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----- Original Message -----
From: "James L Wolf" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, June 09, 2003 3:36 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Fw: [78-l] (Fwd) Naxos Wins Landmark Case
AgainstCapitol/EMI


> Steve,
>
>    The text of the Capitol v. Naxos opinion was sent to me by Sam
> Brylawski, and it's a very interesting read. While it's direct impact
> appears to be narrowly specific to pre-1953 EMI (recorded in Europe)
> recordings (they're PD even in US), I wonder if broader conclusions can
> be drawn from it, particularly  from the concept of "abandonment" of a
> copyright.
>      Judge Robert W. Sweet declared in his summary judgement that
> Capitol did not own the rights to the EMI recordings it claimed. This
> was for at least three reasons. First and biggest, EMI was found to have
> waived their copyright claim to pre-1957 EMI recordings. Second, EMI of
> England only transferred it's rights to its recordings to Capitol (US)
> in 1996, after everything from 1946 and earlier had gone into the public
> domain in England. Third, Capitol had abandoned these copyrights anyway
> by allowing others to "bootleg" their recordings without taking action.
>
>    So what defines "abandonment" of a copyright? How many years, how
> many "bootleg" copies? That's the biggest question for me and others, no
> doubt.
>    The restoration question only comes into play with the understanding
> that Capitol had no rights to the original recording and that Capitol
> and Naxos were competing fairly with dueling restorations.
>    Capitol had 20 days from May 6, 2003 to submit more factual
> information to the judge. Does anyone know if they did?
I've always felt that the concept of "abandonment" should be written into
copyright law, especially for sound recordings! In other words, "Use it
(i.e. issue it in a consumer-accesible form) or lose it (i.e. it becomes
public domain). Actually, this could involve the opposite concept as
well...that is, if a sound recording (or whatever) is still being made
available to consumers, the copyright doesn't expire. Thus, the copyright
on Mickey Mouse, or Caruso recordings, or Elvis recordings, would still
be in force, while all the odds and ends of "one-hit wonders" would be
p.d. as soon as their fame expired and their records hit the cut-out bin!
...stevenc