The Hypertext Annotated Title 17
House Report No. 94-1476
Act of 1909

601. Manufacture, importation, and public distribution of certain copies

The Requirement in General. A chronic problem in efforts to revise the copyright statute for the past 85 years has been the need to reconcile the interests of the American printing industry with those of authors and other copyright owners. The scope and impact of the ''manufacturing clause,'' which came into the copyright law as a compromise in 1891, have been gradually narrowed by successive amendments.

Under the present statute, with many exceptions and qualifications, a book or periodical in the English language must be manufactured in the United States in order to receive full copyright protection. Failure to comply with any of the complicated requirements can result in complete loss of protection. Today the main effects of the manufacturing requirements are on works by American authors.

The first and most important question here is whether the manufacturing requirement should be retained in the statute in any form. Beginning in 1965, serious efforts at compromising the issue were made by various interests aimed at substantially narrowing the scope of the requirement, and these efforts produced the version of section 601 adopted by the Senate when it passed S. 22.

The principal arguments for elimination of the manufacturing requirement can be summarized as follows:

1. The manufacturing clause originated as a response to a historical situation that no longer exists. Its requirements have gradually been relaxed over the years, and the results of the 1954 amendment, which partially eliminated it, have borne out predictions of positive economic benefits for all concerned, including printers, printing trades union members, and the public.

2. The provision places unjustified burdens on the author, who is treated as a hostage. It hurts the author most where it benefits the manufacturer least: in cases where the author must publish abroad or not at all. It unfairly discriminates between American authors and other authors, and between authors of books and authors of other works.

3. The manufacturing clause violates the basic principle that an author's rights should not be dependent on the circumstances of manufacture. Complete repeal would substantially reduce friction with foreign authors and publishers, increase opportunities for American authors to have their works published, encourage international publishing ventures, and eliminate the tangle of procedural requirements now burdening authors, publishers, the Copyright Office, and the United States Customs Service.

4. Studies prove that the economic fears of the printing industry and unions are unfounded. The vast bulk of American titles are completely manufactured in the United States, and U.S. exports of printed matter are much greater than imports. The American book manufacturing industry is healthy and growing, to the extent that it cannot keep pace with its orders. There are increasing advantages to domestic manufacture because of improved technology, and because of the delays, inconveniences, and other disadvantages of foreign manufacture. Even with repeal, foreign manufacturing would be confined to small editions and scholarly works, some of which could not be published otherwise.

The following were the principal arguments in favor of retaining some kind of manufacturing restriction.

1. The historical reasons for the manufacturing clause were valid originally and still are. It is unrealistic to speak of this as a ''free trade'' issue or of tariffs as offering any solution, since book tariffs have been removed entirely under the Florence Agreement. The manufacturing requirement remains a reasonable and justifiable condition to the granting of a monopoly. There is no problem of international comity, since only works by American authors are affected by section 601. Foreign countries have many kinds of import barriers, currency controls, and similar restrictive devices comparable to a manufacturing requirement.

2. The differentials between U.S. and foreign wage rates in book production are extremely broad and are not diminishing: Congress should not create a condition whereby work can be done under the most degraded working conditions in the world, be given free entry, and thus exclude American manufacturers from the market. The manufacturing clause has been responsible for a strong and enduring industry. Repeal could destroy small businesses, bring chaos to the industry, and catch manufacturers, whose labor costs and break-even points are extremely high, in a cost-price squeeze at a time when expenditures for new equipment have reduced profits to a minimum.

3. The high ratio of exports to imports could change very quickly without a manufacturing requirement. Repeal would add to the balance-of-payments deficit since foreign publishers never manufacture here. The U.S. publishing industry has large investments abroad, and attacks on the manufacturing clause by foreign publishers, show a keen anticipation for new business. The book publishers arguments that repeal would have no real economic impact are contradicted by their arguments that the manufacturing requirement is stifling scholarship and crippling publishing; their own figures show a 250 percent rise in English-language book imports in 10 years.

After carefully weighing these arguments, the Committee concludes that there is no justification on principle for a manufacturing requirement in the copyright statute, and although there may have been some economic justification for it at one time, that justification no longer exists. While it is true that section 601 represents a substantial liberalization and that it would remove many of the inequities of the present manufacturing requirement, the real issue is whether retention of a provision of this sort in a copyright law can continue to be justified. The Committee believes it cannot.

