Subject: 1998CRH1456A COPYRIGHT TERM EXTENSION ACT, Part 1/4
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Organization: The House of Representatives
[Congressional Record: March 25, 1998 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
COPYRIGHT TERM EXTENSION ACT
Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules,
I call up House Resolution 390 and ask for its immediate consideration.
The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:
H. Res. 390
Resolved, That at any time after the adoption of this
resolution the Speaker may, pursuant to clause 1(b) of rule
XXIII, declare the House resolved into the Committee of the
Whole House on the state of the Union for consideration of
the bill (H.R. 2589) to amend the provisions of title 17,
United States Code, with respect to the duration of
copyright, and for other purposes. The first reading of the
bill shall be dispensed with. General debate shall be
confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally
divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority
member of the Committee on the Judiciary. After general
debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the
five-minute rule. It shall be in order to consider as an
original bill for the purpose of amendment under the five-
minute rule the amendment in the nature of a substitute
recommended by the Committee on the Judiciary now printed in
the bill. The committee amendment in the nature of a
substitute shall be considered as read. No amendment to the
committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be in
order unless printed in the portion of the Congressional
Record designated for that purpose in clause 6 of rule XXIII.
Points of order against the amendment printed in the
Congressional Record and numbered 1 pursuant to clause 6 of
rule XXIII for failure to comply with clause 7 of rule XVI
are waived. The chairman of the Committee of the Whole may:
(1) postpone until a time during further consideration in the
Committee of the Whole a request for a recorded vote on any
amendment; and (2) reduce to five minutes the minimum time
for electronic voting on any postponed question that follows
another electronic vote without intervening business,
provided that the minimum time for electronic voting on the
first of any series of questions shall be 15 minutes. At the
conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the
Committee shall rise and report the bill to the House with
such amendments as may have been adopted. Any Member may
demand a separate vote in the House on any amendment adopted
in the Committee of the Whole to the bill or to the committee
amendment in the nature of a substitute. The previous
question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and
amendments thereto to final passage without intervening
motion except one motion to recommit with or without
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Shimkus). The gentleman from Florida
(Mr. Diaz-Balart) is recognized for 1 hour.
Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield
the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Frost),
pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume. During
consideration of this resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose
of debate only.
Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 390 is a modified open rule providing
for the consideration of H.R. 2589, the Copyright Term Extension Act.
The purpose of this legislation is to extend the term of copyright
protection in all copyrighted works, that have not fallen into the
public domain, by 20 years.
House Resolution 390 provides for 1 hour of general debate to be
equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority
member of the Committee on the Judiciary.
The rule makes in order the amendment in the nature of a substitute
recommended by the Committee on the Judiciary as an original bill for
the purpose of amendment and provides that it will be considered as
The rule further provides that first-degree amendments must be
preprinted in the Congressional Record. This will facilitate their
prompt consideration. Last Wednesday, March 18, the chairman of the
Committee on Rules announced on the House floor that the rule for the
copyright extension bill may require the preprinting of amendments. I
believe that this was ample notice to Members who are interested in
offering amendments on this measure.
In 1995, the European Union extended the copyright term for all of
its member states by 20 years, from life of the author plus 50 years to
life of the author plus 70 years. Therefore, this is not a new issue.
As the leader in the export of intellectual property, I think it is
important that the United States extend the copyright term as well.
The rule waives points of order against the amendment by the
gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner) printed in the
Congressional Record and numbered 1 for failure to comply with clause 7
of rule XVI which prohibits nongermane amendments. The Sensenbrenner
amendment involves an issue that has some degree of controversy,
dealing with songwriters, restaurants and small businesses. However, to
be fair to those with other viewpoints on the issue, it will be
possible for Members who wish to amend the Sensenbrenner amendment to
be able to do so without any special protections.
In addition, the rule provides for the Chairman of the Committee of
the Whole to postpone votes during the consideration of the bill and to
reduce votes to 5 minutes on a postponed question if the vote follows a
Finally, Mr. Speaker, the rule provides for one motion to recommit,
with or without instructions.
Mr. Speaker, I believe House Resolution 390 is fair rule. It is a
modified open rule for the consideration of H.R. 2589, the Copyright
Term Extension Act. I believe the underlying bill is very important. As
for the music issue, I think Members will have the opportunity to vote
for the amendment by the gentleman from Wisconsin or alternatives
proposed by other Members. I think this is a judicious way to handle
the issue. I urge my colleagues to support this rule.
I commend the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde) and the gentleman
from North Carolina (Mr. Coble) for their hard work on H.R. 2589 and
would urge my colleagues to support both this open rule and the
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 390 is a fair rule. I
urge its adoption.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in reluctant support of this rule, but I do
support H.R. 2589, the Copyright Term Extension Act. H.R. 2589 seeks to
provide important protections for American copyright holders in the
world marketplace. This legislation will extend the term of
copyright protection for works created after January 1, 1978, for life
of the author plus 70 years after death, bringing this protection into
line with the standard in the European Union. This is an especially
important protection for U.S. intellectual property since this parity
will ensure that American works will receive copyright protection equal
to that received in European countries for European-produced
intellectual property. Because European countries are huge markets for
U.S. intellectual property, this protection is worth hundreds of
millions of dollars for works produced by Americans.
