----- Original Message -----
From: "James L Wolf" <[log in to unmask]>
> The "use it or lose it" proposal is pretty much unworkable and
> unfair, unless one applied it only after a long period of time like 50
> years or so. Otherwise, any indie publishers would have to keep stuff in
> print without any lapses to keep their copyrights. Just bringing down
> the length of copyright to somewhere under 170+ years might be a better
Well, I'm mainly thinking in terms of sound recordings...most of which have
very short "half-lives!" However, in this current digital age, all (print)
indie publishers would have to keep would be the final printable file,
usually in a graphics program; open it, hit "Print" and bind the results,
and there's a book. There might be problems with movies and the like
(though they could be kept in digital form as well).
It would, though, eliminate the problem where "Globazized, Inc." holds the
near-perpetuasl rights to a recording, and can tell you "Well, we're not
going to reissue it...but we won't let YOU!"
> As to the second suggestion, it's my understanding that recordings
> made by corporations which "died intestate" are de facto Public Domain
> (and the intellectual content as well if pre-1923). If no-one can claim
> ownership, no-one can claim infringement. Emerson is a good example of
The problem is we don't always know what is and isn't "public domain."
Take NYRL (Paramount) for example...they apparently sold out to Gennett
in 1932, and Gennett apparently sold out to Decca in 1934...but that's
only as best I know, and depends on whether the buy-outs included
perpetual rights to everything they had ever recorded. Oberstein
reissued a fair amount of Crown on his Varsity/et al lines...but did
he buy the rights or just find the stampers at RCA from the days when
the latter pressed Crown?