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Forwarded for comment...a very well-reasoned and well-written opposition
to the British attempt to import the US "eternal copyright" on sound
recordings...

Steven C. Barr

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dr. Rainer E. Lotz c/o Birgit Lotz Verlag"
<[log in to unmask]>
To: "78-L" <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 4:22 AM
Subject: [78-l] British copyright laws


> I received the following from Tony Barker and hope he does not mind if I
> were to share it with 78-L
>
>
> Tony Barker
> Music Hall Magazine
> Cylidisc Music Hall CDs
> http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/musichall
>
>
>
> NB - DEADLINE 21 APRIL!!
>
> Dear Friends
>
> May I draw your attention to this matter. If you feel strongly about it
> please email Andrew Gowers before 21 April. His email address is at the
> bottom of this email along with some links to relevant websites. Or you
> could leave your views on the bottom of the websites listed below.
>
>
>
> THE PROPOSAL
>
> There is a proposal to extend mechanical copyright to 95 years (i e the
> copyright in recordings would remain with the company who made the
> original recording for 95 years, rather than the current 50 years. This
> currently applies retrospectively, i e at the moment recordings made 50
> years or less ago can only be issued by the "parent company." Recordings
> over 50 years old can be reissued by anyone. That 50 would change to 95
> if this goes through!
>
>
>
> THE PROPOSED EXTENSION OF MECHANICAL COPYRIGHT TO 95 YEARS
>
> What follows are my ramblings on the subject, which I include as they
> may help highlight some of the relevant issues. I am struggling to hone
> these down to an acceptable length to send in! It was only while writing
> these that some of the awful consequences came clear to me - eg that 95
> years would put all but the first 12 years of commercial recordings back
> behind the copyright barrier. It will affect all reissues of
> minority-interest music, and as a collector of blues, country, jazz,
> etc, I dread the consequences. If your collection contains only issues
> by EMI and the majors, you have nothing to worry about  -so long as you
> trust them to reissue the music you love!
>
> I do feel strongly about this, as you will see. I dare say you do too -
> if so, make sure you email your views to Andrew Gowers before 21 April.
> The debate will apparently be "evidence led" so include any facts or
> figures you have.
>
> THE PROBLEM
>
> You, like me, probably care little about the main thrust of this
> proposal (i e big modern companies & artistes seeing their copyright
> nearing its end, and looking to protect their interests for longer). But
> here's the rub-off. If the 95 years copyright extension becomes law, and
> is applied retrospectively, the only people allowed to reissued
> recordings made in the past 95 years, ie after 1910, will be the
> companies who recorded them. Due to takeovers these "parent companies"
> are now Polygram (for Decca, Winner) and EMI (HMV, Zonophone, Columbis,
> Regal, possibly Homochord, etc.). What chance do we have that they will
> ever reissue music hall recordings? Their collective track record of
> reissuing archive music hall recordings in the last 30 years is between
> nil and negligible.
>
>
>
> WHAT CHANCE MUSIC HALL REISSUES BY THE MAJORS?
>
> Polygram and EMI are the companies who would be responsible for any
> reissue of music hall records less than 95 years old in the future.
> Reissue of these historical historically important recordings (and I
> believe of opera, jazz, blues etc) has not fared well in these hands.
> What do you think the chances are of them doing better in the future?
>
>
>
> POLYGRAM'S TRACK RECORD
>
> No music hall reissues for over 30 years. Polygram (who took over Decca,
> who had taken over Edison Bell & Winner) in fact hold NONE of the
> masters, or indeed copies of any of their pre-1948 recordings AT ALL -
> NOT ONE. Of the nigh-on 4,000 Edison Bell Winners they technically
> control - You guessed it! They have NONE! This is a result of thinking
> so little of what they did have that they sold it off to private
> collectors years ago. This action alone shows their attitude to
> reissuing archive / vintage recordings - their recordings only now exist
> in the hands of private collectors! They DO NOT HAVE any of the music
> hall recordings THEY ALONE, under any new retrospective extension, would
> be able to reissue or suppress for 95 years from their recording date.
> Fortunately, most Winners and Deccas exist in various private
> collections - but these collectors are not young (I include myself!)
> and, without reissue, the future fate of these recordings is precarious.
