The status of these recordings from a federal viewpoint is really clear.
As pre-1972 sound recordings, they enjoy no federal copyright protection.
To succeed in such a case, the plaintiffs must make out a case under some
state law copyright theory. There is no uniformity from state to state as
to such state law, and many states have none. It is very hard to
generalize about such state law. For example, CA has a statute, and in NY
there is some pretty wild court-made law. ARSC has been working hard to
get Congress to federalize copyright law for pre-1972 sound recordings, to
get rid of the state law crazy-quilt (among other goals).
On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 5:41 PM, Sam Brylawski <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> A copyright lawyer told me a week or two ago that this issue has been
> resolved. He wouldn't tell me how, though, so I don't know if the Buck
> Foundation was paid something or "convinced" by opposing attorneys that
> they hadn't any grounds to their claim. The secrecy is a real shame as it
> could prevent other parties from providing access to the recordings if they
> were aware of the true status of the masters.
> Sam Brylawski
> On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 5:25 PM, Wolf, James L <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > AFAIK, there is still some question as to what exactly was purchased by
> > whom. Many myths, few facts.
> > It is true that none of these recordings are in the Public Domain in the
> > US, but they may be effectively orphaned if no clear owner can be
> > established. GHB's documents will need to show a clear series of
> > of ownership of the *rights to reproduce* these recordings.
> > We shall see.
> > James
> > All opinion personal, no reflection of Library policy, etc.
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
> > [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Arthur Gaer
> > Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 4:52 PM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: [ARSCLIST] Paramount Wonder Cabinet accused of Copyright
> > Infringement
> > I was wondering about the ownership/copyright status of the Paramount
> > recordings used in Jack White's Paramount Wonder Cabinet art piece.
> > Apparently the George H. Buck, Jr. Jazz Foundation was wondering the same
> > thing.
> > "GHB Jazz Foundation, a non-profit organization that specializes in
> > keeping jazz and other American musical forms available to the public by
> > issuing LPs, CDs, books and videos, claims ownership of the rights to the
> > Paramount (and its associated labels) sound recordings. GHB purchased the
> > Paramount catalogue from John Steiner of Chicago in 1970," Edegran
> > in a statement.
> > "Steiner himself acquired Paramount from the Wisconsin Chair Company (the
> > original owner) in the late 1940s. There are documents for both of these
> > transactions. Sound recordings published before 1972 are not under
> > copyright but are covered under common law or state anti-piracy
> > statues.Third Man/Revenant Records claim that Paramount recordings are in
> > the public domain."
> > Arthur Gaer