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Mike- Is right but I would go one further and say that the likelihood 
that you will be able to locate anyone in Business Affairs, at what is 
now Sony/BMG, who has even the vaguest idea what you are talking about 
is bordering on zero. I have found during my days
as a DJ, that many of the majors do not even know the about CD's by 
artists currently under contract to them (and are
out on the circuit touring behind these albums no less)!  I too am not 
a lawyer, but I think you should go ahead and do
exactly what you intend to do. Particularly since you could earmark all 
income from the sale  of the reissue to go
towards the scholarship fund, those involved could not even be 
construed as "profiting" from the sale.

Aaron Levinson
Libertad Records

On Oct 8, 2005, at 2:35 AM, Mike Richter wrote:

> Rod Stephens wrote:
>> Hello Karl,
>> I've watched the back and forth discussion re: copyrights with much 
>> interest for a personal reason.  During my personal time, I've been 
>> remastering to CD recordings from 1/4" master tapes that were made 
>> from 1951 to 1955 at small western college that I attended.  In fact, 
>> I was a member of the choral ensemble that was the subject of the 
>> recordings, so I guess that would make me one of the artists.  Also, 
>> the tapes were recorded by a local engineer/dairyman (his hobby), and 
>> then, used to make two commercial releases by Columbia Masterworks.  
>> There are about three more LPs that were released on Columbia's minor 
>> labels (Harmony, Epic, etc.).  However, the masters have remained in 
>> the possession of the succeeding conductors of the choir, and only 
>> recently were given to me for remastering.  I have sold a small 
>> number of the CDs to choir alumni (also, the "artists") who requested 
>> them, the cost of which, used to cover my minor costs, and the 
>> balance sent to the current college choir fund (a charitable 
>> donation).  The main thrust of this remastering is to be part of an 
>> archive at the college which we alums are trying to set up, so that 
>> there will be a history for the ongoing ensemble carrying on the 
>> tradition, and others that can take pride in the achievements that 
>> have been carried on at the school.
>> So far, the current director of the ensemble, one of the school of 
>> music professors, says that my remasterings are much better than the 
>> Columbia LPs, but I credit that to the digital tools that I use today 
>> that weren't available to the Columbia engineers.  Anyway, I feel 
>> that these are substantially improved recordings and changed in the 
>> process.
>> I guess I'm asking what the potential sale of these new renditions to 
>> the public could trigger?  Or, is just the private sale to alums 
>> legal?  We wish to generate revenue to help set up the archive.  
>> Again, remember, the masters were produced by our own engineer and 
>> returned I would guess after submastering to LP (the director who 
>> conducted and took the masters has passed on, so I don't have any 
>> direct knowledge of the process).  I'm pretty sure that these are the 
>> original masters due to the writing and EQ settings on the tape 
>> boxes, and the manual splices and manual editing.
>> I'd appreciate any input on what I feel is a unique situation.
>
> As always, it is necessary to note that I am not an attorney. The 
> following is from my reading and a few discussions with attorneys.
>
> It is essential to find out what agreement was signed with Columbia 
> for the commercial releases. In all likelihood, it is limited to the 
> titles they published, but it could have an exclusivity clause which 
> goes farther.
>
> Someone in the school's legal office should contact someone at CBS 
> after reviewing the agreement. Under the circumstances, it is likely 
> that CBS would waive any rights the agreement might have given them. 
> It is even possible, though quite unlikely, that they would like to 
> publish one or more of your transfers.
>
> The essential point is that the college presumably had all rights 
> initially unless there was a soloist under contract, in which case 
> that agreement would also have to be checked. Some rights were granted 
> to Columbia for publication; they are what probably need to be waived.
>
> Mike
> -- 
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