Digitizing old vinyl records!
- January 21, 2007 @ 11:04pmjstud says:Hello, in my town I recently had the idea to try and start a small out of house business offering to help older folks in the area digitize their old record and tape collections. I have all of the hardware and software to do so, and I thought it might be a way to connect with some old music junkies and make a little money. Is there anything I need to be worried about helping people digitize their old records and tapes? Thanks for any advice or help you can offer!
- January 22, 2007 @ 7:00pmjstud says:Any help anyone?
- January 23, 2007 @ 9:39amksmith says:Since you have contacted me directly, I will reply, but using this forum rather than a direct e-mail. I am not a member of the CAN team, but will give you my opinion.
Unless the records you are thinking of copying are out of copyright protection (roughly, either published before 1923 or registered for copyright between 1924 and 1964 then not renewed), making copies into a different format would infringe the copyright holders exclusive right to authorize copying. Unless you are going to seek permission for each such record, this does not sound like a workable idea to me.
- January 23, 2007 @ 9:50amwilliamsonl says:The reservation you would have to consider is that you cannot circumvent technological protection on the original media in order to make the copy. Odds are that older formats will not have any type of protection, but the DMCA does have to be considered. It is okay to convert formats for your own personal use, so my personal opinion is that, on the surface,this would not be an illegal venture as long as single copies were made of legally acquired recordings.
- January 23, 2007 @ 1:56pmCOvalle says:I do believe that people can format shift their own recordings (in this case, digitize), but I'm not clear about a third party performing the service as a commercial venture.
- January 24, 2007 @ 8:19amwilliamsonl says:I too considered the legality of the third party performing the service as opposed to shifting your own recordings. My first instint was to say that it made a difference, but I'm not sure that it does. It is still the same action, but just hiring someone with more expertise to perform it for you. As long as the third party does not retain a copy, I can see the legality of such a service. There are many websites that sell this service and they all claim that copyright law supports the service--for what that's worth.
- January 24, 2007 @ 11:33amksmith says:Doesn't the Michigan Document Services case suggest that the commercial nature of the "middleman" does make a difference? Even though the coursepacks in that case were intended for educational use and the copy shop did not retain any copies, the use was found to be commercial, not educational, because a commercial service performed the copying. I don't necessarily agree with the 6th Circuit on this, but their reasoning would seem to be relevant to this question.
- January 26, 2007 @ 6:22pmoldmediamonger says:I'm not giving legal advice here, but this is our situation. My business offers this service, however our company policy is that if whatever recording submitted is currently available in a modern format (i.e. DVD, CD, etc.) and could be purchased, we cannot perform the service. (It costs just a little more than a current CD or DVD to do this; more if restoration work is necessary.) If, after we do our research, we find that a customer's material is not currently available, we perform the service, but only after having the customer sign a release of liability that states that the media we provide is for private use only, and copies are not to be made from it. We obviously can't enforce such a thing, but our lawyer says the release form offers us some protection. I highly wouldn't recommend starting to transfer Frank Sinatra, Led Zepplin, The Beatles, and other such LP's to CD and charging for it. It just opens up a baaaddd can of worms. Now if someone wants an obscure Zarah Leander LP transferred...
- February 9, 2007 @ 10:10amAFry says:
Doesn't the Michigan Document Services case suggest that the commercial nature of the "middleman" does make a difference?Of course the court might disagree with me, but I think there is a clear difference between the two situations. In the case of music digitizers, the party on both ends is the same; content is not changing hands. However in the Michigan case, MDS provided a means to transfer content from one party to another. In the music case, the purchaser already owns the content and is clearly paying for the service alone. In the Michigan case, the purchaser is clearly primarily paying for the content, although the price of the content has been increased to cover the cost of the service.
My business offers this service, however our company policy is that if whatever recording submitted is currently available in a modern format (i.e. DVD, CD, etc.) and could be purchased, we cannot perform the service...I highly wouldn't recommend starting to transfer Frank Sinatra, Led Zepplin, The Beatles, and other such LP's to CD and charging for it. It just opens up a baaaddd can of worms.If you want to be safe, this is good advice to follow, but I want to address the legality of transfering Sinatra, etc. I think you can make a compelling argument that someone requesting a transfer in 2007 would not purchase the CD if the transference wasn't possible. This is particularly true for Sinatra, etc. who have been on CD for 20 years. Most of the big sellers have been released at least twice on CD, once at the dawn of the CD age and again when they were remastered. If someone with the original recordings has waited 20 years to buy the CDs, that person is unlikely to buy the CDs now.
