To verify a factoid for an article I am writing, I vaguely recall it
being said on either 78-L or ARSC-List that Vivendi/Universal is
currently not granting any clearances for reissuing older recordings
(such as the pre-WWII Decca and pre-ARC Brunswick recordings it owns.)
From what I also vaguely recall, this is because they have no
documentation regarding the royalty contractual status of these older
recordings, thus they are taking the conservative route and simply not
granting any clearances when they don't know the contractual status
with absolute certainty based on documentation.
Anyway, is this correct, or did I get something garbled during
"translation"? If there is some truth to this, can someone give me the
exact facts surrounding this? I tried to dig through the 78-L and ARSC
archives, but could not find the information in question.
And one more question: Is it true that only a small fraction of
recordings issued before World War II had some sort of royalty
encumberance -- that is, the vast majority of the recordings were
simply pure "works for hire" arrangements with no royalties attached?
(I do know some famous band leaders received royalties for their
records, such as Isham Jones and Paul Whiteman, but were these an
exception rather than the rule?)