"Ownership" of a recording is actually a bundle of rights. Whoever holds
the copyright on the recording owns the right to release and exploit the
content of the recording. That is a different matter from ownership of the
physical manifestation of a recording, e.g. a tape or recorded disc or
whatever media was used. Neither "owner" has the right to "take" what
other owns, and where the copyright holder lacks physical possession of the
recording, it takes both owners to agree and work together to release the
recording. Both private ownership interests can be bought and sold.
It is possible for a recording engineer to be the owner or partial owner of
the copyright interest--that all depends on whatever contractual
arrangements have been entered into by the parties. But the engineer does
not get such copyright ownership just as a matter of course, absent some
specific contractual agreement.
With historical recordings, very often ownership of the physical
manifestation (e.g., a tape), particularly where that item is unique, puts
the physical owner "in the driver's seat." Nobody can do anything without
access to the tape he or she owns.
I have been in that position and had the involved artist who still holds
the copyright interest absolutely refuse to collaborate with me on
releasing a wonderful, now historic recording. It takes all kinds. And
just watch how fast I walk away and choose not to share what's on that
recording with the uncooperative artist. And had a good laugh at her
manager's crude effort to wheedle me out of it. I was prepared to be
generous; we never got that far.
Hope that helps.
On Wed, Nov 18, 2020, 1:01 PM Lou Judson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I can speak to only one, personal, aspect of this, as a professional live
> sound and recording engineer.
> When doing “work for hire” no rights accrue to the engineer, unless
> specifically agreed upon in writing, as far s I now!
> Ownership of the physical media containing the recording is a different
> I am working on “digitizing” the archives of a music club over the past 45
> years, and each engineer who has their own recodings is considered the
> owner of those recordings, but the performances, the music, and the
> published songs are NOT our property!
> I’d like to learn more about this too. I have live recordings going back
> to 1971… done as the live sound engineer.
> Lou Judson
> Intuitive Audio
> > On Nov 18, 2020, at 9:50 AM, Jeff Willens <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >> 2. Where do we find documentation for the rights of the sound engineer
> >> interviewer) who is doing the recording? I see the copyright office
> >> circular for sound recordings. Maybe I'm missing something.