Victoria's summary is really useful, I think. In the case of audio,
consider this, too:
There was no federal copyright registration process for sound
recordings before Feb. 15, 1972. In my opinion, many "pre-'72"
recordings *might* be considered orphans, too, because their rights
holders are so difficult to track down. We may know how to contact
Sony Music Entertainment rights offices for Victor and Columbia output
but what about all the post-WWII independent labels? The challenges
faced in compiling the NRPB study conducted by Tim Brooks and Steve
Smolian, "Survey of Reissues of U.S. Recordings"
(http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub133/pub133.pdf) are cases in
Also, I think that we can add most recordings of radio broadcasts to
this category. 99.9% of them have certainly been abandoned by their
rights holders, at least until a party with rights gets wind of
someone trying to distribute them. It could be argued that these are
the opposite of "orphans." They have too many parents. But the
problems surrounding them are the same as those for orphans.
May I suggest that someone involved in the film orphans symposia
summarize the objectives and accomplishments of these conferences?
Then we can see how audio orphans might benefit from such attention.
Editor and Project Manager
Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings
University of California, Santa Barbara
On Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 10:39 AM, VICTORIA <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> To reference orphan films, the definition of "orphan" by way of Dan
> Streible is the following:
> Narrowly defined, it's a motion picture abandoned by its owner or caretaker.
> More generally, the term refers to all manner of films outside of the
> commercial mainstream: public domain materials, home movies, outtakes,
> unreleased films, industrial and educational movies, independent
> documentaries, ethnographic films, newsreels, censored material, underground
> works, experimental pieces, silent-era productions, stock footage, found
> footage, medical films, kinescopes, small- and unusual-gauge films, amateur
> productions, surveillance footage, test reels, government films,
> advertisements, sponsored films, student works, and sundry other ephemeral
> pieces of celluloid (or paper or glass or tape or . . . ).
> For orphan audio one could adapt the terminology to include:
> A work or collection of audio that has been abandoned by its owner or
> caretaker. More generally, the term refers to all manner of audio outside of
> the commercial mainstream: public domain materials, home made, unreleased
> audio, independent documentary recordings, ethnographic recordings, early
> and public radio programming, censored material, underground works,
> experimental pieces,early recordings, government tapes, advertisement
> recordings, student works, and sundry other ephemeral pieces surrounding
> audio recordings, and other obsolete format recordings not under copyright.
> I think orphan audio can mean a number of categories similar to those above
> mentioned, but basically a work or collection that has been abandoned, and
> those collections that have no current known rights holders. So the term
> "orphan" is more of an umbrella term for a number of categories , all which
> have no current place for recognition or prolonged preservation /storage.
> In saying that, can we further model the above terminology to better suit
> audio? And can we perhaps bring this area of topic to a platform for broader
> discussion-is a symposium a worthy option to recognize these "orphan"
> Best, Victoria
> On Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 7:35 PM, Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Could you give us a definition of what you mean by "Orphan Audio"? I
> > can think of several meanings, one being recordings made by people or
> > companies which have no current known rights holders. This is how I
> > have heard this term being used, specifically by Sam Brylawski and Tim
> > Brooks in discussions of copyright searches and use of recordings by
> > companies which have disappeared. But reading your messages, looking at
> > the referenced web sites, and even looking at transcripts of several of
> > the talks, it looks like it could also mean collections that have been
> > put together by private collectors, now deceased, or institutions which
> > no longer are actively caring for them or making them accessible.
> > Considering several of the postings earlier today by people wondering
> > what to do with their collections, this is also a major issue. So, what
> > do YOU mean by "Orphan Audio"?
> > Mike Biel [log in to unmask]
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: VICTORIA
> > >
> > > I am wondering if anyone knows of any symposium dedicated to orphan audio
> > > collections? I know the Orphans Symposium dedicated to film collections
> > has
> > > included audio components in the past. But as far as i know, no such
> > > symposium for audio as feature, exists. (aside from the ARSC conference
> > > which covers an array of issues surrounding audio) Let me know if i am
> > > wrong, and who is doing this with regards to orphan collections. Or,
> > > perhaps what can be done as a community to launch such efforts. ?
> > >
> > > I have been working with a number of un-housed audio collections, and am
> > > curious as to how to shed more light on this expansive area of
> > unpreserved,
> > > orphaned audio.
> > >
> > > Very best,
> > > Victoria Keddie
> > On Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 4:33 PM, Barnett, Kyle
> > <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> > > Victoria,
> > >
> > > While I don't know of a symposium specific to orphan audio, however, I
> > know
> > > that Dan Streible of the Orphans Film Conference is also interested in
> > sound
> > > as well as image. In lieu of an orphan audio conference, you might
> > consider
> > > applying to present at future Orphans film conferences (
> > > http://www.nyu.edu/orphanfilm/orphans7/).
> > >
> > > And, of course, with ARSC's interest in recorded sound and intellectual
> > > property issues, I'm sure the ARSC conference would be amenable to an
> > > expanded conversation with orphan audio -- and conversations may already
> > be
> > > going on.
> > >
> > > Best,
> > > Kyle
> VICTORIA KEDDIE
> T 646.684.5494
> E [log in to unmask]