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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
> see below
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Don Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
> <snip>
>
> > On the whole, that makes sense, but we should distinguish between the
> > companies and the composers, authors and artists.
> >
>
> The composers, authors and artists were paid up-front by the copyright
owners, or they are the
> copyright owners. It may be different with books and artworks, but with
commercially-recorded music,
> the recording is a paid performance with perhaps a royalty agreement. Yes,
any royalty agreements
> should be honored, but the commercial recording is owned by whomever paid
for the session and
> putting out the record way back when. This is different in some cases, but
it was the general norm
> in the US, particularly with popular genres of music. Some classical
arrangements are more complex
> because the orchestra's benefactors may be putting up some of the session
money, but I think this
> was generally compensated by a generous royalty cut
>
> Point is, there were and are generally but not always agreements in place
to compensate the
> performer. Whether we think it's fair by today's standards is not the
issue. The issue is, was and
> is the agreement legal and binding.
>
> -- Tom Fine
>
There are, of course, at least two different copyrights involved in a
sound recording! There is a copyright on the song itself as an entity,
usually held by the publisher. These royalties are either collected
by the Harry Fox Agency (in most, but not all, US cases) or by some
other body acting for the publisher. Also, there is a copyright on
the sound recording (until at least 2067 but subject to further
extension in the US, regardless of when it was recorded...95 years
in the UK and so far 50 years in Canada and most of Europe...) and
this copyright does NOT have "mandatory license," so it is up to
the copyright owner whether you can reissue his/her/its/their
sound recording ubtil said copyright expires). Finally, performance
royalties are paid to ASCAP or BMI (or SOCAN, etc.) for the public
performance or any broadcast of any sort of a given recording or
piece of music. Most places that have live or recorded entertainment
pay fees to the "performing rights body" (see above) which covers
their use of music for a given period. Radio stations don't have
to pay royalties to the owner of the copyright *on the sound
recording* because record companies discovered that getting
their product on the air helped sell it...Internet "broadcasters"
do, since it is possible to get an exact copy of a CD or track
over the Internet.

So, the big problem is the copyright *on the recordings*...
especially in the US, where if someone found Thomas Edison's
original tin foil of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" he/she/it
couldn't reissue it! So, the question is this...should
someone with an 1892 Berliner recording have to ask BMG/
Sony/whomever else they've merged with for permission
(which they MIGHT get...for a price) to make it available
to the public or part thereof? After all, Berliner begat
Victor, which begat RCA, which begat BMG, which begat its
all-but-universal descendant...?!

Steven C. Barr