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On 11/3/2014 12:29, John Haley wrote:
> The NY Court of Appeals (where I myself have argued and won an
> important case) went to great lengths to justify its nutty decision (it
> finds NY state law copyright protection applicable to Casals recordings
> made in the 1930's in London, which had long been in public domain in the
> UK--the recordings themselves had nothing to do with NY) by citing a lot of
> precedent, but when you examine that precedent, you see that it has not
> been accurately cited or characterized, having been substantially
> "reinterpreted" to justify the desired result.  Frankly, what happened here
> was that Naxos seems to have got way "out-lawyered."  I don't know any of
> the lawyers involved in that case.

The thing that's always struck me about this case is that it was brought 
by Capitol Records, the then-US arm of the owners of the original 
recording, EMI. (EMI is now Warner Music, but that's recent and I digress.)

Capitol Records did not even exist at the time these Casals records were 
made. Capitol started in 1942; the original His Master's Voice 
recordings would have been issued in the United States (if in fact there 
were issued here) by Victor under a license that went back to the 
beginning of the 20th century. There would have been no actual copyright 
involved at that time, because while the Berne Convention did cover 
audio recordings, the United States was not a signatory to the Berne 
Convention until 1989 - ironically, pretty much past the point at which 
all 1930s recordings had passed into public domain in the UK.

Michael Shoshani
Chicago