At 07:15 PM 8/12/2004 -0600, Jon Noring wrote:
>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.)
The problem is not with federal law in this case. It is with state and
common law. To say the least, jurisdiction and ill-defined law mean that a
copyright holder may threaten virtually endless litigation against anyone
reissuing anything in this country which was previously published here.
With the exception of EMI vs. Naxos, there appears to be little case law to
limit such suits and the threat alone has sufficed to cause actual and
potential publishers to 'cease and desist'.
Similarly, I know of no case law which establishes how much processing in
the transfer starts the clock anew. I have been told that a recent European
decision means that processing - digitizing, denoising, etc. - does not
matter and that if the original recording was issued more than fifty years
ago, the original and any reissues are all in public domain.
Oddly, I have some titles I would like to share which are in the public
domain in the U.S., but not in Europe. They were fixed before 1910 but not
issued until the last decade or two. Granted, they are only an anomaly in
the 'big picture', but I thought the idea might be amusing to you.
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