----- Original Message -----
From: "Karl Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
> Much of the time I find it difficult to decide at what time individual
> rights infringe on the rights of society.
> For me, the situation has now become absurd. I want to issue some live
> performances of the music of Gould performed by Mitropoulos and the NY
> Phil. Since there is ample demonstration that the NY Phil has abandoned
> copyright of their broadcasts, I feel comfortable releasing these
> performances. Further, when you talk to them they will tell you (but not
> put in writing) that as long as you don't put New York Philharmonic
> anywhere on the recording, and if it is pre Bernstein, they won't go after
> you. It is an easy matter to pay the mechanical rights on the music,
> but in this scenario the Philharmonic ends up getting nothing. While the
> costs of paying the Union fees would make such a release financial
> disaster for any label, you can't even pay them any part of the
> net...assuming you have anything to pay them.
> Trying not to repeat myself...then there is the crazy situation where you
> can release in Europe a pre 1954 broadcast of any US orchestra and the
> someone in the US can, even if there are legal considerations, buy it over
> the internet...again, the orchestra gets nothing.
In this case, if the performance (and thus the sound recording) originated
in the US, any purchaser of a reissue of that recording, regardless of
whether it was p.d. in the country where that reissue was issued, is in
violation of the US copyright law and thus subject to punishment...but
only IF the owner of the copyright complains. The problem is that if
the copyright holder belongs to RIAA, there may well be ca complaint
simply to avoid the establishment of a precedent!
> One last bit of absurdity (in my opinion) in the law. I want to issue some
> pre 1954 programs from the French Broadcasting Corporation. Some of you
> probably remember the series "Masterworks from France." These performances
> are public domain in France, yet, my reading of the law suggests that
> they were not public domain in the US in 1996? they are subject to the US
> copyrights and I cannot issue them in the US.
However, in this case, the sound recordings would be p.d. in France...their
country of origin...and the US is only empowered to enforce whatever
copyrights exist. The recordings are subject to the laws under which they
were made, and thus there is no "US copyright." However, if a US record
firm had issued the recordings, that issue might well carry a copyright,
so you would have to prove your reissue was from the French original and
not from the US issue.
Steven C. Barr
> Who benefits in some of these scenarios?
> Sorry if I am preaching to the choir.