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   The "use it or lose it" proposal is pretty much unworkable and
unfair, unless one applied it only after a long period of time like 50
years or so. Otherwise, any indie publishers would have to keep stuff in
print without any lapses to keep their copyrights. Just bringing down
the length of copyright to somewhere under 170+ years might be a better
start.
   As to the second suggestion, it's my understanding that recordings
made by corporations which "died intestate" are de facto Public Domain
(and the intellectual content as well if pre-1923). If no-one can claim
ownership, no-one can claim infringement. Emerson is a good example of
this.
   Just to be sure this is OK with our legal folks, the above is my
opinion, not that of the LOC, so on and so forth.

James

>>> [log in to unmask] 07/21/03 12:14PM >>>
<Lengthy thread on copyright duration/renewal not quoted>
Actually, I have what might be a better solution (this can be
debated). What if a legal entity could only hold copyright while
a particular item (I am mainly concerned with sound recordings)
was being made available in a form matching current technology
(presumably a CD, though microgroove records might also qualify).
This way, items which have essentially stayed in the catalog
permanently (i.e. recordings by Elvis Presley, Glenn Miller or
Caruso) would still be under copyright, and thus couldn't be
pirated...but any recordings dropped from the catalog would
automatically fall into the public domain. Likewise, recordings
whose copyright holders "died intestate" (i.e. the companies
were wound up and any copyrights weren't legally transferred,
like many small record companies of the 1920's and the post-WWII
era) would be in the public domain, since their recordings would
be no longer in production.
Steven C. Barr