Jan Myren wrote:
> I have just bought some fine CD box sets from the label Proper. They are
> almost like Bear Familys but in smaller format. Many interesting titles >at a
> very special low price.
> I found releases by The Hoosier Hot Shots, early jazz rarities, country >and
> boogie music recordings from 78's and so on!
> What do you think about those Proper releases?
List member Cary Ginnell has pointed out that the ironically-named "Proper"
thoroughly ripped off the excellent Milton Brown and his Brownies CD set
that Cary's label, OJL (USA), produced and I believe still sells. "Proper"
not only stole the digital transfers, thus claiming as its own the
painstaking work that OJL's restoration engineer had done on the Milton
Brown recordings, but also stole the photographs from the CD booklet, when
Cary had negotiated with Brown's family the rights to reproduce these.
List member Dr. Rainer Lotz has pointed out that "Proper" similarly stole
several restorations of Nazi-era German recordings that Dr. Lotz had
originally released on the Harlequin (UK) label.
Essentially, "Proper" steals from the collections and painstaking
restoration work of others, allowing them to issue "many interesting titles
at a very special low price" at the expense of the collectors and
restoration experts who worked hard to make this material available to us.
"Proper" siphons away what meager profits they might make, and this can have
the effect of discouraging collectors and restoration experts from
continuing to issue unique and rare material in excellent sound. Few of
these collectors have the resources to sue bootleg labels such as "Proper,"
and I understand those who have tried have found certain courts in Europe
unsympathetic. At least Bear Family had the resources to get JSP to desist
from bootlegging Bear Family titles "at the very special low price" weeks
after the Bear Family official issue came out(I am specifically thinking of
the Carter Family box set). (Note that Bear Family, like Mosaic, gets
permission from the copyright holders, which may be one reason why they are
releases are relatively expensive).
I will admit to being in something of a quandary about this issue. Over the
years, I purchased many LPs reissuing vintage recording on such labels as
Yazoo, Herwin, County. No doubt all these were bootleg labels too,
reissuing priceless performances which the successor interests of the
original issuing labels probably did not even know they had copyrights to.
In this context, one could argue that "Proper" is merely bootlegging the
bootleggers. However, I draw a distinction between those who have
collected, over time and at (likely) great expense, vintage commercial
recordings and have chosen to share them by selling them in a convenient
format, and those who merely steal the work of such folk.
So, after this long answer, my short answer to your question, "what do you
think about these Proper releases?" is I will not have them in the house.
Best, Mark Hendrix