Thanks to you and Suzanne for this information.
I personally am not interested in contributing to "closed access" restoration projects, but perhaps
others are. I don't see a lot of sense in contributing to preserve archival audio unless one of the
purposes of preservation is mass availability, preferably no-cost mass availability. Since the world
is not perfect and copyright laws are Draconian, I don't mind if a grant-funded project is destined
for market-price commercial release. But I don't believe that ARSC should contribute funds to
preserve audio that just sits in a digital vault rather than an analog vault. Also, as we've
discussed ad nauseum on this list, the BEST digital preservation strategy is many copies in many
places, ie mass availability.
One man's opinions ...
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nathan Georgitis" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, December 14, 2015 5:23 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] ARSC preservation grants and dissemination of recordings
Posted on behalf of Suzanne Flandreau, Chair, ARSC Grants Committee
This reply is for Tom Fine and anyone else who is wondering why the recordings ARSC preserves are
not freely available online.
Unfortunately, ARSC does not have final control over the dissemination of the preservation
recordings, especially online dissemination. That is up to the organizations we fund, because they
have the best knowledge of the circumstances in which the recordings were originally made, and of
the legal issues involved.
There are two major obstacles that keep digital preservation copies from being universally available
on the internet. The first obstacle is copyright. Nearly every piece of music performed is under
some form of rights restriction, and clearing rights, usually involving licensing, is cumbersome and
The second obstacle is the contractual agreements performing organizations make with musicians,
which usually cover recordings and broadcasts and may require that musicians be compensated for any
later use of a performance. For the recordings preserved, the contracts were negotiated long before
the Internet. There were no provisions for online access. The organizations must abide by the
We wish that all the projects we fund could be broadly available. ARSC recommends that copies be
placed in multiple trusted repositories, providing multiple places for on-site research use. But
the organizations we assist, particularly the orchestras, would not even apply for preservation
grants if we required universal online access, because they could not meet the requirement.
Isn't it best, given legal and contractual restrictions, to preserve at-risk recordings even if
access to them can't be universal?
Chair, ARSC Grants Committee
Executive Director, Association for Recorded Sound Collections
1299 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403
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