>
>
>
> EMI'S TRACK RECORD
>
> Since closing their World Records section over 30 years ago, there have
> been no music hall reissues from EMI.  EMI do have an archive of many of
> their HMV 78 issues, but certainly not all of them. They have not kept
> any/ most of their own cheap label Zonophones, on which most of their
> music hall recordings were issued. Myself and others have tried for
> decades to encourage them to reissue what they have, or to make it
> available for reissue by others, all to no avail. And here's another
> thing! Their archive is even more remarkable in its incompleteness! When
> they merged with Columbia (&Regal) in 1931 they continued to consider
> them the enemy, & chose not to hold any archive of Columbia Records,
> even though they were now their property. Fred Gaisberg was amazed to
> find they didn't have the Columbia 78s of the great classical pianist
> Busoni in the EMI archive - and that was post-merger! Opera collectors
> in charge of the ongoing Historic Masters reissue project have found
> only one acoustic Columbia 78 in the EMI Archive so far. Pre-merger,
> Columbia had issued over 5,000 records, Regal had issued about 4, 000.
> Through Lindstrom, they technically own 1,600 Jumbos and a few thousand
> more Bekas, Scalas and Coliseums, not one of which is held at EMI. These
> should all be in EMI's Archive, but they have NONE OF THEM! Again, THEY
> ALONE, under any new retrospective extension, would be able to reissue
> or suppress these for 95 years from their recording date.
>
>
>
> INDEPENDENT REISSUERS
>
> Most original music hall recordings only exist today due to the efforts
> of dedicated enthusiasts - enthusiasts not interested in financial
> considerations, but in the preservation of these artefacts of a valuable
> part of our cultural heritage. Myself & a number of other enthusiasts
> have spent the best part of our lives running to ground early
> recordings, in my case of music hall artistes, in others of opera,
> classical, jazz, blues, folk, country, speech, etc. The vast majority of
> these recordings (probably 75%) are not held in any company archive,
> existing only in private collections built up over forty-odd years
> devoted to saving them from the junk-heap. Some collectors choose to
> keep their finds to themselves. Others wish to spread knowledge and
> appreciation of this historical subject by reissuing them. If it were
> not for the activities of independent reissuers, whose CD reissues
> mostly sell in quantities less than 100, music hall reissues just would
> not exist.
>
>
>
> WHY IS REISSUING ON CD IMPORTANT
>
> We are in an ongoing project to piece together what remains of this
> country's early recording history. From 1898 to 1945 thousands of music
> hall recordings were issued on fragile 78s, & even more fragile
> cylinders. Many of these recordings now exist in small quantities, some
> in a sole copy, while some have not survived at all. There are huge
> gaps. The point of reissuing these 78s and cylinders on CD is to
> increase the recording's chance of future survival - and to enable
> current and future appreciation and study of these great music hall
> performers, and of their repertoire, much of which is of great social
> significance. Some recordings have been reissued from the sole copies
> remaining anywhere. The CD reissues bring together / focus the results
> of various private collectors' life-long efforts to save vintage
> recordings from the scrap-heap. Prompted by these CD reissues, other
> collectors are coming forward with records from their own collections,
> in many cases unique copies - these now exist in multiple copies on CD
> reissues, no longer at risk of being entirely lost to damage and decay.
> This means that music hall enthusiasts and students of this and future
> generations will, through these CD reissues, be able to hear extremely
> rare music hall recordings which will otherwise be lost. Part of the
> process is to reissue these old recordings, thus making them accessible
> to more people, spreading interest in the project, and encouraging
> collectors to participate. This is not a "stuffy museum" project. Music
> hall recordings are great entertainment, a fact not generally
> appreciated due to a dearth of media coverage. The historical importance
> of early sound recordings has yet to be fully appreciated. The aim is to
> preserve these rare recordings in a more permanent format, the
> professional restoration being paid for by sales of the CDs.
>
>
>
> WHO WILL REISSUE THIS MATERIAL
>
> We are not talking Elvis Presley and The Beatles here. These recordings
> have little or no monetary value as reissue projects. They have value as
> important artefacts to people who care about our cultural heritage. My
> reissue of six 1948 ITMA shows no longer held by the BBC sold 26 copies
> each and did not cover costs - that is not the point. They are now
> available to enthusiasts, and saved for future students, who might want
> to hear what made it such a landmark in entertainment history, and for
> historians seeking fascinating contemporary comment on life in post-war
> Britain.
>
>
>
> LICENSING
>
> The additional cost of paying licence fee for these recordings would not
> be feasible. Most of the CD reissues have covered production costs at
> best. Some have not yet done so. Sales if anything are decreasing. The
> added burden of licensing would almost certainly end the project,
> depending on the fee. In the past we have asked EMI if we could licence
> some of the rarer masters they do have, of records that have never
> turned up in the collecting field, but the fee has been prohibitive. It
> also seems wrong to us that a licence fee could be demanded for an item
> - and there are thousands of them - that the company do not have copies
> of, through their conscious decision not to keep copies.