Mr. Speaker, this rule allows only for the consideration of any
germane amendments to the committee substitute which has been printed
in the Congressional Record. There is no reason for the preprinting
requirement since the underlying bill is relatively free of
controversy, and it is for that reason that I only reluctantly support
this rule. However, the rule also provides for consideration of a
nongermane amendment by the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr.
Sensenbrenner) by waiving the provisions of clause 5, rule XVI against
it. Further, the rule does allow for the consideration of germane
amendments to the Sensenbrenner amendment, and it is anticipated that
the gentleman from Florida (Mr. McCollum) and the gentleman from
Michigan (Mr. Conyers) will offer a substitute to the Sensenbrenner
amendment. Because these amendments relate to music licensing and not
directly to the issue of copyright protection extension, the
germaneness waiver is necessary.
In order that the House may proceed to consider this important
legislation, Members should support this rule. In the future, however,
I would hope that open rules might be truly open and not bound by
unnecessary preprinting requirements.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished
gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner).
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida
for giving me this 2 minutes, and also thank the chairman of the
Committee on Rules, the gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon) for
providing this open rule containing a waiver which may be necessary to
protect a process supported by the chairman, the gentleman from
Illinois (Mr. Hyde), and subcommittee chairman, the gentleman from
North Carolina (Mr. Coble), and the leadership of the House. The rule
guarantees this body the opportunity to provide balance to the
underlying bill, the Copyright Term Extension Act, with a modest
package of relief for America's small business.
The supporters of fairness in music licensing, which is the subject
of my amendment, believe it complements the Copyright Term Extension
Act quite fittingly. The underlying bill extends the term of copyright
for an additional 20 years, thereby permitting copyright owners to
continue to commercially exploit works that are beginning to fall into
the public domain.
My amendment suggests the need to balance this generous expansion of
rights, which the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Frost) estimates to be
worth hundreds of millions of dollars for copyright owners, with a set
of reforms designed to level the playing field for the users of
Again, I thank the Committee on Rules for offering this open rule
enabling a fair debate and an up-or-down vote on my amendment.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Texas
Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Speaker, the Copyright Term Extension Act makes an
important correction in our existing law to ensure that the
intellectual property of artists across this land is protected, that it
is not raided and misappropriated by people around the world to their
benefit, without compensation to the original owner.
It is therefore particularly contradictory and ironic that this rule
will attach and permit attachment to this protection of intellectual
property, what many people have come to call the Music Theft Act, a
measure that is a separate freestanding piece of legislation that has
nothing to do with copyright extension, but is being attached to the
most convenient vehicle to steal the intellectual property of thousands
of small businesspeople who are song writers in this land.
This Music Theft Act is based on a very simple premise: If one cannot
get someone else's property for free, then pass a law to allow them to
steal it from them. It is particularly ironic that this Music Theft Act
is being considered here on the floor of Congress at a time when we
have just completed the great South By Southwest Music Festival that
pulled together hundreds, indeed thousands of people interested in the
music industry and what it contributes to the enjoyment of life here in
America and how it spreads our American culture literally around the
In my home city, the city of Austin, Texas, where that South By
Southwest Music Festival pulled people from around the world to enjoy
and build on the success of our music capital, our claim to be the
``loud music capital of the world,'' we have hundreds of songwriters
who are small businesspeople who rely on the income that they earn from
their songwriting to support themselves. They work hard creating a
product that all of us enjoy, and when someone else uses or enjoys
their product, they expect to make a profit just like any other
business. When Joe Ely or Shaun Colvin or Tish Hinojosa go downtown to
play at a club, they do not do it for free. That is how they earn their
living. And the same thing ought to apply when music is being broadcast
by one of those artists in a restaurant. If a business owner is using a
song writer's property to help that business, then it ought to
compensate the person that provides, that provided the benefit to them,
the songwriter who is responsible for creating the work.
Let us be real clear about what we are discussing. The songwriter's
property is just that; it is property every bit as real as a trade
name, every bit as real as the script for a movie or for a new book,
every bit as real as a new phone system or a copying machine. Music is
the property of the songwriter who created it. And when music helps
attract people to a restaurant, and that is what this is all about is
the desire of the National Restaurant Association to take someone
else's property for free, they may not offer any free lunch around
America but they are willing to take for free the property of someone
else to help them promote their profits in the restaurants.
Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes had it right when he
wrote many years ago ``It is true that music is not the sole object,
but neither is the food. . . . The object is a repast in surroundings
that give a luxurious pleasure not to be had from eating a silent meal.
If music did not pay, it would be given up . . . Whether it pays or
not, the purpose of employing it,'' the music, ``is profit, and that is
And that is what is at stake here today, the right of thousands of
small businesspeople who are creative, who write music, to earn an
income from doing so.
Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to a distinguished
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Scarborough).
Mr. SCARBOROUGH. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me
the time, and it may surprise and scare the gentleman from Texas (Mr.
Doggett) but I actually agree with him on this issue and he is shocked.
