One thing that has made legitimate reissues so expensive and slow in the
past has been the cost of researching the recording contracts at the record
company end. It's not clear how the arrangements with the LOC protect the
companies from contracty quirks. There's little point in clearing stuff for
reissue, only to find a lawsuit on your corporate doorstep as a result.
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 6:07 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Your taxpayer dollars being given to the Universal
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 cases.
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 proven otherwise.
-- 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
>>> 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