Yes, Edison National Historic Site does have the original donation paperwork from 1956-57 documenting the gifts of the Edison Laboratory and its contents from the McGraw-Edison company to the National Park Service. We searched through it all recently, but could find no mention of copyright in relation to Edison phonograph records. I've heard it said many times that the copyright on Edison recordings turned to public domain with the gift of the laboratory. But I've never been able to tie down the source of this idea or verify its accuracy.
-Jerry Fabris, ENHS
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Sam Brylawski
Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2006 10:10 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] New U.S. Copyright Laws
I can't speak for Edison and the Park Service site,and it's my understanding
that no one has seen the original "gift" agreement in many years. But the
gov't can and does own many copyrights. For instance, LC owns those for the
works of Vladimir Ussachevsky. (They bring in millions a year!) However, the
gov't may not own a copyright for something *created* by the gov't. That is,
created with tax-dollars.
On 4/26/06, Steven Smolian <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I've come in in the middle of this discussion, so perhaps I missed the
> The U.S. Government cannot own a copyright. All Edison recordings are
> by the U.S. Department of Parks and are, accordingly, public domain.
> Steven Smolian