I agree with him on several issues: on South By Southwest; it is an
incredible festival. But more importantly, I agree about what he is
talking about are property rights, and I think it is very interesting.
It is usually us Republicans hurling charges at Democrats, saying that
they do not respect property rights enough and that they are Socialists
because they believe the government and others can intervene in their
own property rights. And yet I find it to be very, very ironic today,
as we come to the floor and debate a bill that is going to gut the
property rights of artists, that apparently the belief on the amendment
actually is the belief that property rights are only important if there
are supporters' property rights.
I think the gentleman talked about Shaun Colvin, a young songwriter.
Last night she performed in Washington, D.C. She is 5 months pregnant,
won a Grammy; she is still struggling. She is not rich, she is not
wealthy; and there is going to be an attempt to make these musicians
out to be rich and famous rock star types. They are not.
There are a lot of struggling people who have been working 15, 20, 30
years, working their entire life to build property, intellectual
property that is every bit as dear to them as real property in our
districts. And so for us to just gut their ability to earn a living
because of problems they have done is absolutely ridiculous.
So I thank the gentleman for his statements, and I am greatly
distressed that apparently some people in this Chamber only respect the
property rights of nonsupporters.
Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. SCARBOROUGH. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Speaker, I am so pleased to see that not all of the
concern for music on the Republican side is expressed by the singing
Senators and that there are other musicians and lovers of music on the
Republican side that recognize this is basically a property rights
Mr. SCARBOROUGH. This is an issue that was very important to Sonny
Bono, and in fact is one of the issues that he talked about the most
when he was here on Capitol Hill, because Sonny understood, he had been
struggling his whole life to create songs, to create something that
mattered, that would have a lasting impact, that is going to last long
after Sonny has been gone. And so it is not just myself, Sonny
recognized it, there are other people who recognize that if we are for
property rights, real property rights, we should be for intellectual
property rights too.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I urge adoption of the rule, and I yield back
the balance of my time.
Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of our time,
and I move the previous question on the resolution.
The previous question was ordered.
The resolution was agreed to.
A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Shimkus). Pursuant to House Resolution
390 and rule XXIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of
the Whole House on the State of the Union for the consideration of the
bill, H.R. 2589.
The Chair designates the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Everett) as
Chairman of the Committee of the Whole, and requests the gentleman from
Florida (Mr. Diaz-Balart) to assume the Chair temporarily.
In the Committee of the Whole
Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the
Whole House on the State of the Union for the consideration of the bill
H.R. 2589 to amend the provisions of title 17, United States Code, with
respect to the duration of copyright, and for other purposes, with Mr.
Diaz-Balart (Chairman pro tempore) in the chair.
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the bill is
considered as having been read the first time.
Under the rule, the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Coble) and the
gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Frank) each will control 30 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Coble).
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the bill, H.R. 2589, the Copyright
Term Extension Act, reported by the Committee on the Judiciary by voice
vote, without objection. This important and significant bill will give
to the United States economy 20 more years of foreign sales, revenues
from books, movies, records, and software products sold abroad.
We are, Mr. Chairman, by far the world's largest producers of
copyrighted works, and the copyright industries give us one of our most
significant trade surpluses.
Our most valuable economic resource is no longer our industrial power
and natural resources, but the creative potential of the minds of our
While our creativity holds America's greatest promise for the future,
it is also our most fragile commodity, fragile because while difficult
and expensive to produce and market, it is relatively easy and
inexpensive to copy and to use for free.
We must ensure that foreign markets are open to our intellectual
property exports, and just as importantly, that our copyright
industries be given reciprocity and the opportunity to compete. That is
what this bill is all about, Mr. Chairman.
The European Union countries, pursuant to a directive, have adopted
domestic laws which would protect their own works for 20 years more
than they protect American works. This bill would correct that by
granting to United States works the same amount of protection which,
under international agreements, requires reciprocity.
Under the current law, most works receive copyright protection for
the life of the author plus 50 years. In the case of works made for
hire, such as a movie, the copyright term typically endures for a
period of 75 years from the year of its publication.
H.R. 2589 would bring the term of copyright protection from the life
of the author plus 50 years to the life of the author plus 70 years and
of works made for hire from 75 to 95 years from the date of
Trade surpluses are not the only benefit of term extension. It is
also good for consumers. When works are protected by copyright, they
attract investors who can exploit the work for profit. That, in turn,
brings the work to the consumer who may enjoy it at a movie theater, at
a home, in a car, or in a retail establishment. Without that
exploitation, a work may lie dormant, never to be discovered or
Now, of course, copyright protection should be for a limited time
only. Perpetual protection does not benefit society. But extending the
term to allow a property owner to hand that property down to his or her
children or grandchildren is certainly appropriate, it seems to me, and
grants the benefits of exploitation for that limited time.
I urge all my colleagues, Mr. Chairman, to vote yes on this
bipartisan, noncontroversial legislation.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself as much time
as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I am delighted to appear, along with the gentleman from
North Carolina, chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual
Property. I should note that this bill is also strongly supported by
the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on the Judiciary.
