On Thu, 6 Oct 2005, Mike Richter wrote:
> In all seriousness, I wonder whether rights and obligations might be
> compromised to make them accessible. For example, it may be legitimate
> to offer the recordings within a museum through listening rooms having
> access to a central server. While such access usually entails
> prohibition against recording, is that necessary? That is, if the
> library simply notified patrons that copying is illegal, prohibited or
> discouraged, would that suffice legally? It certainly would not keep
> copies from being made and circulated.
Indeed the copyright law does state that a library cannot be held
responsible when an unsupervised facility is used to make an illegal copy.
(just like the use of a photocopy machine) Hence, many deposit agreements
specify that only a supervised facility be used to audition materials.
> Of course, it all depends on one's purpose. I ask only about compliance
> with the law. However desirable, compensation of the artists, producers
> and others is effectively impossible. From all indications, it would
> also be negligible financially. I am asking in all seriousness: Given
> that there is no prospect of monetary profit, who benefits from
> suppressing dissemination of a recording of acknowledged historic
> There is a corollary: Is it necessary for a library to participate in
> that suppression? Or is it today simply a form of hoarding, of the
> archive gloating over its unique possession?
Unfortunately, in some instances it a case of gloating of a sort...case
in point...our own rare book collection refused consider the deposit of the
papers of American composer, music administrator and educator William
Schuman because Schuman wanted a deposit agreement which would have allowed
anyone to have copies of his materials. I know, because, at Schuman's
request, I approached the former head of our rare book library. As
it was further explained, the library didn't want to go to the expense of
preserving the materials if they were to "just give them away."
Fortunately, this attitude is no longer in place at our rare book library.
Yet, in my experience, the suppression (I would wager that most
libraries don't see on site listening as supression) is done with a
sincere desire to respect not only the law, but the intent of the
There really aren't laws that really provide "the right to reasonable
access..." For me, on site listening is not reasonable access. If I am
preparing a piece for performance...lousy conductor that I was, I wanted
to hear the piece repeatedly while I looked through the score...sure, I
did conduct more than one first performance in my brief time conducting,
but being able to listen repeatedly saved me time. Same thing if I am
trying to do some analysis of the music. I am not going to go to a library
and spend a month so I can listen repeatedly to a piece. So, I end up
not writing about the piece, and the piece continues to be kept from
view and possible performance.
Then, who is to decide the fine line between listening for pleasure
versus research. As for me, I don't research anything I don't like...
Some difficult calls...