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ARSCLIST  October 2005

ARSCLIST October 2005

Subject:

Re: Copyright of treasures

From:

Mike Richter <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 6 Oct 2005 08:06:04 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (60 lines)

Karl Miller wrote:

> It has seemed to me that with the baby boomers, like myself (probably the
> first generation to be able to record at relatively low cost)
> trying to decide what should be done with their stuff after they are
> gone, we are looking at the beginning of an unprecedented flood of
> historical sound documents coming to light...and looking for a home.

At the risk of making myself even less welcome here, I concur heartily. 
I am deluged with offers of recordings made in the last half-century. 
These are from people who are pleased to have their efforts disseminated 
yet are not seeking recognition - they simply want to share. When they 
understand that that is my only motivation, they have been known to 
plead with me to include their gem in a compilation or at least to post 
it on the WWW. I try to comply and have thereby offered performances 
previously unknown or known but thought to have been lost.

Of course, I am not an institution in the sense of Karl's post and my 
objectives and limitations differ from those of a library or an archive. 
An institution cannot afford to flaunt the law as I do; it serves a 
different audience in a different way.

Let me make it specific. A few years ago, I released a CD-ROM with the 
complete master classes offered at Juilliard by Maria Callas. EMI had 
published excerpts and John Ardoin (who provided the tapes) had 
published a book about some of them, but this was the first and is the 
only comprehensive treatment. I am told that the disc has been quite 
popular at the Juilliard Gift Shop and it continues to sell well through 
the Internet sources. The tapes I used for the project now reside in the 
LoC where I assume they could be accessed by properly accredited 
scholars. The dealers and distributor recoup their costs through sales; 
again, neither I nor my colleagues accept compensation for our efforts.

My purpose in publication was to make the insights of those forty-plus 
hours available not only to scholars but also to ordinary students of 
singing, to teachers, to producers and to fans. Though there is argument 
that my use was within the verbal agreement of the parties involved 
(Callas, other participants, Juilliard and EMI), that could no longer be 
proved by the time of issue. Who would have benefitted by suppression of 
the disc? Who was deprived by its publication? Would it be sufficient to 
satisfy the law by having the master tapes (quarter-inch of far from 
archival quality) the only remaining record?

For the record, the original Juilliard recordings appear to have 
disappeared or been discarded by the school. They had made two copies. 
One went to EMI for the excerpts, but vanished en route from EMI to the 
Callas estate; EMI did not copy those they did not use. The second copy 
was given to John Ardoin for his book without restriction (hence the 
verbal agreement above). When I became involved, John had sent them from 
his home in Texas to a friend in England for his own enjoyment. That 
friend has the only extant CD-DA copy of the tapes; I sent it to him in 
appreciation of his role in the publication. Since then, he moved for 
some time to Sri Lanka and has since returned to the UK. I've no idea 
where he and the CDs are today.

Mike
-- 
[log in to unmask]
http://www.mrichter.com/

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