The responsibility to protect intellectual property is a very
important one. As the gentleman from North Carolina has indicated,
there are both cultural and economic reasons for doing so. The cultural
reasons are probably more familiar to people, so we stress sometimes in
this debate the economic reasons, not because we think the cultural
reasons are less important, but the economic reasons are not always
In an evolving world economy, there are areas where Americans will do
less than they have in the past. We will make unsophisticated products
in far less amounts than we used to in an internationally competitive
world. We all know that. People can lament it, people can support it,
but it is an unchangeable fact. There is simply not going to be in the
future, as there already has been, a diminution in American products of
a relatively simple and uncomplicated era.
On the other hand, America's comparative advantage in the world has
been growing in the intellectual property area. We not only enrich much
of the rest of the world culturally, but we enrich ourselves
economically by the production of songs and movies and a whole range of
Much of our effort is, in fact, to protect our intellectual property
against theft overseas. Members are familiar with this in the cases of
piracy and counterfeiting. What we do here is to try to make sure, in
part, that the people who do the actual creation share in these riches.
And they are not people who are in the multibillion dollar category
exclusively and, in fact, not even primarily.
Frankly, for the wealthiest of the creators and performers, the
additional copyright term is relatively unimportant. This becomes
important precisely for those who make a living as a song writer, but
do not get rich at it, who make a living in these areas. What we do
here is to enhance the stream of income that goes to support their
One part of this bill that is particularly important, that was worked
out in a bipartisan way, in fact, says, in cases where the creative
person, the song writer, the artist, the writer of the book, where for
a variety of reasons that person may have signed away some of his or
her rights, to the extent that we are creating a new set of values here
in this 20-year extension, we have urged that this be renegotiated and
that the creators be given a share of the additional 20 years. We will
be monitoring that carefully. I am confident that we will see the
creator is better treated.
Yes, many people write songs and write books because of their love of
the creative process. Love of the creative process is a great thing.
But great as it is, it is kind of hard to support a family on it. It is
kind of hard to sustain that.
What we are saying is, we want to encourage creativity, not simply as
a hobby, not simply as something that people who are independently
wealthy can do on their own time, but as a way for people to earn a
living to support themselves and their families.
This bill is an important step precisely for those who are not in the
wealthy category, precisely for those who are trying to earn a living
day-to-day by writing songs, by writing books. This enhances their
ability, and it particularly is relevant when we talk about the 20-year
extension, about their obligation that they feel to deal with their
We are talking here about people earning and then being able to
transfer to their families, to later generations, this kind of writing.
It is a very important piece of legislation.
There is an overwhelming consensus on the part of the Committee on
the Judiciary, which as some of you might have noticed is not always
united. The Committee on the Judiciary has, indeed, recently been
overdescribed as a source of contention and as a place for fighting.
I must say that, having served on the Committee on the Judiciary for
18 years, I have yet to see the first pie thrown. I keep reading with
some disappointment that it is a locus for food fights. They seem to
have them when I am absent. I am going to insist that I be invited to
the next one; I have got my own seltzer bottle, and I am ready to come.
But precisely because the Committee on the Judiciary is composed of
people who are prepared to engage in the most vigorous democratic
debate when issues divide us, I think it is noteworthy that here there
is an overwhelming consensus that for cultural reasons, for economic
reasons, as a matter of fairness, as the gentleman from Florida was
saying as I came in, we have come forward with a bill that protects the
right of the creative people in our society, who so enrich the rest of
us, to benefit some from that creativity.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Massachusetts for
his opening statement.
Mr. Chairman, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr.
Sensenbrenner), a member of the Committee on the Judiciary.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chairman, today I rise in support of H.R.
2589, the Copyright Term Extension Act, if, and only if, my amendment
to ensure fairness in music licensing passes.
H.R. 2589 provides a very generous windfall to the entertainment
industry by extending the term of copyright for an additional 20 years.
That is 20 years more that they can commercially exploit works that
would otherwise fall into the public domain.
Mr. Chairman, the Constitution I read suggests the need for balanced
intellectual property rights between its creators and users. When the
mechanisms designed to ensure that balance are broken, it is the duty
of Congress to act.
Passage of the amendment which I will offer later on today will
provide that balance. It sends the message that the voice of the tavern
keeper in Boston, Massachusetts, Greensboro, North Carolina, or
Milwaukee, Wisconsin is just as important as the parade of celebrities
that Hollywood has trotted out to support expanding its rights by
passing term extension and oppose my efforts to enact the modest
reforms I seek for small business.
The amendment which I will offer is a compromise version of my
legislation, H.R. 789, the Fairness in Music Licensing Act and is a key
vote for the NFIB, the National Restaurant Association, the National
Association of Beverage Retailers, and the many other small business
They support my amendment because it ensures fairness by providing
for local arbitration of rate disputes, so small businesses do not have
to go to New York City and hire an expensive attorney to contest a rate
that may involve several hundred dollars.
They support my amendment because it prevents small businesses from
being forced to pay every music licensing society a fee for music
already paid for several times over.
Let me make this point: Under my amendment, nobody gets a free ride.
The creators of intellectual property are paid. My amendment only
provides for the exemption for a retailer who has a TV set on or a
radio set on where the creators of the intellectual property have
already been paid a licensing fee by the TV or radio station or the
other broadcast media.
