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ARSCLIST  July 2006

ARSCLIST July 2006

Subject:

Re: Mercury co-founder Irving Green passes (II)

From:

steven c <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Sun, 9 Jul 2006 21:37:22 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (78 lines)

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
> Good luck selling that idea to for-profit companies who OWN the recordings
by all laws of (almost)
> all lands, and paid money out of pocket to make them. Perhaps a good
idealistic idea, but not
> practical in a capitalist world. And, given the history of alternative
worlds, I'll take the
> capitalist one, warts and all.
>
> This does bring up an interesting thing I've noticed on this list.
Collectors seem to have vague or
> "different" ideas of ownership. Just because one WANTS something to be
available does not mean
> that's OK with those who own it. It may not be OK for logical reasons (ie
no market except a handful
> of vocal collectors -- but this problem may disappear with online
distribution, for instance the
> number of obscure songs available at iTunes) or for illogical reasons
(giant megaglomerate doesn't
> understand its own vaults or has misplaced masters, etc). But, point is,
in an ownership society
> (which had definitely proven superior over time), the owner of something
has the final call. Whether
> the desirer/potential customer likes it or not.
>
> Now, what I would like to see is a more reasonable copyright system. One
idea I've had is, perhaps
> 35-40 years exclusive copyright on something with perhaps up to 15 years
renewal if it remains in
> print throughout the whole period. If, during the copyright period,
something is out of print 5
> years or more, another party may pay a royalty and have access to a
reasonable facsimile of the
> master for reissue. I'd even support up-front reissue-rights payment with
a smaller royalty paid on
> each item sold, which would protect copyright owners from fly-by-nights
and people with big ideas
> but small wallets and little common sense. Under this system, it would be
in the copyright owner's
> interest to provide a good quality version to the 3rd party so as to
maintain the value of their
> product even if they themselves don't have it in print for one reason or
another. Under this system,
> no matter what, after that 15 year extension -- max -- the content goes
into PD. Big copyright
> owners will say that doesn't give them enough time to amortize risks, but
I say they take few risks
> these days anyway. This would apply to music, books, movies and other
copyright items (including
> software and games). Now I'll duck as the tomatos fly!
>
What I think should be legally installed is a "use it or lose it"
copyright system on sound recordings. That is, as long as the owner
in the copyright of a given sound recording makes it READILY
available to the general public ("Readily" meaning that an ordinary
member of the public can purchase it at an average "record" store,
without having to put through a special order and waiting a coon's
age to obtain it) then said owner can legally block anyone else
from offering said sound recording for sale!

Of course, there might have to be a legally-defined fixed term
following a recording's deletion from a catalog...but that could
be discussed.

For example, I have a handful of old blues recordings in my
half-vast archive which date from 1/1/1956 or later, and are
thus under copyright even here in Canada. However, almost all
of these recordings are currently unavailable...and in many
cases have been unavailable for almost half-a-century! It's
unlikely the copyright owners will be reissuing these any
time soon...in fact, it's likely that if there IS a current
copyright holder, he/she/it is blissfully unaware of his/her/its
status! All I can do is cross my fingers & toes, and hope nobody
might notice my reissue!

Steven C. Barr

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