Page:United States Reports, Volume 209.djvu/44

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18
 
OCTOBER TERM, 1907.
 
209 U.S.
Holmes, J., concurring.

devices similar to those in use in the pianola. All these instruments were well known when these various copyright acts were passed. Can it be that it was the intention of Congress to permit them to be held as infringements and suppressed by injunctions?

After all, what is the perforated roll? The fact is clearly established in the testimony in this case that even those skilled in the making of these rolls are unable to read them as musical compositions, as those in staff notation are read by the performer. It is true that there is some testimony to the effect that great skill and patience might enable the operator to read his record as he could a piece of music written in staff notation. But the weight of the testimony is emphatically the other way, and they are not intended to be read as an ordinary piece of sheet music, which to those skilled in the art conveys, by reading, in playing or singing, definite impressions of the melody.

These perforated rolls are parts of a machine which, when duly applied and properly operated in connection with the mechanism to which they are adapted, produce musical tones in harmonious combination. But we cannot think that they are copies within the meaning of the copyright act.

It may be true that the use of these perforated rolls, in the absence of statutory protection, enables the manufacturers thereof to enjoy the use of musical compositions for which they pay no value. But such considerations properly address themselves to the legislative and not to the judicial branch of the Government. As the act of Congress now stands we believe it does not include these records as copies or publications of the copyrighted music involved in these cases.

The decrees of the Circuit Court of Appeals are

Affirmed.


Mr. Justice Holmes, concurring specially.

In view of the facts and opinions in this country and abroad to which my brother Day has called attention I do not feel