We should stop the double-dipping, and we should stop the harassment
of small business operators over the type of programming that they have
no control over. It does not provide an exemption for tapes or CDs or
live music performances such as has been described earlier.
The same groups oppose a window-dressing amendment to be offered
later on today by the gentleman from Florida (Mr. McCollum). That
amendment is unanimously opposed by America's small businesses because
it reflects a rejected proposal from failed negotiations. It contains
no local arbitration, and it excludes the vast majority of America's
small businesses from any relief from the music-licensing monopolies.
Make no mistake, the McCollum substitute to my amendment is the music
monopolies' amendment. The McCollum-ASCAP-BMI substitute is a key vote,
no, by the same groups I just identified in support of my amendment.
Next time, Mr. Chairman, you walk down Main Street in a town in your
district, walk with your head held high knowing that you did the right
thing for small business. Do not cozy up to the same folks who have
been abusing small businesses in your district and mine for years by
supporting the McCollum amendment, because it substitutes the interest
of Main Street for the interest of the music monopolies.
In the name of balance and support for Main Street U.S.A., vote no on
McCollum and yes on Sensenbrenner.
The CHAIRMAN. The Chair now recognizes the gentleman from
Massachusetts (Mr. Delahunt) as the new controller of time for the
Mr. DELAHUNT. Mr. Chairman, I yield as much time as he may consume to
the gentleman from California (Mr. Berman).
Mr. BERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Massachusetts
for yielding me this time.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the bill H.R. 2589,
Copyright Term Extension. As I believe my colleagues know, Congress is
obliged under the Constitution to protect intellectual property or, to
be precise, to secure for limited times to authors the exclusive right
to their respective writings.
My colleagues may be less familiar, however, with the fact that the
U.S. also has international obligations to protect copyright. In 1989,
the United States, in a long-overdue move, became a member of the Berne
Convention, the century-old international treaty mandating copyright
rules for member countries. Under the ``rule of the shorter term,''
member countries are only obliged to protect the work of foreign
authors to the same extent that they would be protected in their
country of origin.
Herein lies the problem. Under current U.S. law, copyright term for
most works is life of the author plus 50 years. For works made for
hire, such as motion pictures, the term is 75 years. However, in 1995,
the European Union extended copyright term by 20 years. If we fail to
extend our copyright term as well, our intellectual property industry
would lose millions of dollars in export revenues, and the U.S. balance
of trade would suffer commensurately.
European Union countries would not have to extend to American works
the additional 20-year protection that they have already extended to
European works. This is an outcome we can and must prevent by passing
Later in the debate we will be addressing an amendment that I
strenuously oppose, to be offered by the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr.
Sensenbrenner). That amendment would do great harm to the integrity of
copyright law, and I will speak to it at the appropriate time.
But I do not want us to lose sight of the significance of H.R. 2589
to America's intellectual property interests, both at home and abroad.
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Chairman, how much time does each side have remaining?
The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Everett). The gentleman from North Carolina has
21\1/2\ minutes, and the gentleman from Massachusetts has 22\1/2\
Mr. COBLE. I thank the Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I yield 10 minutes to the gentleman from Florida (Mr.
Mr. SCARBOROUGH. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me
this time. I certainly agree with the gentleman that H.R. 2589 is very
important for the copyright protection of this country. However, and I
will speak to this issue a little bit later on during the debate of the
Sensenbrenner amendment, but a few things were said that need to be
The gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner) talked about how the
McCollum music machine amendment would abuse small businesses. He
talked about fairness in music licensing. He talked about ``a
windfall.'' He talked about ``commercial exploitation.''
Now, we talk about double-speak; who is using the property rights of
whom to sell beer, to sell food, to sell products in the taverns that
he spoke about in Anytown, USA? My restaurant owners in northwest
Florida certainly understand the importance of music in setting a mood
in a tavern, in setting a mood in a restaurant. They also understand
what would happen if they turned the music off. Mr. Chairman, that is
the choice they all have if they do not want to use a product.
And I hear this talk that somehow supporting property rights now is
anti-small business. I was elected by small business. Some of my
biggest supporters throughout northwest Florida own small restaurants
and own nightclubs, and own other things that come under this bill, and
they all understand that what sells their product is the mood that they
The gentleman from Texas was talking about how music was a backdrop.
It is. It is a backdrop for these small businesses. Not only is it the
sound track of our lives and of the movies that we watch, but it is
also the restaurants that we go into. It sets the mood. And yet, we
have an amendment to this very, very important bill that would
absolutely gut the right of those people that are making the property
that helps people set the moods to sell the products in these small
businesses that are extraordinarily important to me.
Let me state again the backbone of my political support comes from
small businesses, not from PACs, certainly not from unions, not from
people who want more regulation, and not from people who want this
Congress to interfere in goodwill negotiations. My people, my
supporters, are small business people that talk about property rights,
and they do not talk about property rights only when it suits them
politically. They talk about property rights for everybody.
Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. SCARBOROUGH. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, if I understand what the gentleman is
saying, then if someone develops a very successful restaurant and they
think it contributes to have some music playing there, they do not
expect to get the electricity for free, they do not expect to get the
recording device for free, but some of them apparently think that they
can take the property of the song writer and get that for free.
