This is a good idea for sure, but I think it's best to put in an incentive to bring a high-quality 
version of the work into the PD. A tax writeoff or something would be incentive for the record 
company to turn over the master tape to some public domain and fund a high-quality digital transfer, 
which would then become the PD "document" from which people may download into their own music 
libraries, burn their own digital discs, transfer to analog media, etc.

Going forward, with born-digital masters, there is less need for much financial incentive since it's 
just a matter of file-transfer and data-verification.

In any case, a "use it or lose it" mechanism would be a good spur to get many, many more old 
recordings readily available to people in some form better than foreign gray-market junk made from 
old LPs or quarter-track reels.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Biel" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 6:23 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Morning reading: One take on patents, somewhat related to discussions we've 
had on copyrights, plus a take on copyrights

> On 8/16/2011 3:49 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
>>  My main interest is making older recordings widely available. I'm OK with extensions of 
>> copyright for the record companies as long as things remain in print. What I'm not OK with is 
>> vaults full of stuff that's out of print and unavailable to anyone.
> Two or three decades ago I suggested a use-it-or-lose-it concept with copyright like there is for 
> trademarks.  If a company does not use a trademark for a few years (it used to be 5 but I think it 
> is 7 or 8 now) the trademark registration lapses.  That is how some early record label trademarks 
> have become used by other modern companies.  My suggestion was that if a recording was out of 
> print for about ten years it goes into semi-P.D.  If it was less than a certain period like 50 
> years it could be compulsory licensed with royalties being paid to the original company, but if it 
> was older it would be in P.D.  Compulsory licensing works for songs, so it could work for sound 
> recordings.
> Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]