Very interesting thread going on here about copyright and recordings.  We can 
sit around and complain to each other, but I hope that some on this list are 
willing to make their views (and experiences) known to legislators and others 
who frame these laws.  If you stir up enough noise you CAN make a difference.  
You need to know what you're talking about, and you need allies.

Our European colleagues have an opportunity to make a difference right now, 
as the EU, under pressure from the multinational entertainment companies, 
considers lengthening recording copyright terms there beyond the current 50 years.  
To what?  Maybe the 95 years that is embedded in federal law in the U.S.? 
(State law extends that even further.)  Maybe make it retroactive?  James 
Purnell, the UK's Minister for Creative Industries ( 
has said that he will push this during his EU term in 2006.  Does anyone know of 
specific European organizations/officials, scholarly or other, that are 
opposing this?  I can't find any, beyond vague general references.  To influence 
this debate you need to find allies.

Does anyone on the list live in Purnell's district (Stalybridge & Hyde)?

In the U.S. a number of efforts are going on to try to bring a modicum of 
sanity to our copyright laws.  Congress DID pass the National Recording 
Preservation Act in 2000, which among other things asks for studies of preservation and 
access to help inform Congress on what needs to be done in this field (this 
is how the previously referenced CLIR study came about).  Several prominant 
senators and representatives asked the Copyright Office to investigate the 
"orphan works" issue, which it is now doing.  (I'll write about this in the fall 
ARSC Journal).  Sure the recording companies have a lot of lobbyists, but they 
get a free pass if legislators don't hear the other side, loud and clear, from a 
lot of people.  

Have you badgered your congressman lately?

Tim Brooks
Chair, ARSC Copyright & Fair Use Committee