I have a lot to say about Mike's post, and then I promise I'll take a
First, the FBI does enforce copyright, or at least blatant piracy for
profit. I think that there are many "federal offensives" in the
various copyright laws.
Second, it was LC's National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB), not
ARSC, which commissioned the study of out-of-print recordings. As I
wrote earlier, it's free for the taking at
http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub133/pub133.pdf. (Yet I point out,
in all fairness, the study was carried out by two ARSC members, Tim
and Steve Smolian.)
ARSC does not have a lobbyist now officially. We don't have the
Regarding Mike's comment: "I turned to Tim Brooks who happened to be
behind me, and whispered a question "This is to buy us off and stop our
complaints, isn't it?" and he gave a knowing nod." Tim is entitled to his
opinion and he and I have discussed this a lot, but I think that it's too
cynical to think that this limited license to stream-only pre-1925
materials will convince Congress to maintain no public-domain laws, and
also dismissive of the influence of ARSC's efforts thus far (led by Tim!)
to inform Congress of the sound recording anomaly. The license is only to
stream materials which, if in any other format, would already be public
domain. It is my expectation that the streaming site will build a demand
for FULL access to the recordings and could actually promote changes in
the law. The NRPB study of the state of audio preservation, written by
Rob Bamberger, will be published this summer. It includes a full chapter
(25% of the study) on how copyright laws impedes preservation and access.
This study was commissioned by Congress.
That said, this is an uphill battle. I encourage all readers to see if
their congressional representatives are on the Judiciary Committee,
and to write to them to tell them how you feel about these issues.
Finally, it is a new website, one only partially managed by ARSC,
which spells out these issues in full. It was created by the new
Historical Recording Coalition for Access and Preservation: