Since I just sent this as part of a similar thread on 78-L, I'll just copy
the text here...
The sad thing about these "perpetual copyrights" (which may indeed be the
is that they apply universally, and all too often put corporate
copyright-holders in the
position to play "dog in the manger"...i.e. "we're not going to reissue (or
but we have the copyright and will thus make sure YOU don't!" This makes an
increasing portion of our heritage inaccessible to anyone who might
interested in it, and thus places it in an effective permanent limbo. I have
that continuance of copyright should be dependent on the copyrighted
made available to the public in some way...that is, for recordings, the
expire upon the recording not being in the active catalog.