Without knowing exactly what this material comprises of, it is difficult to
give a full opinion on what "too valuable" means. However, there are a few
things to consider here.
There are many instances were original artwork for album cover art can fetch
very high prices. I'm sure that you can instantly think of a few. For me,
Peter Blake's "Sgt Pepper" by The Beatles and George Hardie's "Dark Side Of
The Moon" by Pink Floyd cover art springs to mind out of many others that
one could mention. Even original, printed 78 sleeves (never mind the
original artwork) produced for the likes of Paramount, Gennett, Black Patti
and others bring a reasonable amount.
Original artwork, finished art, colour separations and proofs all come under
the heading of intellectual property in the same way that original tapes,
from demos to masters, metal masters and test pressing etc are.
What is interesting in this case is that International Paper should have
this material. Presumably they acted as a packaging company and took care of
the printing, die cutting and finishing of such products for the record
companies. Nevertheless, these items would have been paid for and ultimately
owned by the record companies as intellectual property.
Having spent my early career in the printing industry and the latter in the
record industry, I do know that where such items are kept, on behalf of the
client, can conveniently confuse matters. It is usually the printer that
persuades the customer that it is a good idea to keep it at the printing
plant for convenience sake when additional print runs for the same job are
done in the future, as and when but there is another motive working here.
The printer knows that he has the keys to the job and if the customer
decides to move to another printer perhaps to cut costs or because of some
fall out and asks for the artwork etc back then printers will often do
whatever possible to not let it go. The usual argument brought up by the
printer is that original costings did not include origination work or only
accounted for it at cost and that it is the printer that owns them.
Ultimately a compromise is made and the customer feels that he has to stay
with the original printer. This, of course is nonsense.
Whatever the case, it may well be that I.P. is sitting on some valuable
material, certainly as far as the early origination, such as artwork,
finished art and proofs are concerned. The question is, is it really
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:ARSCLIST@xxxxxxx]On Behalf Of John Bondurant
Sent: 09 July 2007 13:51
Subject: [ARSCLIST] LP album cover printing
This weekend my cousin's wife, who works for International Paper, told
me that she understood that IP "invented the printed cardboard record
sleeve" and produced these at their plant in Indianapolis. While on a
recent trip there she was shown an area in this vast facility (it
apparently was added onto over and over during the years) where they
still have material relating to this production, including album art
color separations for offset printing. They don't use this stuff
anymore, but she was told they can't get rid of it "because it is too
Has anyone ever heard about this before, or is this some bit of IP lore?
John H. Bondurant
Sound Preservation Archivist
Hutchins Library, Special Collections & Archives
Berea, KY 40404
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