If I were a record compnay which possibly held rights to a recording, I'd
want my lawyers to look at any relevent paperwork to be sure there was
nothing that might come back and bite me later, regardless of potential
sales. This is just good corporate policy.
And that's were the expense comes in- no small edition reissue label can
bear this cost, especially when multiplied by, say, 20 cuts.
At $ 5.00 per cut, wouldn't the companies loose money just on the cost of
posting and other bookkeeping expenses?
A solution should be proposed that covers the issues as seen by the
copyright owners as well as those based on our own collector's passions.
Perhaps a "hold harmless" insurance policy for which a small reissuer could
apply might be worth consideration.
Speaking of Capitol-Naxos, enough time should have elaped by now to
determine if Capitol actually did file an appeal. If not, the case stands
as decided. Anyone know?
----- Original Message -----
From: "James L Wolf" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, October 06, 2003 3:06 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Capitol vs. Naxos
> Mike brought up an important distinction bewteen "abandoned" and
> "unissued" recordings
> Abandoned material is that which has been infringed upon with no
> response from the copyright holder (with the understanding that the
> copyright holder had or should have had knowledge of the infringement
> and had means to respond in court). IMHO one need only look at the large
> number of jazz, country, and blues unauthorized reissues on European and
> domestic labels available for sale in the US for the last 30+ years to
> find examples. And just because they're PD in Europe doesn't mean the
> "bootlegs" are automatically allowed to be distributed in the US, as
> we've seen with the Metropolitan Opera recordings. The judge that ruled
> on Capitol v. Naxos seemed to say that abandonment was a significant
> factor to be taken into account in copyright violation rulings. Whether
> or not this opinion stands is another matter.
> Non re-issued and uninfringed material, such as obscure Columbia
> cylanders, are still fully protected under current law until 2067. As we
> all know, this is an absurd catch-22. These recordings lack the
> commercial value to support a large enough "bootleg" (European or
> domestic) operation that the copyright holders would even notice. They
> also lack the commercial potential for the copyright holders to bother
> with requests to license them. A friend of mine tried once to license
> some 1901-1910 Victor sides and was turned down summarily because he
> could not garauntee 10,000+ sales! Something that breaks this logjam is
> needed before the recordings deteriorate beyond recall.
> I think Mike's "title fee" idea is quite good, as long as the cost
> was under $5 or so per recording. This way the companies would be making
> more money off their old recordings than they are now, wouldn't have to
> bother with the cost of licensing, yet would retain their current
> rights. Considering their clout on Capitol Hill, a proposal like this
> seems far more likely evade their corporate veto.
> The idea is to distinguish abandoned from unissued material. My
> is that most of those with rights to material of interest to us are
> that they have those rights - or even those recordings. Only if the
> item is
> brought to their attention (e.g., by an "infringing" release) would
> take notice. Why Capitol initiated this contest is hard to imagine, but
> this stage I am delighted that they did.
> Note that the numbers you are suggesting are quite substantial on the
> we're dealing with. $1 may be too low, but reality for a 78- or 45-rpm
> would be no more than $10 unless there were a commitment for a
> release. Few sides other than those of the "superstars" would be worth
> or anything approaching it.
> IMHO, there should be a corollary: any title abandoned by that
> should require some sort of "title fee" comparable to the renewal fee
> be needed for someone to issue the title without infringement. Needless
> say, a reissue of twenty sides that carried a title fee of $20000 would
> unthinkable; even $200 would decrease interest substantially. That fee
> would not only address the costs of the paperwork but would also make
> proposal far easier to negotiate with holders of rights.
> [log in to unmask]