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Re: [ARSCLIST] the public Domain
Just playing devil's advocate...
When it comes to much older recordings, many record labels no longer have
the "Rembrandt" (the master) or even copies of it. Although disposal of
masters is not considered "abandonment" of copyright, you have to wonder
just how much the record labels really valued their Rembrandts and copies
when they got rid of them.
And yet, in spite of the minimal commercial value that these much older
recordings have, thanks to existing copyright law, many listeners will never
have the opportunity to hear these works of art.
At some point, institutions (and clearly the record labels) run out of
storage space and start to quietly dispose of recordings to make room for
more current and "valuable" material. By the time the year 2067 rolls
around, how many recordings - how much of our musical heritage - will be
I think there is a strong argument to be made that current copyright law is
far too onerous, and does more harm to our musical heritage than good.
To stick with the art analogy, even when there is a Rembrandt-like recording
locked away somewhere, it would be nice if it could be put on display so
that we could all pay to hear it. In many cases, that isn't an option
because the commercial numbers don't "work" - it costs too much to make the
recording accessible (a big part of that cost is legal, again thanks to
copyright). Music doesn't have to necessarily be given away, but it would
be nice if it could be accessible for a fee.
Finally, where older recordings are not available simply because they are
not commercially viable, that doesn't really benefit anyone - the public
can't buy it, and neither the record labels nor the musicians profit from
their music. So who is paying the price?
Food for thought,
The Audio Archive
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:ARSCLIST@xxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Bob Olhsson
Sent: Saturday, January 21, 2006 3:55 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] the public Domain
Tom Fine wrote:
>do you see
>some sort of middle
>ground, where stuff that is now moldering in megaglomerates' vaults can be
>released in some forum --
Not really! It's like saying an individual who has acquired a Rembrandt owes
it to the public to give it to a museum after a certain time. Certainly it
would be nice if they choose to do so but the bottom-line is that if an
individual can be compelled to give up their Rembrandt, they are going to be
a lot less inclined to buy fine art in the future. The next generation of
artists is who will pay the price.
I think this commonly repeated "megaglomerate" language really clouds the
issue which is about the right of composers and recording artists to set a
market value on what they create. Nothing could be further from their best
interest than limiting the property rights of those who would pay them for
their work. I am also very disturbed by the growing role advertisers are
playing in determining exactly what music we get to hear performed. Attacks
on the value of an artists equity can only result in a greater need for
subsidy and with that lower average quality.
I get into this whenever it comes up because nobody is really sticking up
for the next generation of the people who create our recordings and music.
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!