The Committee recognizes that immediate repeal of the manufacturing requirement might have damaging effects in some segments of the U.S. printing industry. It has therefore amended section 601 to retain the liberalized requirement through the end of 1980, but to repeal it definitively as of January 1, 1981. It also adopted an amendment further ameliorating the effect of this temporary legislation on individual American authors.

In view of this decision, the detailed discussion of section 601 that follows will cease to be of significance after 1980.

Works Subject to the Manufacturing Requirement. The scope of the manufacturing requirement, as set out in subsections (a) and (b) of section 601, is considerably more limited than that of present law. The requirements apply to ''a work consisting preponderantly of nondramatic literary material that is in the English language and is protected under this title,'' and would thus not extend to: dramatic, musical, pictorial, or graphic works; foreign-language, bilingual, or multilingual works; public domain material; or works consisting preponderantly of material that is not subject to the manufacturing requirement.

The term ''literary material'' does not connote any criterion of literary merit or qualitative value; it includes catalogs, directories and ''similar materials.''

A work containing ''nondramatic literary material that is in the English language and is protected under this title,'' and also containing dramatic, musical, pictorial, graphic, foreign-language, public domain, or other material that is not subject to the manufacturing requirement, or any combination of these, is not considered to consist ''preponderantly'' of the copyright-protected nondramatic English-language literary material unless such material exceeds the exempted material in importance. Thus, where the literary material in a work consists merely of a foreword or preface, and captions, headings, or brief descriptions or explanations of pictorial, graphic or other nonliterary material, the manufacturing requirement does not apply to the work in whole or in part. In such case, the non-literary material clearly exceeds the literary material in importance, and the entire work is free of the manufacturing requirement.

On the other hand, if the copyright-protected non-dramatic English-language literary material in the work exceeds the other material in importance, then the manufacturing requirement applies. For example, a work containing pictorial, graphic, or other non-literary material is subject to the manufacturing requirement if the non-literary material merely illustrates a textual narrative or exposition, regardless of the relative amount of space occupied by each kind of material. In such a case, the narrative or exposition comprising the literary material plainly exceeds in importance the non-literary material in the work. However, even though such a work is subject to the manufacturing requirement, only the portions consisting of copyrighted non-dramatic literary material in English are required to be manufactured in the United States or Canada. The illustrations may be manufactured elsewhere without affecting their copyright status.

Under section 601(b)(1) works by American nationals domiciled abroad for at least a year would be exempted. The manufacturing requirement would generally apply only to works by American authors domiciled here, and then only if none of the co-authors of the work are foreign.

In order to make clear the application of the foreign-author exemption to ''works made for hire'' - of which the employer or other person for whom the work was prepared is considered the ''author'' for copyright purposes - section 601(b)(1) provides that the exemption does not apply unless a substantial part of the work was prepared for an employer or other person who is not a national or domiciliary of the United States, or a domestic corporation or enterprise. The reference to ''a domestic corporation or enterprise'' is intended to include a subsidiary formed by the domestic corporation or enterprise primarily for the purpose of obtaining the exemption.

The provision adopts a proposal put forward by various segments of both the United States and the Canadian printing industries, recommending an exemption for copies manufactured in Canada. Since wage standards in Canada are substantially comparable to those in the United States, the arguments for equal treatment under the manufacturing clause are persuasive.

Limitations on Importation and Distribution of Copies Manufactured Abroad. The basic purpose of the temporary manufacturing requirements of section 601, like that of the present manufacturing clause, is to induce the manufacture of an edition in the United States if more than a certain limited number of copies are to be distributed in this country. Subsection (a) therefore provides in general that ''the importation into or public distribution in the United States'' of copies not complying with the manufacturing clause is prohibited. Subsection (b) then sets out the exceptions to this prohibition, and clause (2) of that subsection fixes the importation limit at 2,000 copies.

