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According to a presentation I just heard by John Frayne of Bell Labs and later Westrex, all of the 
patents on electronic recording, the original form, were AT&T. They had licensed to Victor just 
before RCA bought Victor. Now, I'm not sure if RCA later developed other key patents, particularly 
vis-a-vis manufacturing. Someone could do a great ARSC Journal article reviewing and explaining in 
English the evolution of US patents related to recording. One thing you'll find is that AT&T 
patented 45-45 2-channel disk recording in the early 1930's. That patent was assigned to Westrex 
when AT&T was forced to get out of the recording and motion picture businesses, which is why Westrex 
had the market cornered on early stereo cutters. Another thing worth reading is the AES Journal 
article by Mr. Roys (?) of RCA describing how the US and European record companies got together and 
decided to go with the Westrex 45-45 system instead of system developed in the UK, I think at Decca. 
Basically, market might of the US companies (which had already done the extraordinary step of 
agreeing on the Westrex standard) won out but Haddey of Decca later told an AES audience that he was 
convinced technically that the Westrex system was better. For the Europeans, it was truly an 
extraordinary example of corporate sanity to standardize with the Americans, thus guaranteeing years 
of profits for everyone from on and only one type of stereo LP. The same thing was done with Compact 
Disc, but by that time, the number of companies was smaller, and showing how times changed the 
Compact Disc was brought to practical form by Europeans and Japanese (although the concept of 
digital recording on a pitted disc read by lasers was invented in the USA -- see the presentation 
which I think is still archived at the Seattle AES chapter website). Contrast this to, for instance 
VHS vs. Beta (where the market preferred the convenience of the "inferior" technology and thus there 
were costly losses for some in the other camp). Another interesting thing to watch will be Blu-Ray 
vs. HDDVD, but I suspect that since these formats are both 5" discs, the end result will be 
universal players like what ended up with the DVD+RW and DVD-RW blank formats. I know, it's 
techically harder to do a universal for the two high-def DVD formats, but the Asian design labs are 
wickedly clever.

-- Tom Fine


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bob Olhsson" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2007 12:57 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] LP pressing question


> -----Original Message-----
> From Steven C. Barr: "...Anyway, it was pretty well after WWII that the
> "record industry" evolved
> from a handful of big "record companies" that maintained their own recording
> studios, mastering facilities and pressing operations..."
>
> Electrical recordings were covered by numerous patents held by RCA and
> A.T.&T. prior to the late '40s that required one to lease the recording
> equipment and pay royalties on every copy sold. Indi labels only appeared
> after the emergence of magnetic recording and the end of the need to pay
> royalties to the patent holders. The majors responded by making their
> facilities available to indi labels.
>
>
> Bob Olhsson Audio Mastery, Nashville TN
> Mastering, Audio for Picture, Mix Evaluation and Quality Control
> Over 40 years making people sound better than they ever imagined!
> 615.385.8051 http://www.hyperback.com
>