>
>
>
> NON-SUFFERING ARTISTE'S RELATIVES
>
> One of the arguments put forward in favour of the 95-year extension is
> that artistes and their families suffer from a shorter copyright period.
> This is quite the opposite with historic music hall recordings.
> Relatives of music hall artistes Dorothy Ward, Phil Ray, Will Johnson
> and Daisy Dormer have expressed their delight at hearing their
> forebear's recordings through my reissue of them on CD. The companies
> who recorded these Regals and Winners originally (ie now EMI and
> Polygram) have no archive copies of these recordings. The same relatives
> are eagerly awaiting my reissue of their later (1915) recordings planned
> for next year. A 95-year retrospective ruling would scupper that  - who
> would be the loser? They would not have heard the voices of their
> forebears if it were not for the efforts of dedicated enthusiasts like
> myself. My Western Brothers CD has (so far) delighted 5 of their
> relatives who have searched for their recordings in vain. Some of the
> Western's Columbia records may well exist in the EMI archive, but EMI
> have made no attempt to reissue them, and show no interest in ever doing
> so. Under the new retrospective 95-year extension, those relatives would
> have had to wait till 2029 to hear the first of the Western's Columbias,
> and till 2036 to hear the last, unless EMI or Decca had a change of
> heart in the meantime. Don't hold your breath for that!
>
>
>
> CAN WE AFFORD TO WAIT?
>
> This is work which must be done now - WHILE WE STILL CAN - for future
> generations as well as ourselves. Music hall, although currently rather
> unfashionable, is an important part of our culture - future students
> will hopefully have more consideration of its cultural worth. It is
> important to keep what interest there still is in the great music hall
> artistes of Britain's past alive for as long as possible. The collecting
> world is not made up of young people, and when we go our 78 collections
> may well disappear with us. There have been too many horror stories of
> lost collections. What would be the result of a 95-year effective freeze
> on reissues of music hall? It would mean, as an example, that 1935
> recordings will not be reissuable until 2030 - I' m sure we all hope
> we'll still be around then, but we're not a young lot and if this
> extension is applied retrospectively, it will probably deal a killer
> blow to our life-long efforts to preserve what little is left of this
> country's early recording history. This is our country's collective
> heritage. This decision will determine whether future generations will
> thank us for our efforts to preserve a disappearing part of our
> country's culture, or curse a short-sighted decision which will deprive
> them of that valuable resource.
>
>
>
> A RIGHT OR A RESPONSIBILITY
>
> Let the majors have anything they will ACTUALLY reissue (and not just
> SAY they will reissue). If they do not actually reissue it, they should
> not have the right to repress or restrict our right to enjoy the music
> we love. They should not b able to effectively repress issue by
> demanding licence fees for records they do not even own. If they do have
> copies of historic recordings not otherwise in existence, they could
> maybe be obliged to reissue them or let others do so in the interests of
> academic study. The only reason we enthusiasts have reissued these
> recordings is because the majors won't! It is not for any financial gain
> - that is why the majors will never reissue them.
>
> While modern large interests will no doubt prevail in this matter, any
> retrospective ruling should be considered carefully. These reissues sell
> in tiny quantities. There are no artists deprived by their reissue -
> they have all been dead for many years. Their relatives, who are
> thrilled to hear the now extremely rare recordings their famous
> forebears made, are among those who would be deprived by a 95-year
> retrospective ruling. Ultimately, the major loser would be our nation's
> heritage. 78s are fragile things. All us collectors have broken some.
> It's inevitable. Some exist in single copies. Some don't exist at all
> anymore. With the best will in the world, it is inevitable that with
> deaths, damage, and the wear and tear of the years, more will inevitably
> disappear. The reissue programme must be done sooner than later if we
> want to preserve what we have left. Future historians and students of
> music hall and contemporary history, deprived of valuable source
> material, would surely not look favourably on any short-sighted decision
> taken now.
