"ARSCLIST is an unmoderated mail reflector to facilitate the exchange of
information on sound archives and promote communication among those
interested in preserving, documenting, and making accessible the history
of recorded sound....
"Topics appropriate for discussion may include discussion about recorded
sound research, history, innovations, preservation, archiving, copyrights
and access and announcements about ARSC activities and publications."
I have attempted a more alliterative description of what it takes to get a
sound recording into a collection or website:
1. Cataloging: knowing what's out there. Includes discographies and
techniques of recording.
2. Collecting: Purchase, swapping, stealing, stealth recording, pirating,
downloading, and other ways of getting physical or electronic copies of
3. Copyright: The various state, national, and international rights to
copy and disputes about what is in the public domain. It is my
understanding that only Edisons are universally recognized as being in the
public domain everywhere.
4. Conversion: restoration of sound recordings, their reformatting into
(mostly) digital forms, and making them available either as physical
objects or on the web, free or otherwise.
There are those on this list who are under the misapprehension that the
only topic suitable for discussion on the ARSCLIST is the subpart of
Conversion dealing with audio restoration. It is my hope that no effort
will be made to formally narrow the scope of ARSCLIST to this one
subarea. I would suggest instead that a separate list be created for this
narrow purpose, as there is a great need for a list to discuss topics of
concern to the entire ARSC community.
Such a topic is the Library of Alexandria, of which I forwarded a superb
New York Times article last week.
Clearly, that the Library will come to encompass sound recordings, or
otherwise participate with other institutions about sound recordings, is
absolutely certain. We on this list should discuss a formal involvement of
ARSC with the Library and get in on the ground floor.
Secondly, the article mentioned several times legal and copyright
issues. We should use our expertise in our special area of copyrights and
dialog with those whose expertise is in parallel areas. Members of ARSC
should attend conferences and meetings sponsored by the Library and its
associated institutions. By doing so, when the time comes to reconsider
and revise national laws and international treaties so as to facilitate
the projects of the Library of Alexandria, we should make our special
wishes known (such as preemption of State copyright law and common law
court decisions and the forcing of recordings of little commercial value
into the public domain). Developing friendships now will count for more
than just sending in a brief at the last moment.
Thirdly, the article discusses the funding of collecting, converting, and
cataloging materials, three of my four Cs, it addition to the purchasing
of copyrights. ARSC, or at least many of its members in their individual
capacities, should use contacts with sources of funding as they develop to
plea that some of this funding be devoted to sound recordings. We should
also get a general feeling of what it costs to purchase a copyright,
whether in fee simple or for storing on the web.
Fourthly, the article named a great many institutions that are already
affiliated with the Library, so that ARSC, as a body or as individual
members, can get started.
I shall continue to post articles on copyrights and other subjects
pertaining to sound recordings that should be of interest to the ARSC
community generally, even though they may rarely concern audio
restoration. (I will be not be forwarding articles for the forty days and
forty nights of Lent, as is my annual wont.) I am sorry if these articles
are of so little interest to some that they are driven from the list,
though I rarely send more than one or two a day. But the interests of the
wider ARSC community must take priority.
Of course, if I have misquoted the ARSC webpage, or misunderstood what I
did quote, I shall immediately apologize.