Page:United States Reports, Volume 209.djvu/42

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209 U.S.
Opinion of the Court.

When we turn to the consideration of the act it seems evident that Congress has dealt with the tangible thing, a copy of which is required to be filed with the Librarian of Congress, and wherever the words are used (copy or copies) they seem to refer to the term in its ordinary sense of indicating reproduction or duplication of the original. Section 4956 (3 U.S. Comp. Stat. 3407) provide that two copies of a book, map, chart or musical composition, etc., shall be delivered at the office of the Librarian of Congress. Notice of copyright must be inserted in the several copies of every edition published, if a book, or if a musical composition, etc., upon some visible portion thereof. Section 4962, Copyright Act, 3 U.S. Comp. Stat. 3411. Section 4965 (3 U. S. Comp. Stat. 3414) provides in part that the infringer “shall forfeit every sheet thereof, and one dollar for every sheet of the same found in his possession,” etc., evidently referring to musical compositions in sheets. Throughout the act it is apparent that Congress has dealt with the concrete and not with an abstract right of property in ideas or mental conceptions.

We cannot perceive that the amendment of § 4966 by the act of January 6, 1897, c. 4, 29 Stat. 481 (3 U.S. Comp. Stat. 3415), providing a penalty for any person publicly performing or representing any dramatic or musical composition for which a copyright has been obtained, can have the effect of enlarging the meaning of the previous sections of the act which were not changed by the amendment. The purpose of the amendment evidently was to put musical compositions on the footing of dramatic compositions so as to prohibit their public performance. There is no complaint in this case of the public performance of copyrighted music; nor is the question involved whether the manufacturers of such perforated music rolls when sold for use in public performance might be held as contributing infringers. This amendment was evidently passed for the specific purpose referred to, and is entitled to little consideration in construing the meaning of the terms of the act theretofore in force.