Mr. SCARBOROUGH. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I do not think it
is they. I think it is a very small number of people in Washington,
D.C. Because again, people that own the restaurants in my district
understand. I have talked to them about this. I would not come on the
floor without talking to people that support me.
They understand, if one pays for the carpet to set a mood and one
pays for the wallpaper to set a mood and one pays for the lighting to
set a mood, they also understand the most important thing, again, in
music is the property rights.
Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman will continue to yield,
if one of those successful restaurants in the gentleman's district has
a famous name, I could not take that name and open up right next door
without stealing their property, could I?
Mr. SCARBOROUGH. Mr. Chairman, the gentleman is exactly right.
Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, is that not the same thing as stealing the
works of people that have devoted significant time to creating
something we all enjoy?
Mr. SCARBOROUGH. Again, reclaiming my time, it certainly does, and I
remember hearing Sonny Bono talk about this, hearing him over and over
again. He wrote us Dear Colleague letters, he talked about it nonstop.
Everybody has this image of Sonny Bono as some guy that just sort of
stumbled into 7 or 8 gold records, that he just somehow, in the late
1960s stumbled into 7 gold records and a number 1 and number 2 TV show
that he produced. That is not the case.
Sonny told me his story, because we were on the Committee on National
Security together. He told me his basically hard-luck story about going
out to Los Angeles in the late 1950s, about working hard around the
clock. I do not know how many people here know who Phil Spector is, but
he ran around doing errands for Phil Spector, getting coffee, emptying
his garbage can, do everything he could do, writing songs, to get an
opportunity to make a little bit of money.
What Sonny told me then was, he said, the great thing is now, it is
something that is going to help my kids. Sonny did not realize just how
pathetic his words were going to be, to help his kids a lot sooner
unfortunately than any of Sonny's friends would have liked it to be.
Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. SCARBOROUGH. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, so what the gentleman is saying is, most
of the song writers in America, they do not begin their careers at the
Grammy's or in the movies or on television. It is hard work, and for
every Sonny Bono, there are thousands of other song writers out there
that are song-writing on the side, and they are out maybe working for
one of the small businesses whose misguided association has promoted
Mr. SCARBOROUGH. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, the gentleman is
Last night, again I met one of the gentleman's constituents, Shawn
Colvin. Now, Shawn Colvin just won a Grammy, and everybody thinks she
is at the top of the world because she won the Grammy. I saw her last
night, she was in a dressing room.
Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman would continue to yield,
the gentleman has good taste, better than I realized.
Mr. SCARBOROUGH. Mr. Chairman, again reclaiming my time, she was in a
dressing room smaller than the bathroom of many Members in the Rayburn
Building, and I will guarantee, she will not make as much money as a
song writer as any Member in this Chamber today.
I wrote down the words, when we are hearing about music machine and
Hollywood stars and blah, blah, blah, I mean this sort of rhetoric to
make this thing seem, gee, this is going to really help the wealthy
people. It is not going
to help the wealthy people. They are going to be making the majority of
their money on other things, on videos, selling the CDs.
This helps the people like Ms. Colvin who is 5 months pregnant, who
certainly, if she was wealthy, would be sitting at home watching TV
instead of running around trying to make a little bit of money. This
helps Ms. Colvin, and this helps other people that are struggling to
get by so that they can work, so that they can devote their life to
creating artistic works that enhance the quality of life for all of us.
Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield further?
Mr. SCARBOROUGH. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, I want to extend an invitation to the
gentleman to come down to Austin, Texas, at some time other than the
campaign season, of course, and enjoy her where she sounds the best.
But whether we have Shawn Colvin on the radio or Jerry Jeff Walker or
any other fine artist from down there in central Texas, the average
cost of using that kind of music. To the small business, when they talk
about balance, it is only about a buck and a half a day; is it not?
Mr. SCARBOROUGH. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, it is very
minimal. I have to say again, I want to finish how I began because
people seeing the gentleman from Texas and I go back and forth talking,
it might scare some of my natural constituents.
I am a friend of small restaurant owners, I am a friend of small
businesses. My voting record over 3 or 4 years has shown that. In fact,
I think the gentleman has called me a right-wing extremist because of a
lot of my votes on less taxes and less regulation, less Federal
spending. But I also recognize that small business people are people
that are song writers, they are people that are doing things that may
not fit our national constituency, and they deserve protection as much
as landowners deserve protection.
If we want to talk about something that really hits home with me in
my district, because I am always fighting for property rights, stopping
extremists from coming in and having improper takings, I think we can
apply that to this situation where we have an amendment in the
Sensenbrenner amendment that constitutes nothing less than an improper
taking; and where there is a taking, there needs to be just and full
compensation, and our Constitution says that. That is why I think this
does violence to the Constitution's provision and the Fifth Amendment.
It talks about eminent domain, it talks about just taking, it talks
about property rights.
