----- Original Message -----
From: "Jon Noring" <[log in to unmask]>
> Very good article of the planned lobbying by the recording industry
> to extend the copyrights on sound recording performances in Europe
> from the present 50 years.
> One question which no one seems to be asking is if the recording
> industry wants retroactive copyright status applied to older sound
> recordings which have already passed into the Public Domain in
> Europe (those recorded before 1953.) This would set a very bad
> precedent to begin wholesale movement of Public Domain material back
> to a copyrighted status.
> Also, another aspect not discussed is the so-called "Harmonization"
> argument the recording companies use to try to extend copyright terms
> for sound recordings by using the U.S. 95 year term for post-1972
> recordings. First, one can argue that harmonization can go the other
> direction -- why didn't the U.S. conform to the 50 year term found in
> Europe. Second, and more interestingly, pre-1972 U.S. recordings are
> not protected by Federal Copyright law! (Instead they are protected by
> State copyright and other laws, often with "perpetual" terms.) How
> does one harmonize with U.S. Federal Copyright law for the 1953-1972
> recordings when there is nothing recognizable to harmonize with?
1) One important factor here! Record companies, most notably RCA/BMG,
are still selling large quantities of pre-1954 records, to which they
hold an equivalent to copyright for US reissue...and the true "gold mine"
becomes unguarded at the end of this year, when the first recordings
of Elvis Presley become public domain in Canada and much of Europe.
2) The record industry would LOVE to see sound recordings attain
retroactive copyright atatus...the question is how the courts in non-US
countries would view this. In the US, the new copyright act cut through
the thicket of state anti-piracy laws by simply putting everything
under copyright until some future date (by which time it may be a moot
point, as we may yet become a radioactive cinder...). Obviously,
with reissue CD's proving a "golden egg," the industry isn't prepared
to lessen their copyright hold!
3) One wonders if the current US government (which may not survive the
2004 elections...if any occur) is prepared to utilize invasion and
"liberation" to protect the rights of its good and loyal corporate
Steven C. Barr