SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
OCTOBER TERM, 1907.
APPEALS FROM AND CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT.
Nos. 110, 111.Argued January 16, 17, 1908.—Decided February 24, 1908.
While this court is not bound under the doctrine of stare decisis by the decisions of lower Federal courts which have not been reviewed by this court, as to the construction of a Federal statute, or by the decisions of the highest courts of foreign countries construing similar statutes of those countries, where all of such decisions express the same views on the subject involved, the omission of Congress, when subsequently amending the statute, to specifically legislate concerning that subject may be regarded by this court as an acquiescence by Congress in the judicial construction so given to the statute.
While the United States is not a party to the Berne Copyright Convention of 1886, this court will hesitate to construe the copyright act as amended March 3, 1891, in such manner that foreign authors and composers can obtain advantages in this country which, according to that convention, are denied to our citizens abroad.
What is included within the protection of the copyright statute depends upon the construction of the statute itself, as the protection given to copyright in this country is wholly statutory.
The amendment of § 4966, Rev. Stat., by the act of January 6, 1897, 29 Stat. 481, providing penalties for infringements of copyrighted dramatic or musical compositions, did not enlarge the meaning of previous and unamended sections.
A “copy” of a musical composition within the meaning of the copyright