On Mon, 22 Nov 2004, Mike Richter wrote:

> IP is vital to promote the sciences and the arts - so says the U.S.
> Constitution and so I believe. But excess in pursuit of such protection
> will obstruct progess in those fields; in that sense, the pirates are
> achieving what the law frustrates.

Much of the time I find it difficult to decide at what time individual
rights infringe on the rights of society.

For me, the situation has now become absurd. I want to issue some live
performances of the music of Gould performed by Mitropoulos and the NY
Phil. Since there is ample demonstration that the NY Phil has abandoned
copyright of their broadcasts, I feel comfortable releasing these
performances. Further, when you talk to them they will tell you (but not
put in writing) that as long as you don't put New York Philharmonic
anywhere on the recording, and if it is pre Bernstein, they won't go after
you. It is an easy matter to pay the mechanical rights on the music,
but in this scenario the Philharmonic ends up getting nothing. While the
costs of paying the Union fees would make such a release financial
disaster for any label, you can't even pay them any part of the
net...assuming you have anything to pay them.

Trying not to repeat myself...then there is the crazy situation where you
can release in Europe a pre 1954 broadcast of any US orchestra and the
someone in the US can, even if there are legal considerations, buy it over
the internet...again, the orchestra gets nothing.

One last bit of absurdity (in my opinion) in the law. I want to issue some
pre 1954 programs from the French Broadcasting Corporation. Some of you
probably remember the series "Masterworks from France." These performances
are public domain in France, yet, my reading of the law suggests that since
they were not public domain in the US in 1996? they are subject to the US
copyrights and I cannot issue them in the US.

Who benefits in some of these scenarios?

Sorry if I am preaching to the choir.