Additional exceptions to the copies affected by the manufacturing requirements are set out in clauses (3) through (7) of subsection (b). Clause (3) permits importation of copies for governmental use, other than in schools, by the United States or by ''any State or political subdivision of a State.'' Clause (4) allows importation for personal use of ''no more than one copy of any work at any one time,'' and also exempts copies in the baggage of persons arriving from abroad and copies intended for the library collection of nonprofit scholarly, educational, or religious organizations. Braille copies are completely exempted under clause (5), and clause (6) permits the public distribution in the United States of copies allowed entry by the other clauses of that subsection. Clause (7) is a new exception, covering cases in which an individual American author has, through choice or necessity, arranged for publication of his work by a foreign rather than a domestic publisher.

What Constitutes ''Manufacture in the United States'' or Canada. A difficult problem in the manufacturing clause controversy involves the restrictions to be imposed on foreign typesetting or composition. Under what they regard as a loophole in the present law, a number of publishers have for years been having their manuscripts set in type abroad, importing ''reproduction proofs,'' and then printing their books from offset plates ''by lithographic process * * * wholly performed in the United States.'' The language of the statute on this point is ambiguous and, although the publishers' practice has received some support from the Copyright Office, there is a question as to whether or not it violates the manufacturing requirements.

In general the book publishers have opposed any definition of domestic manufacture that would close the ''repro proof'' loophole or that would interfere with their use of new techniques of book production, including use of imported computer tapes for composition here. This problem was the focal point of a compromise agreement between representatives of the book publishers and authors on the one side and of typographical firms and printing trades unions on the other, and the bill embodies this compromise as a reasonable solution to the problem.

Under subsection (c) the manufacturing requirement is confined to the following processes: (1) Typesetting and platemaking, ''where the copies are printed directly from type that has been set, or directly from plates made from such type''; (2) the making of plates, ''where the making of plates by a lithographic or photoengraving process is a final or intermediate step preceding the printing of the copies''; and (3) in all cases, the ''printing or other final process of producing multiple copies and any binding of the copies.'' Under the subsection there would be nothing to prevent the importation of reproduction proofs, however they were prepared, as long as the plates from which the copies are printed are made here and are not themselves imported. Similarly, the importation of computer tapes from which plates can be prepared here would be permitted. However, regardless of the process involved, the actual duplication of multiple copies, together with any binding, are required to be done in the United States or Canada.

Effect of Noncompliance with Manufacturing Requirement. Subsection (d) of section 601 makes clear that compliance with the manufacturing requirements no longer constitutes a condition of copyright with respect to reproduction and the distribution of copies. The bill does away with the special ''ad interim'' time limits and registration requirements of the present law and, even if copies are imported or distributed in violation of the section, there would be no effect on the copyright owner's right to make and distribute phonorecords of the work, to make derivative works including dramatizations and motion pictures, and to perform or display the work publicly. Even the rights to reproduce and distribute copies are not lost in cases of violation, although they are limited as against certain infringers.

Subsection (d) provides a complete defense in any civil action or criminal proceeding for infringement of the exclusive rights of reproduction or distribution of copies where, under certain circumstances, the defendant proves violation of the manufacturing requirements. The defense is limited to infringement of the ''nondramatic literary material comprised in the work and any other parts of the work in which the exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute copies are owned by the same person who owns such exclusive rights in the nondramatic literary material.'' This means, for example, that the owner of copyright in photographs or illustrations published in a book copyrighted by someone else who would not be deprived of rights against an infringer who proves that there had been a violation of section 601.

Section 601(d) places the full burden for proving violation on the infringer. The infringer's defense must be based on proof that: (1) copies in violation of section 601 have been imported or publicly distributed in the United States ''by or with the authority'' of the copyright owner; and (2) that the infringing copies complied with the manufacturing requirements; and (3) that the infringement began before an authorized edition complying with the requirements had been registered. The third of these clauses of subsection (d) means, in effect, that a copyright owner can reinstate full exclusive rights by manufacturing an edition in the United States and making registration for it.

Subsection (e) requires the plaintiff in any infringement action involving publishing rights in material subject to the manufacturing clause to identify the manufacturers of the copies in his complaint. Correspondingly, section 409 would require the manufacturers to be identified in applications for registration covering published works subject to the requirements of section 601.

Copyright 1999 Bill Colitre. All Rights Reserved. No Claim to U.S. Government Works.