Page:Copyright, Its History And Its Law (1912).djvu/128

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96
COPYRIGHT

script, provided no one successfully disputes his ownership of his find, if the manuscript be copyrightable; but copyright is taken out by another person (as the publisher of the book), it is done impliedly in trust for the author, as is a usual custom among American publishers. The proprietor is defined to mean "the representative of an artist or author who might himself obtain copyright."

Claimant's
right to
register
The Register of Copyrights is not a quasi judicial officer, as is the Commissioner of Patents, and he does not undertake to make decision as to the right of the claimant, this question being one for determination by the courts in specific instances. In cases of doubt, however, he may in practice, for the sake of convenience and of clearness of record, call the attention of the claimant to such doubt and invite explanation, but he probably would not be justified in refusing to register the application for a claimant who asserted his right to such entry. A former Librarian of Congress, then directly the copyright officer, used to say that he would enter copyright for any one on the Bible in King James' version if formal application were made to him, thus emphasizing the statement that he had no judicial authority. In the case of Everson v. John Russell Young, then Librarian of Congress, Judge Cole in 1889, while refusing the mandamus asked for, asserted incidentally that "the Librarian had no discretion." Where a second application is made for the entry of the same copyrightable work by a second party, the copyright officer would not decline to register the second application, if the claimant insisted on his right, after the fact of the first registration had been brought to the second claimant's notice, and the question of ownership would have to be brought before the courts. It