The following is excerpted from Marston Records March Newsletter. (For
those unfamiliar with Marston, they have one of the best catalogs of
historical classical vocal recordings. Ward Marston has been responsible
for many reissues on the Pearl, Opal, Romophone, and Naxos labels).
Hope you find it of interest - I would like more details of the
agreement if anyone knows....
Best wishes, Thomas.
> Copyright and Silence
> Not since we began this company have we been out of touch with those
> who support the work that we do. We havenít released a CD, issued a
> newsletter, or provided the slightest explanation for many, many
> months. Well, the truth is, we simply werenít able.
> The reason for our lapse in production stems for a New York court
> ruling, which clarified US copyright law; our silence will be
> explained below. We have always operated under the assumption provided
> to us by legal counsel that recordings published 75 or more years ago
> are in the public domain. The April 2005 case in New York proved that
> recordings published prior to 1972, with very rare exception, are in
> copyright in the United States until 2067! This situation is
> potentially grave for the preservation and dissemination of historic
> The legal decision of the state of New York was brought to our
> attention shortly after the release of Faust. This effectively shut us
> down, and initially we saw little way to continue. The problem is that
> even if the owners of underlying copyright (the record labels that
> initially released this material) were willing to license these
> obscure recordings, the cost would be onerous to us. Furthermore, with
> various sales, mergers, and closings of many record companies during
> the last 100 years, tracing ownership is not always that simple. We
> needed a creative solution.
> As often is the case with difficulties, friends rise to the fore. EMI
> owns the vast majority of underlying copyright of the work that we
> produce. With the advice of a subscriber and friend, and the
> generosity of EMI, we entered into confidential discussions to reach a
> solution. The confidential nature of these discussions explains our
> silence. Gratefully, the negotiations were fruitful and we are now in
> a position that allows us to continue in much the same manner as we
> have in the past!