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Re: NYT Editorial: The Coming of Copyright Perpetuity
Apropos of mention of Naxos, I've learned that American EMI has sued Naxos
about their reissue of some EMI European recordings of the 1930's (I think:
one is by Edwin Fischer), apparently in an effort to make Naxos cease doing
reissues of their company's recordings. This seems a trifle absurd since
the recordings mentioned are in public domain in Europe. I gather the
defense may be attempting to have the suit dismissed on the basis of the
"absurdity"; but it still means that Naxos will have a considerable legal
bill at the very least. Small reissue firms in that position would of
course not be able to afford legal costs and would just have to fold.
At 03:24 PM 1/16/2003 -0800, you wrote:
At 03:48 PM 1/16/2003 -0500, James L Wolf wrote:
The only hope that remains for the American Public Domain in the
near future is competition from Europe and other markets. If Congress
sees that American companies, archives and institutions are at a
disadvantage to their European counterparts, they may decide to put an
end to this madness. But this hasn't stopped them so far. European
companies may freely re-issue classic American jazz and country music
and this does not seem to have an effect on Congress. Rather the big
companies are, from what I hear, attempting to shut down Europe's
What can be done in this situation?
That hope is already fulfilled. Companies such as Naxos, the largest
publisher of classical music in the world, issue recordings compliant with
European copyright which are simply not sold in the U.S. They can be
purchased from dealers around the world over the Internet, by post or
telephone. They can be shipped into the U.S. without constraint. In short,
the only people who are punished by the law as it stands are U.S.
retailers; the only people inconvenienced are U.S. purchasers.
Unless it becomes illegal to "import" such recordings - and appropriate
enforcement is instituted - the law is counterproductive. I would like to
see some of Disney's materials republished by others under international
law and made accessible in ways similar to those of classical recordings.
Then perhaps even the company most clearly responsible for what promises to
be perpetual copyright will see the light.