>
>
>
> HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS
>
> Max Beerbohm wrote, "Let me know a nation's songs, and I shall know its
> history." Old records are historical documents, no less so than early
> political and royal speeches (which could also be suppressed under a 95
> year retrospective). Aside from their wonderful entertainment value,
> music hall recordings are documentation of the star performers of their
> day, the Cliff Richards of the past if you want. They are also
> remarkably vivid and immediate social history records, and as near as we
> will get to contemporary comment. No, they ARE contemporary social
> comment! George D'Albert's recording re riding early trams in the
> Elephant and Castle is brimming with contemporary social and sexual
> attitudes, and as close as we will ever get to hearing the views of the
> "man in the street" on anything pre-1930. This wonderful recording
> existed in just one original copy.  We have reissued it, and it now
> exists on over 50 copies of the CD. Future students of the period will
> now be able to actually hear this incredible slice of contemporary
> social history, not look at a catalogue entry and wonder just what that
> recording might have told them. The "dole" songs of the 1920s are
> valuable social comment on the 1929 Depression, and will increasingly be
> seen as important documentation. Sold at a time of hardship for their
> potential working class audience, some are extremely rare. Will we be
> allowed to reissue them? We collectors - historical archaeologists -
> have worked hard to save what we can of such historical treasures. We
> would like the opportunity to share and collate the fruits of all our
> efforts with fellow collectors, make them accessible in modern formats
> to anyone interested, and to thus do our best to preserve these
> documents for future generations.
>
>
>
> HINDRANCE TO HISTORICAL RESEARCH
>
> To leave responsibility for the reissue of historical important
> recordings in the hands of concerns with solely commercial interests
> will be fatal. Their track record speaks volumes. We have reissued well
> over 600 professionally remastered recordings so far, the tip of the
> iceberg, but already far more recordings than the majors have between
> them reissued in the past 60 years. They have sold in tiny quantities of
> typically under 100, just about covering costs, but we will continue to
> reissue them if allowed to. My aim is to preserve every important
> surviving music hall recording on CD, no matter how small the demand.
> The current 50-year cut-off date is of no concern to us. But our efforts
> to ascertain just what does survive, professionally restore and preserve
> it will be severely compromised by a 95-year retrospective ruling. The
> last major event covered by music hall song is the Second World War. So
> any retrospective cut-off should consider the academic value of Second
> World War recordings, and how desirable it is to have them available for
> study. To lock them up behind a copyright wall until 2041 is surely an
> unthinkable act, reprehensible to the general public and academicians
> alike.
>
> No-one questions the importance of archaeological work. Early record
> collectors have, possibly unwittingly, undertaken archaeological work in
> their pursuit of recordings often scarcer than findings at ancient
> sites. It would be easy to be fooled into thinking such relatively
> recent artefacts are not under threat. They are. This will become
> obvious with the passing of another century. It is obvious now to
> long-term early record collectors. It is also obvious that most of the
> many recordings not already found now never will be, and that those we
> have managed to rescue so far are themselves in danger.
>
>
>
> COMPROMISE
>
> The only people to gain from a retrospective copyright extension are the
> major record companies and living artistes. The major record companies
> are only interested in preserving their copyright in a chosen few
> high-selling artistes. Their interest in "poor sellers" is nil. Living
> artistes fear losing copyright in their 1950's recordings. Maybe a
> compromise would be to add "or artiste's lifetime plus 25 years" to the
> current 50-year copyright period. This would surely placate Charles
> Aznavour's and Cliff Richard's fears, although admittedly not satisfying
> EMI's fears re their Elvis Presley back catalogue. But haven't they made
> enough profits from them over the past 50 years. 95 years is a long
> time, and, if artistes think their 1950s recordings will be anything
> other than museum pieces by 2046 they should look to history. The stars
> are the exception, and may still be reissued to some degree, as are
> 1930's stars George Formby, Stanley Holloway and Gracie Fields now. But
> other less famous artistes should take care - they, their followers, and
> their descendents, will be left wishing that the recording company they
> recorded for would either reissue their forebear's recordings - or that,
> as they probably won't, an independent outfit could be allowed to do so.
> No artiste who recorded before 1920 is still alive. The last one, Zona
> Vevey, died a few years ago aged over 100. If she were alive today, and
> the proposed copyright extension were in place, she would have no
> opportunity to hear the recordings she made 90 years ago and no longer
> possessed unless collectors like myself were allowed to reissue them. (I
> have them all, accumulated over 40 years of searching - HMV, who
> recorded them, almost certainly don't)
>
>
>
> 95 YEARS IS FAR TOO LONG
>
> The proposed 95 years is way too long. To show how ridiculous this is,
> it would mean that we could not reissue any of the many World War One
> recordings until 2010-2014. Only EMI would be allowed to reissue World
> War One Regals, Jumbos, Scalas, Coliseums and Columbias  - and they
> don't have any of them. Only Decca would be allowed to reissue World War
> One Winners  - and they don't have any of them. We collectors do have
> them, but we would NOT be allowed to reissue them. A mere handful of the
> young men who went to fight in World War One are still with us. That is
> how long 95 years is! It is a ludicrously long period to tie up our
> history for.
