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ARSCLIST  August 2004

ARSCLIST August 2004

Subject:

Re: [78-l] "Isn't 50 years of copyright enough?" (copyright extension sought for sound recordings in Europe)

From:

Jon Noring <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Jon Noring <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 12 Aug 2004 19:15:16 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (48 lines)

Steven C. Barr wrote:

> 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!

My take on U.S. copyright law as it pertains to recordings made in the
U.S. before February 15, 1972, is different than yours. According to
the *currently in force* Section 301(c) of Title 17:

   "(c) With respect to sound recordings fixed before February 15,
   1972, any rights or remedies under the common law or statutes of
   any State shall not be annulled or limited by this title until
   February 15, 2067. The preemptive provisions of subsection (a)
   shall apply to any such rights and remedies pertaining to any cause
   of action arising from undertakings commenced on and after February
   15, 2067. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 303, no sound
   recording fixed before February 15, 1972, shall be subject to
   copyright under this title before, on, or after February 15, 2067."

   (From: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap3.html#301 )

The last sentence pretty much says that older U.S. sound recordings
(fixed prior to 15 Feb 1972) are NOT covered by any Federal Copyright
law, and will not revert to Title 17 control until 15 Feb 2067 (where
as Title 17 now stands, all the older stuff, including commercial
recordings from 1889(!) will then truly revert to the Public Domain,
out of the jurisdiction of any U.S. state.)

Why the Sonny Bono act (which set the 15 Feb 2067 date) chose not to
simply apply Federal copyright to the older sound recordings is a
mystery. Maybe it was felt it could be challenged in court with the
result the recordings would unambiguously revert to the Public Domain
and outside control of the various States. Or maybe it was felt by the
copyright extension proponents that State laws give better remedies.
As it stands now, these recordings are covered by various State laws
as I discuss in the article I wrote late last year:

   http://www.projectgramophone.org/TeleRead-Article-01Nov2003.html

Jon Noring
Project Gramophone

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