That is why I think the far more sensible approach is the approach
taken by the distinguished gentleman from Florida (Mr. McCollum). I
will be supporting his amendment. I ask every single Republican and
Democrat that cares about property rights, that cares about small
business owners, that cares about the things that we have been talking
about we care about for the past 4 years to support Chairman McCollum
on his amendment when it comes up later on, because it is the wise, the
Mr. DELAHUNT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume
to say that listening to the colloquy between the gentleman from
Florida and the gentleman from Texas, I do not know how, but it might
be appropriate to redesignate the bill before us as the Sonny Bono Act.
Mr. Chairman, I yield as much time as he may consume to the gentleman
from Texas (Mr. Doggett).
Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding to me.
Last week at the Austin Music Awards down at the South by Southwest
Music Gathering, we had people from all over the world, and of course
we had to spotlight a little local talent, so the band that was playing
is Ray Benson's Asleep At the Wheel, and I think what the gentleman
from Florida and I are trying to do, from very different, perhaps,
political perspectives on some other issues, is to be sure that this
Congress is not asleep at the wheel today.
Mr. Chairman, the basic thrust of the legislation that we are
debating today is very positive. We are saying that whether one is an
author or one is a music artist, that one's property ought not to be
stolen in China or in Europe or someplace else where people take
advantage and pirate American works. It is a major problem. This
Copyright Extension Act is basically sound legislation that tries to
protect the creative work of the American people wherever it might be
used around the globe.
But as we reach out to protect our citizens around the globe, we have
a group, a special interest group that has come in here to the Congress
and said, well, we want to hang on a little amendment to this, and our
little amendment is something called the Musical Fairness Act. We
cannot get it passed on its own, but we want to stick it on this good
bill and kind of put it in there.
It reminds me of another one of our Austin song writers, the late
Stevie Ray Vaughn. To call this the Fairness in Musical Licensing Act
is to remind me of that line from his song called the Garden of White
Lies, ``They are pulling wool over our eyes,'' because that is what
this is all about.
It is about pulling wool over our eyes, as we consider a good bill,
to tack on a very bad bill that could not pass on its own because it
basically is contrary to a long series of American court decisions and
American recognition that just because one cannot touch property, a
trade name, a musical work does not mean it is not very real property
that deserves to be protected by our Congress. And those who would
steal this property know that they cannot get away with it under our
existing law, so they want it legalized in the amendment that is being
Most of the people that are going to be hurt by this musical theft
amendment are not even full-time songwriters. They work for small
businesses and large businesses across this country, and on the side
they apply their creativity talent. Less than 10 percent of the
American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers earn their
living full-time from the music that we all enjoy. They are only
getting a little supplemental income and hoping that one day they can
become a Sonny Bono, or they can become a Willie Nelson.
The small compensation that current law requires of those that use
that music to pay is modest, indeed, compared to the benefit they
derive. It has been estimated that it costs about $1.58 a day to get
the benefits of all of those members of the American Society of
Goodness, do you know in Austin, Texas, you cannot even get a bowl of
tostados and a little guacamole on the side while you are enjoying this
music for $1.58. It is not unreasonable to ask that there be some
compensation to encourage the kinds of musical genius that we have, not
only in Austin but across this land.
I have heard from literally hundreds of musicians in this country,
many of them, of course, from Texas, who have urged the defeat of this
Musical Theft Act, and who recognized that it represents a deprivation
of private property rights.
It is so ironic that some of the people who have spoken out in favor
of private property rights on this floor would now authorize the taking
of private rights from the musicians that create so much of what adds
to the quality of our life, and obviously, flows to the benefit of
people, regardless of the party label that they wear when they come on
As with any debate, there is room for some middle ground. Indeed,
there have been extensive negotiations over this issue, trying to reach
a reasonable balance. A reasonable balance is not to give the authority
to steal the property rights of our musicians. But, for example, there
is a discussion that has gone on that exempts over 65 percent of all
the drinking establishments in the United States and creates 12
regional sites for arbitration of disputes.
On this proposal, actually there was agreement reached with the
National Licensed Beverage Association, but the National Restaurant
Association will not have any of it. Why pay something when you can
change the law and get it for nothing, seems to be their approach. So
they have been unwilling to join those reasonable organizations that
would respect private property rights and recognize they ought to
have to pay something for them, because they want it all their way.
What we are asking today is that we approve the base legislation, the
very positive, bipartisan legislation that is being presented here
today, but not attach to it something that has nothing to do with it,
that is completely contrary to the purposes of this legislation, and
will only serve to take away the rights, the creativity, of artists
across this land.
I would urge the rejection of that amendment, and the whole concept
of trying to reach some balance is not achieved by this Musical Theft
Act, but by the very reasonable approach that follows the agreement
with the National Licensed Beverage Association that our Republican
colleague, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. McCollum) is going to offer,
an approach that provides a change in the law for small businesses, but
recognizes that there are many other small businesses out there
involved in the music industry that need protection, too, and will draw
a reasonable balance and not permit the theft of music creativity.
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, let me put another oar in the water. I was not even
going to get into this, but the die has been cast. The gentleman from
Florida (Mr. Scarborough) addressed it very adeptly.
