B-103445, JULY 18, 1951, 31 COMP. GEN. 14

B-103445: Jul 18, 1951

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1951: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 14. THE PERSONS TO WHOM THE SERVICES DESIGNATED ARE RENDERED SHALL PAY. THE LANGUAGE OF THE FOREGOING STATUTORY PROVISIONS IS BROAD. AS AGAINST ANY CONCLUSION THAT IT WAS INTENDED TO APPLY TO THE GOVERNMENT STANDS THE FAMILIAR CANON OF STATUTORY INTERPRETATION THAT THE SOVEREIGN IS NOT AFFECTED BY STATUTORY PROVISIONS UNLESS EXPRESSLY NAMED THEREIN OR INCLUDED BY NECESSARY IMPLICATIONS. THAT THE FEES IN QUESTION SHALL BE PAID BY THE "PERSONS" TO WHOM THE SERVICES ARE RENDERED. STATUTES EMPLOYING THE PHRASE ARE ORDINARILY CONSTRUED TO EXCLUDE IT. SINCE THERE IS NOTHING IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE STATUTES HERE INVOLVED OR OTHERWISE MANIFESTING AN INTENT TO BRING THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE SCOPE THEREOF.

B-103445, JULY 18, 1951, 31 COMP. GEN. 14

COPYRIGHT RECORDING FEES - PAYMENT BY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES THE REGISTER OF COPYRIGHTS, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, MAY RECORD AN ASSIGNMENT OF COPYRIGHT TO THE UNITED STATES AT THE REQUEST OF ANOTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY WITHOUT REQUIRING PAYMENT OF THE STATUTORY FEES REFERRED TO IN 17 U.S.C. 31 AND 215 FOR RECORDING OF COPYRIGHTS.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS, JULY 18, 1951:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 14, 1951, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE REGISTER OF COPYRIGHTS, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, MAY PROPERLY RECORD AN ASSIGNMENT OF COPYRIGHT TO THE UNITED STATES AT THE REQUEST OF ANOTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY WITHOUT REQUIRING THE PAYMENT OF THE STATUTORY FEES THEREFOR.

YOUR LETTER STATES THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE HAS SUBMITTED FOR RECORDATION FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES A LICENSE AGREEMENT BETWEEN NEWS MAP OF THE WEEK, INC., AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AS REPRESENTED BY THE PUBLIC PRINTER, WITHOUT THE SUBMISSION OF THE CUSTOMARY FEE.

THE QUESTION PRESENTED ARISES BY REASON OF THE PROVISIONS OF 17 U.S.C. 31 AS FOLLOWS:

THE REGISTER OF COPYRIGHTS SHALL, UPON PAYMENT OF THE PRESCRIBED FEE, RECORD SUCH ASSIGNMENT . . . AND THE REQUIREMENT OF 17 U.S.C. 215 THAT---

THE REGISTER OF COPYRIGHTS SHALL RECEIVE, AND THE PERSONS TO WHOM THE SERVICES DESIGNATED ARE RENDERED SHALL PAY, THE FOLLOWING FEES . . .'

THE LANGUAGE OF THE FOREGOING STATUTORY PROVISIONS IS BROAD, BUT AS AGAINST ANY CONCLUSION THAT IT WAS INTENDED TO APPLY TO THE GOVERNMENT STANDS THE FAMILIAR CANON OF STATUTORY INTERPRETATION THAT THE SOVEREIGN IS NOT AFFECTED BY STATUTORY PROVISIONS UNLESS EXPRESSLY NAMED THEREIN OR INCLUDED BY NECESSARY IMPLICATIONS. IN RE TIDEWATER COAL EXCHANGE, 280 FED. 648, 21 COMP. GEN. 316. MOREOVER, WITH RESPECT TO THE REQUIREMENT OF SECTION 215, SUPRA, THAT THE FEES IN QUESTION SHALL BE PAID BY THE "PERSONS" TO WHOM THE SERVICES ARE RENDERED, SINCE, IN COMMON USAGE, THE TERM ,PERSON" DOES NOT INCLUDE THE SOVEREIGN, STATUTES EMPLOYING THE PHRASE ARE ORDINARILY CONSTRUED TO EXCLUDE IT. UNITED STATES V. COOPER CORPORATION, ET AL., 312 U.S. 600.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, AND SINCE THERE IS NOTHING IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE STATUTES HERE INVOLVED OR OTHERWISE MANIFESTING AN INTENT TO BRING THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE SCOPE THEREOF, THERE APPEARS TO BE NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO THE RECORDING BY THE REGISTER OF COPYRIGHTS OF AN ASSIGNMENT SUBMITTED BY AN AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES WITHOUT REQUIRING THAT AGENCY TO PAY THE STATUTORY FEE.