--- On Sat, 9/20/08, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> All of this screams for some sort of copyright reform. The
> big companies are commercial ventures and
> thus cannot give much funding or care to things they deem
> of no commercial value. There should be a
> mechanism where those things can be distributed into the
> PD, whether or not there is a ridicu-length
> copyright on them, perhaps in exchange for some sort of
> asset-writeoff tax break.
Consider the situation with Folkways records and its relationship with the Smithsonian. I do know know how this has worked out financially, but I believe it is long overdue to consider such alternatives on a larger scale. I don't mean to minimize the problems with the copyrights, but there is also the question of the costs involved in gaining access to, and preserving the master recording.
The question is, what agency is in a position to step forward to address these concerns? I believe libraries are the logical alternative, and that David's cylinder project is a wonderful example of what libraries should be doing. But as we all know, with less than 5% of the budgets of the RLG member libraries being devoted to preservation, few libraries place much value on our recorded history and/or the expertise required to maintain it.
Adding to the mix is the emerging business model where we have an increasing number of musicians who are self-publishing their recordings. So, when they die, who will continue to provide access to their recordings? If they were successful enough, perhaps some company will consider purchasing the legacies of those individuals. Otherwise, what will happen to those recordings, especially when, as it already happening, there is no "object" that contains that recording.
I have been told of some discussions between NARAS and LOC addressing some of these issues. Perhaps Sam can fill us in.