I think this point of keeping items in print to maintain copyright has some merits, but I 'd like to add one other factor. Under current law, copyright holders have the right to publish or suppress. This makes sense only up to the point where commercial value comes into play. Meaning that while money can be generated, it makes sense that the copyright holder have control over who makes that money, even if that's nobody. The problem is that the duration of commercial viability has no relation whatsoever to the duration of copyright. Louis Armstrong c.1928 recordings may still be moneymakers in 100 years, but by then (hopefully) the state "copyrights" on his sound recordings will have expired. Conversely, records put out in 2003 may have commercial value for a year or less, and then nothing ever again. Until recently, the solution to this problem had been a form of compromise over terms of copyright, first by making the holder apply for an extension to go past the first 7, 14, or 28 year term. With state laws for recordings, these sorts of compromises were never included, and now with Sonny Bono's ghost and Disney determined to eliminate any real barriers to eternal copyright (held by corporations of course) these compromises are gone entirely. Thus, as some Supreme Court justices have noted, corporations now hold much of the cultural heritage of our country hostage (and incommunicado) so that they can continue to profit from the less than one percent of that heritage that they can make money off of. The solution is to return to the saner laws of the past, or to forge new compromises which take into account commercial viability as a test for extended copyright protection. I'd be willing to let the corps hold onto Armstrong et al. as long as they continued to make that stuff available and as long as they let go of all the stuff that they don't need any more, which they only hold onto so as not to establish any "precedents" which might hurt them somewhere down the road. As I've said before, this can only happen through the Legislative branch, and the sooner that concerned institutions pool their resources and make the pitch to Congress, the sooner something good might happen. Until the recent fights over Bono's extension and RIAA's draconian anti-piracy measures, I don't think Congress was that aware of the other sides (other than the corporations') to the issue of copyright and public domain. Now I do think that they are more aware and would be much more open to proposals for solutions that would at least accommodate all sides, if not satisfy them entirely. This is my personal opinion and has no relation to any official Library of Congress policy or position. Please don't confuse it for an official Library statement. But I should say that a lot of jobs at the Library (including mine) would be a great deal easier if copyright laws were relaxed, so I'm especially unable to be neutral or disinterested on this subject. James >>> [log in to unmask] 10/24/03 12:37PM >>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]> > Or do we license all music ever made to a central database. They make it > available to everyone under different deals. A listening library pays a > yearly license fee, a consumer gets to download it for $?? a radio station > pays a different fee, and internet listener another and after 75 years it's > P.D. and free. (I currently like 75 years, 50 is too short and US law is > ridiculous!) It's interesting to read this, coming as it is from an operation that specializes in the reissuing of old sound recordings. To me, though, it points out the need for a different approach to the copyright terms on sound recordings. Tom's idea on a term seems to be based on the age of the material they have already issued... which seems logical when you think about it. However, it leaves everything <75 years old still protected, whether or not Arhoolie or someone else has it in their catalog and thus needs protection, and thus inaccessible to anyone who doesn't happen to have a copy of the original issue! I still think that the best approach would be one which would be based on whether the copyright owner had the material available to the public. There would have to be a lot of fine points defined as to "available" and other limitations, but this would at least remedy the current situation whereby the original owner can refuse to (re)issue a recording and, as well, refuse to allow anyone else to do so. In this scenario, a reissuer such as Arhoolie would acquire an effective copyright to any dormant material they reissued...but only for the duration of the availability of their reissue. There might be problems if two different people happened to reissue the same dormant recording(s) effectively simultaneously and without knowledge of the other project. What are other thoughts on this approach? Steven C. Barr NOTE: This refers ONLY to the actual copyright on the sound recording, and not to publisher or composer rights/royalties since they latter are covered by compulsory license.