As an archivist, the Universal bequest to LC sounds fairly standard to me except for the sheer volume of material. In most cases, archives acquire only the physical items while the creator of the material retains the copyright. (Although some archives do try to get the copyright transferred when acquiring new collections). At my archive, for example, copyright for all literary, performing arts, and architecture collections remains with the author, artist, or architect. I would be very surprised if a record label wanted to turn over their copyrights to a library, or if a library wanted to get into the business of managing their copyright and commercial sales on top of their regular activities. As libraries, our mission is to preserve materials and make them available to scholars and the general public for research, not to handle all distribution of material in our collections.
Archival practice gives preference to large runs of material which demonstrate the full range of activities of the collection's creator (in this case, Universal Records). Archivists don't like to cherrypick for high points because we don't have a crystal ball to lets us know which material will be useful to researchers in the future, and pulling specific items out of a larger collection removes contextual information. Space is always an issue, so I'm sure that LC considered that when deciding to take in this massive collection.
Coordinator for Digital Projects & Instruction
114 University Libraries
Houston, TX 77204-2000
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Frank Strauss
Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 8:31 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Your taxpayer dollars being given to the Universal Music Group.
I confess to being a very interested amateur in the area of recording
conservation (and conversation), but have, over the years, become a
professional tax payer. Do I understand that 1 mile of materials are coming
out of the mountain stronghold and going to live in sunny Culpepper, VA?
Won't here be some serious storage issues, or does the LOC already have
facilities? I agree with Tom. The present deal sounds like Universal gets
to have its cake and eat it too.
Frank B Strauss, DMD