other article, in addition to the fee prescribed for recording the instrument of assignment. For recording an extension or renewal of copyright, $1.00. Remittances should be made by money order pay-able to the Register of Copyrights.
Duration of Copyright.—The original term for copyright runs for twenty-eight years. Within one year prior to the expiration of the original term, the author, if living, the widow or widower of the author, or the children of the author, if he be not living; or if none of these be living then the author's executors, or in the absence of a will, the author's next of kin may secure a renewal for a further term of twenty-eight years, making fifty-six years in all. In case of composite works, if the proprietor secured the original copyright, he may also secure the renewal.
Assignments.—Copyrights are assignable by any instrument of writing. Every assignment of copyright must be recorded in the copyright office within three calendar months after its execution in the United States or within six calendar months after its execution outside the limits of the United States, in default of which it shall be void as against any subsequent purchaser or mortgagee for a valuable consideration, without notice, whose assignment has been duly recorded. Every assignment of copyright executed in a foreign country must be acknowledged before a consular officer or secretary of legation of the United States authorized by law to administer oaths or perform notarial acts. The certificate of such acknowledgment under the hand and official seal of such consular officer or secretary of legation is prima facie evidence of the execution of the instrument.
Penalty for Wilful Infringement.—Any person who shall wilfully and for a profit infringe any copyright, or wilfully aid or abet such infringe-ment, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not exceeding one year or by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000, or both, in the discretion of the court.
Foreign Copyright.—Americans, to obtain a copyright in Great Britain, must have title entered at Stationer's Hall, London, the fee for which is five shillings sterling, and five shillings additional if a certified copy of entry is required.
The work must be published in Great Britain or in her dominions simultaneously with its publication in the United States, and five copies of the publication are required, one for the British Museum and four on demand of the Company of Stationers for four other libraries. Copyright may be secured in France by an American by publishing two copies of the publication at the Ministry of the Interior at Paris. No fee or entry title required. Copyright in Canada is to be registered with the Commissioner of Patents at Ottawa; fee, two dollars for registry and one dollar for certificate, and the work to be published in Canada and two copies deposited.