I resent the fact that this is being portrayed as big business versus
little business. It is not true. I will compare my voting record
supporting small business men and small business women with anybody on
this floor. As far as being a friend to the restaurateurs and the
restaurants across my district, ask any of them down there. I can
assure the Members that they will say that I have spoken favorably for
They do a good job. Songwriters do a good job. Must we, in this era
of conflict, have to be opposed to one? Can you not be for the
songwriter and the restaurateur? It seems to me that you can be. Some
people, I think, are incapable of that in this current climate and in
this era. They must be opposed to one. They cannot embrace both, they
have to reject one. I think that is poppycock. I think the gentleman
who will come on next is going to have an amendment that will exemplify
that spirit of compromise, and that spirit of embracing both parties to
Mr. Chairman, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Florida (Mr.
McCollum), a member of the full committee, who will have a subsequent
amendment on this matter.
(Mr. McCOLLUM asked and was given permission to revise and extend his
Mr. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, I thank the chairman for yielding time to
First of all, I would like to point out that we are here today
primarily to pass copyright extension. While we are going to be having
this huge debate over the songwriters' music licensing fees, and I am
going to offer a substitute amendment that has been already widely
discussed out here, we do not want to miss the point that hundreds and
thousands, and more than that, hundreds of thousands, really, of
various parties in this country, individuals, businesses, and so forth,
who have copyright interests in books, in music, in TV videos, in
movies, and all kinds of various productions that are copyrighting,
whatever you can have a copyright for, anything that you write that you
copyright on, are in great need of a copyright extension that is the
underlying part of this bill; that is, to lengthen the life of how long
your property right is protected, how long can you get royalties or
money for the reproduction, the publishing of the book, if you will, if
you want to put it back in the old-fashioned term of art; how long will
you and your family be able to get royalties for that, and when will it
become public property to which you have lost your personal property
We have been waiting around for quite a long time, 5 or 6 years, to
get this bill to the floor of the House, simply because there has been
this big dispute between the restaurants of this country and their
primary association and the songwriters and their primary association
over the so-called music licensing issue. We need to resolve that.
When I come out here in a little while, after the gentleman from
Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner) has offered his amendment, that is going
to basically exempt all restaurants and businesses from having to pay a
fee that has been paid for years and years to the associations for the
songwriters' benefit, for every playing of a radio or TV rebroadcast of
their music, when I come out here in a few minutes to offer my
substitute, the debate is going to be about certain ways you go about
giving some relief to some restaurants or some businesses further than
they already have today.
There is already an exemption in the law, it has been there a long
time, for any business of under 1,055 square feet. So if you have a
really tiny business, you want to play the radio or have your
television and music on, you do not have to pay a licensing fee.
The average fee out there on music licensing for restaurants they
have to pay now is about $30 a month, which for the larger restaurants
is not a very big deal. For some small restaurants it is a big deal.
What we have worked out that the gentleman from North Carolina
(Chairman Coble) I believe is going to support and the gentleman from
Illinois (Chairman Hyde) of the full Committee on the Judiciary, and
the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers), is an amendment to the
amendment offered by the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner).
That is basically the compromise. That we think is where we have
gotten the product after 5 years of discussion, as close as we can get
it when the two parties would not come to an agreement, to a technical
So it is truly a compromise amendment that I am offering. It would
exempt 65 to 70 percent of all restaurants who are currently paying
music licensing fees from ever having to pay it, my substitute would.
That is a pretty big hunk of it. That is certainly all the smaller
restaurants and quite a number of restaurants of much larger size.
It would exempt all restaurants, regardless of size, from having to
pay these fees they have always paid to songwriters if they have as
many as six speakers to broadcast the radio around in their shop, or
fewer, or if they have four televisions or fewer. So a lot more are
going to be picked up. It is hard to measure how many have that. You
can limit the number of speakers you have in your restaurant and get
exempted altogether from paying fees that you have currently been
But more importantly, perhaps, than what it does in that regard, it
provides some balance, because as the gentleman from Florida (Mr.
Scarborough) has pointed out, songwriters are small business men, too.
We are out here trying to protect small business men and give
exemptions to the truly small restaurateurs of this country, but also
protect the songwriters so they continue to be able to get their
There are thousands of songwriters, most all of whom get their entire
income and livelihood from the royalty fees they get from the
copyrighted songs that they write, yet their average income is
somewhere under $10,000 a year for a songwriter. That is pretty darned
small. They are not the wealthy people of this Nation. The fees they
get from the use of their songs in these restaurants, especially in the
larger chains that are out there, is very important to them.
As I said, it is about $30 a month that the restaurants pay. It goes
into a pool of money these associations have, and then those
associations of songwriters spread the money around and pay a
proportionate share to all the songwriters who are members. I think
that is really important to protect. That is what my amendment would
do, to allow them to continue to have some money from this source from
the larger restaurants in this country. That is, again, the compromise,
the balance, in here that is involved.
I also would like to point out that most songwriters never get a big
hit. If they get a big hit, a few of them do make some money. I am sure
there will be somebody out here sometime today pointing out some of
those people who do. But for every songwriter that gets a big hit and
makes a lot of money, there are literally a thousand others for every
one of those who do not. That is what this legislation protects are
those thousand others, thousands of others, who do not ever get the big