>
> World War Two - Well, we'd only have to wait till 2035-2041 to start a
> reissue programme of our accumulated Second World War recordings. Oh,
> that's a shame - I probably won't be here then! And who knows where my
> records will be - many collections have wound up in skips, smashed to
> smithereens.
>
>
>
> A RETROSPECTIVE 95 YEARS - NO!
>
> This should not just be about the interests of a few big companies and a
> few big stars. They are business concerns, and have no interest in
> reissuing loss-making old recordings just because they are of historical
> and social significance. This should be about our heritage and our
> ability to keep it alive and maintain access to it. It should be about
> taking a responsible attitude to preserving important historical
> recordings. With that as a consideration, there can be no doubt at all
> that a retrospective 95 years (effectively 96 years, as recordings would
> not come out of copyright until the end of the 95th year, i e the start
> of the 96th year) is far, far too long.
>
> 95 years retrospectively take us perilously close to the start of
> commercial recording around 1898. As most pre-1904 recordings remain
> undiscovered, it effectively means that we will be able to reissue just
> what we have rescued from the 6 years of recordings issued between
> 1904-1910, and a smattering from the years before. The rest will
> disappear behind the copyright barrier. Records were expensive, often
> poorly distributed and were extremely fragile. They have been through
> two World Wars, home removals, one hundred years of turmoil. We have a
> precarious hold on what has survived. There must be a point where these
> recordings pass from merchandise to historical documents. Our work is
> akin to that of archaeologists, unearthing the world portrayed in these
> early recordings. Surely their finds would not be suppressed for
> decades, with further chance of damage and even loss. 95 years would
> severely shackle our efforts. It is far too long.
>
>
>
> MAKE YOUR VIEWS KNOWN
>
> If you feel this is important, please email Andrew Gowers before April
> 21 and make your feelings known. Future generations of students, social
> historians and artiste's relatives, will be the losers if a
> retrospective 95 year
>
> Our right, maybe even our duty, to preserve the past for future
> generations is at stake here.
>
> Yours truly,
>
> Tony Barker
>
>
>
> IF YOU FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT THIS MATTER, PLEASE EMAIL YOUR VIEWS TO
> ANDREW GOWERS BEFORE APRIL 2.
>
> His email address is below.
>
> Email: [log in to unmask]
> <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>
> Here are some links to some relevant sites There are more - you will
> find them by entering -
>
> andrew gowers copyright
>
>  into google.
>
> Some of the sites dealing with this matter are below
>
> -
>
>
>
> Gowers Review of Intellectual Property
> Zone 4/E1
> HM Treasury
> 1, Horse Guards Road
> London
> SW1A 2HQ
>  [log in to unmask]
<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>
>
>
> For more on this matter enter -
>
> andrew gowers copyright
>
>  into google. Some of the sites dealing with this matter are below
>
>
http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/gowers_review_intellectual_property/gowersreview_index.cfm
>
>
>
>
http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:59hN9xfpoPgJ:www.law.ed.ac.uk/ahrb/script-ed/vol3-1/jg-editorial.asp+andrew+gowers+copyright+&hl=en&gl=uk&ct=clnk&cd=9
<http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:59hN9xfpoPgJ:www.law.ed.ac.uk/ahrb/scri
pt-ed/vol3-1/jg-editorial.asp+andrew+gowers+copyright+&hl=en&gl=uk&ct=clnk&c
d=9>
>
>
>
>
http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:_06F7gKXCGUJ:gowers.openrightsgroup.org/%3Fp%3D13+andrew+gowers+copyright+&hl=en&gl=uk&ct=clnk&cd=10
<http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:_06F7gKXCGUJ:gowers.openrightsgroup.org
/%3Fp%3D13+andrew+gowers+copyright+&hl=en&gl=uk&ct=clnk&cd=10>
>
> This one has the right idea!
>
> -- 
> --
> ****************************************
> Dr Rainer E. Lotz
> c/o Birgit-Lotz-Verlag
> Jean Paul Str.6, 53173 Bonn, Germany
> Tel: 0049-228-352808
> Fax: 0049-228-365142
> Web: http://www.lotz-verlag.de
>
> ****************************************
>
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