In a message dated 2/25/2005 1:38:58 PM Eastern Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

I'm yearning for the day when everyone posts their collections as MP3s
(and for video, a single adequate file format, instead of the dozens of
fussy little incompatible file types we see today).

And, yes, I'm talking through my hat" I don't have a single file posted.

Of course thousands of people are doing that; people with no resources to
attach and many below legal age of responsibility.

However for an institution or wealthy individual collector with some
resources and a liability insurance policy that they would like to keep in effect,
this is a difficult matter.

Even for an extremely obscure recording, e.g.: a 100 year old code practice
record set, there is probably some traceable ownership, to, say, Sony Music.
If you ask their legal department, the only reasonable answer is NO, since they
could not justify the $100/hour cost to even look at the case.

An upper level management decision to permit reproduction could be made. For
example Tektronix has given blanket permission to copy obsolete oscilloscope
manuals. However HP as explicitly refused.  The problem is that upper
management often has little to do with such mundane activities and it may change
overnight at any time anyway.

One of the best ways to preserve information is widespread distribution. I
once read that if you sell 1000 copies of your book, you assure immortality.
But unless the copyright laws reverse their current trend, this method will be
impracticable except for the most popular, marketable commercial material.

Mike Csontos