Your proposal is OK too, the only problem with it is that it's a lot more oversight and steps to
keep everything in print. But it could work. I think, though, if anything is commercially exploited
(ie charging you and me for either CD or download by a private company), then the LOC needs to be
reimbursed all their costs for that material, including on-going archiving costs. What I don't want
is "corporate welfare", which this seems to be in that the American Taxpayer is now Universal's
personal Iron Mountain and mastering facility. If we get fully reimbursed, then it's a win-win as
long as there is a mechanism for all of this material to be widely accessable (in print, either for
sale or not). The business incentive for the megaglomerate is that, no matter what the LOC charges
for archiving and transfer it's probably easier to deal with single-source outsourcing and control
of the master material than the current system where things are scattered around the globe in some
Also, regarding an earlier comment from you, I too noticed the part in the article about Bing Crosby
and wondered also if that meant fewer masters were destroyed in the Universal movie-lot fire. This
is possible, but one would think the metal parts to "White Christmas" wouldn't be stacked up on a
movie lot in a forgotten corner with all the B-sides and non-hits. It's possible that the metal
parts for the last Bing Crosby "Master of the Century" or other of that type reissue were never
returned to the "nest" of other Decca metal parts. Since I've never gotten a straight answer from
anyone at Universal as to what exactly burned up on that movie lot, I still assume the worst until
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Biel" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2011 9:04 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Your taxpayer dollars being given to the Universal Music Group.
> On 1/10/2011 7:35 PM, Ken Fritz wrote:
>> Hi All,
>> Is this via an earmark
> Do you know what an "earmark" is??? This is so far away from being an earmark that to use this
> word is laughable.
>> or outright theft from the taxpayer
> You are again so far off the mark. We are being GIVEN access. ACCESS. That is not a theft. The
> recordings are being DEPOSITED. That is how LC gets pretty much everything in it, such as books,
> films, records, etc etc etc. Getting a deposit of MASTERS is phenomenal, and this deposit is
> being handled pretty much like all deposits have been handled since perhaps 1818.
> Do the copyrights of the millions of BOOKS in LC get turned over to the government when the books
> are deposited in the Library? NO, of course not.
> If the BOOKS need to be restored, rebound, digitized, or otherwise restored, is there any problem
> with this being an expense of the Library? Of course not.
> If the original book publisher should somehow need to use a deposited copy for some reason such as
> needing to do a new edition but not able to work with their own file copies would they be denied
> access? Of course not.
> When RCA does a Toscanini issue and needs to use an NBC recording at LC for the master is there
> any difference? The NBC recordings were physically donated but no rights were conveyed to LC. IF
> NBC has the rights to a recording it is there. If they do not and someone needs to use the
> recording, LC and NBC guides them to whoever has the rights, but the rights had not been given to
>> who is too busy watching the mainstream media and newspapers covering up the shenanigans of our
>> elected officials?
>> There must be a pro taxpayer website that reports this kind of egregious waste. If so, I bet
>> they can't find the time to post all the crap that goes on in DEE CEE.
> You, sir, are FULL OF CRAP and are showing your absolute ignorance of how libraries and archives
> work. I doubt you have ever researched in a research facility like LC.
> > It's hard to keep my posting on this site free from political
> opinions when this type of thing comes to light.
> > Mad and getting madder, Ken Fritz
> Frankly, I would regard your comment as stupid and getting stupider.
> On the other hand, Tom's suggestions are reasonable and well thought out, although they probably
> would have squelched the deal. Instead of the use-it-or-lose-it aspect, I would suggest
> compulsory licensing. If it is not active in the Universal catalog they MUST allow the recording
> to be licensed to anyone with a minimum reasonable fee that would cover their royalties and LCs
> restoration costs. It is the compulsory part that is the main difference from what is the usual
> procedures on other collections.
> Because there is a provision for a public ACCESS website, the initial digitalization is for it,
> not for Universal alone. LC has been undertaking a project of 10,000 pre-electric Sony masters
> which will probably be the first things on that web site (originally promised for last year). The
> engineering for this is minimal restoration, and I suppose that will be the type of work that will
> be initially be done here. More extensive restoration would be done for items licensed, either
> from Sony masters of the Universal deposit.
> Mike Biel [log in to unmask]
>> On Jan 10, 2011, at 6:07 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
>>> Hi Karl:
>>> I agree with you. The American taxpayers shouldn't be Universal's transfer and mastering
>>> engineer, and archivist/storage facility for that matter. I think the deal should be done this
>>> 1. The Universal masters transfer to the LOC and become the property of the US taxpayer,
>>> including all outstanding copyright ownership. There should be a tax writeoff of some sort on
>>> this in order to encourage all the vaults of the teetering megaglomerates to be preserved.
>>> 2. The LOC agrees to transfer this material to digital format within a reasonable timeframe. One
>>> possible funding mechanism is described below.
>>> 3. Universal then gets a limited time (I'd argue the max time be 2 years after digitization of a
>>> given piece of content) to commercialize anything the LOC has transferred, paying a mastering
>>> charge and royalty on sales to the US Treasury. In other words, they get one bite on the apple,
>>> but they may keep something in print commercially as long as the copyright on the new version
>>> lasts. If they take it out of print, I think everything should revert back to the US taxpayers.
>>> Universal could choose to make its "claim" and then sub-license material to Mosaic or other
>>> boutique labels, but the material must remain in print and royalties be paid to the Treasury in
>>> order for Universal to have its exclusive bite of the apple.
>>> 4. Anything not chosen to be commercialized by Universal should be put in the public domain by
>>> the LOC. There may have to be a download charge of some sort in order to pay performance or
>>> publishing royalties, where these are still due. If none of these royalties are due, then the
>>> material should be widely available for free to its owners, the US taxpayers. Obviously, the way
>>> to do this is via a free download site. All of this could be supported by the royalties from
>>> what Universal chooses to commercialize. I can see that the LOC might need to charge a small
>>> amount to support all of this, rates akin to Amazon and iTunes downloads would seem reasonable
>>> (ie market prices). The goal of the PD element is not to get something for nothing as much as to
>>> get all this stuff back in print and readily available to be enjoyed.
>>> One taxpayer's views ...
>>> -- Tom Fine
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Karl Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> On 1/10/2011 11:14 AM, Karl Miller wrote:
>>>> If you read the article below you will not that Universal will retain copyright ownership to
>>>> their recordings.
>>> --- On Mon, 1/10/11, Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> That is the same deal that the NBC collection is under.
>>> Same as most of the unique recordings held at LOC and other institutions...yet as we approach
>>> copyrights in perpetuity, the rationale for spending taxpayer money for this sort of activity
>>> seems questionable to me, especially when there will not be reasonable access and even more so
>>> when the copyright owner has stated upfront that they plan to use the digitized recordings for
>>> their own profit.
>>> Will LOC get a cut of the profit from the sale of the recordings they have digitized?
>>> For me, there are substantive ethical questions on both sides of the argument, but it seems to
>>> me that there is room for questioning the use of public funds for this purpose.