Page:United States Reports, Volume 209.djvu/39

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209 U.S.
Opinion of the Court.

“Conveying no meaning, then, to the eye of even an expert musician and wholly incapable of use save in and as a part of a machine specially adapted to make them give up the records which they contain, these prepared waxed cylinders can neither substitute the copyrighted sheets of music nor serve any purpose which is within their scope. In these respects there would seem to be no substantial difference between them and the metal cylinder of the old and familiar music box, and this, though in use at and before the passage of the copyright act, has not been regarded as infringing upon the copyrights of authors and publishers.”

The question came before the English courts in Boosey v. Whight (1899, 1 Ch. 836; 80 L. T. R. 561), and it was there held that these perforated rolls did not infringe the English copyright act protecting sheets of music. Upon appeal Lindley, Master of the Rolls, used this pertinent language (1900, 1 Ch. 122; 81 L. T. R. 265):

“The plaintiffs are entitled to copyright in three sheets of music. What does this mean? It means that they have the exclusive right of printing or otherwise multiplying copies of those sheets of music, i.e., of the bars, notes, and other printed words and signs on these sheets. But the plaintiffs have no exclusive right to the production of the sounds indicated by or on those sheets of music; nor to the performance in private of the music indicated by such sheets; nor to any mechanism for the production of such sounds or music.

“The plaintiff’s rights are not infringed except by an unauthorized copy of their sheets of music. We need not trouble ourselves about authority; no question turning on the meaning of that expression has to be considered in this case. The only question we have to consider is whether the defendants have copied the plaintiff’s sheets of music.

“The defendants have taken those sheets of music and have prepared from them sheets of paper with perforations in them, and these perforated sheets, when put into and used with properly constructed machines or instruments, will produce or