>In reponse to the discussion on copyright of and access to audio treasures:

I am working with a small group here in San Diego to digitize and make 
accessible a large tape collection of American folk music recorded at folk 
festivals and coffee houses in the 1960s and 70s. The tapes are owned by 
the gentleman who organized the festivals and performances, and there is no 
formal copyright on any of the material. Our expectation is that most, if 
not all of the performers will be happy to see their work of 30 or 40 years 
ago come to light for public enjoyment and scholarly research. We shall see 
whether any 'cease and desist' orders result.

Unfortunately, a lot of material like this resides in archives that are 
difficult to access. Our model that we would aim for is that of the Max 
Hunter Folk Song Collection at Missouri State University 
( Here anyone can access 
the entire sound collection in several different formats, as well as 
complete text of song words and musical notation! Check out their statement 
about copyright - The 
statement essentially acknowledges the rights of the original performers 
and encourages respect and consideration on the part of those who access 
the archive - but places the burden on the user to not violate commonsense 

Another group addressing these issues is Creative Commons. -

Here is a definition from Wikipedia:

The Creative Commons website enables copyright holders to grant some of 
their rights to the public while retaining others through a variety of 
licensing and contract schemes including dedication to the public domain or 
open content licensing terms. The intention is to avoid the problems 
current copyright laws create for the sharing of information.

The project provides several free licenses that copyright holders can use 
when releasing their works on the web. They also provide RDF/XML metadata 
that describes the license and the work that makes it easier to 
automatically process and locate licensed works. They also provide a 
'Founder's Copyright' [1] contract, intended to re-create the effects of 
the original U.S. Copyright created by the founders of the U.S. Constitution.

Creative Commons also provides webspace and bandwidth for creative work in 
digital format - free of charge and in perpetuity. Check out:



Russ Hamm
Educational Technology Specialist
National School District (
tel. (619) 336-7752
FAX (619) 336-7551