(It costs just a little more than a current CD or DVD to do this; more if restoration work is necessary.)If someone could provide the service at a fraction of the cost of a current CD, then the argument would be more compelling. However, I think the argument works even when the price is high. Consider the Beatles. As most people reading this probably know, the UK albums were significantly different than the US albums. Objectively, the UK albums are clearly superior, but many US fans are understandably nostalgic for the albums they remember. Until 2006, the US versions were unavailable on CD. Someone from the US with all the original LPs could understandably want to make transfers of these originals. What makes this argument particularly compelling is that it could apply to someone who already owns all of the CD versions. Although the Beatles LPs are extreme examples, there are people who actually prefer the sound they remember to the remastered versions of recordings that are otherwise exactly the same. If the person who wants the transfer is willing to pay for it in 2007, I think that person clearly has a reason to prefer the transfer to the CD. This would tilt the fourth factor (market effect) in favor of the alleged infringer and could make a compelling argument for fair use. I think that a company providing the service could make the same argument. Even if one transfer company cornered the market, I suspect that the total market wouldn't even scratch the surface of the 2007 CD market. How risky is it to transfer Sinatra, etc.? I don't know. The RIAA likes to sue kids and grandmothers. On the other hand, I suspect that the market is too small to attract the attention of the RIAA or any of the music companies. If a company or individual attracta attention, that company or individual may be able to avoid a law suit simply by agreeing to cease and desist. Perhaps I am naive, but I also like to think that the recording industry would be swayed by an argument which I believe displays concern for the rights of the copyright holders. This concern is made more evident if
we perform the service, but only after having the customer sign a release of liability that states that the media we provide is for private use only, and copies are not to be made from it.Of course this is not legal advice, but if I had to make the choice, I would provide the service. Assuming that neither the requester nor the transfer provider is intentionally trying to rip off the music industry, I believe that the service is legal, the chances of being found are small, and options exist to avoid a law suit even if detected. However, if found, the chances of being threatened are extremely high, and the chances of being sued are significant. If I did provide the service, I would keep as much written documentation as possible. This would include a clear copyright policy that explicitly demonstrates respect for the rights of copyright holders and includes a full fair use justification (which I have not provided here). I'd probably give at-risk customers a copy of this policy and expand the release form to indicate that the customer has read and understood the policy. I would also consult a lawyer and develop a written plan for dealing with any conflicts with the recording industry.
- February 9, 2007 @ 3:45pmoldmediamonger says:Even though we are operating under a "protectionist" policy, I do agree with AFry. But even with person tastes, etc. aside, there are a lot of collectors that own not only recently released (by that I mean from 1960 onward) material, but also vintage material on 78 RPM discs, cylinders, wire recordings, radio transcriptions, etc. that I feel we are offering more of a preservation service rather than, "gee, I don't wanna buy a CD so I'll just have it transferred" service. How a lawyer or court could take the RIAA or a record company seriously in pursuing a lawsuit for simply transferring their release media I simply don't see. Also, we don't document *which* recordings we transfer, just the receipt for the job and the signed release statement.
Also, wouldn't such a lawsuit fall under the 'unable to prosecute' category? In order to claim any infringement, the exact works that were "copied" would have to be identified by an entity seeking damages and if only receipts for jobs complete is all there is, where would they identify wrongdoing?
Having read AFry's post I probably will "loosen up" our policy, since now that it's been discussed it seems clearer that all we're really doing is providing a service. (Acknowledging, of course, "no legal advice being given".) Also, we don't do much with LP's or even 45's for that matter. Our specialty is older media that needs aural restoration, and are usually valuable recordings that the owners want to preserve; i.e. to have a clearer sounding version to listen to, and to handle the original media as little as possible.
- February 10, 2007 @ 6:41amksmith says:There seems to me to be some pretty odd reasoning in the previous two posts. For one thing, I can not see how the fact that the original owner gets the content back is really relevant. It is true that copying for personal uses is usually a favored use in the fair use analysis, just as educational uses are (although, unlike educational use, personal use is not ennumerated in the statute as an examplar of fair use). In any case, once the content is transferred to a different format by a commercial service provider, we no longer have a personal use but a commercial one. The fact that the newly formated content goes back to the owner of the older format simply does not matter, any more than the ultimate educational use of a coursepack insulates the copy shop from liability for infringement. And first sale, a doctrine that protects owners of a particular copy, does not apply to reformatting, only to transfers of the original.
Second, the fact that someone has delayed 20 years before trying to obtain a digital copy is also irrelevant. The term of copyright protection is set by statute, and a consumer can not shorten that term by inaction or wishful thinking. The opposing argument is easy and convincing -- no matter how long the consumer delayed, they have now decided to get a digital copy, and they should purchase that copy from the content owner, not from a third party who has no right to reproduce the content.
OldMediaMonger, I hope you stick to the sensible business model you outlined on Jan. 26. What you offer certainly is a service, but it may still be an infringing one if you copy content that is under copyright protection and available for purchase in digital format. In that situation it is hard to avoid the impression that the whole purpose is to avoid buying the commercial CD. And while there are exceptions to copyright for preservation purposes, none of them encompass this kind of for-profit activity. IMO the infringement here would not be hard to prosecute, only very difficult for content owners to detect; you might have a low risk of being dragged into court, but once there I can not imagine a judge being sympathetic to the argument that there is insufficient evidence against you because you kept incomplete records.
- February 10, 2007 @ 12:50pmAFry says:
I can not see how the fact that the original owner gets the content back is really relevant.I'm assessing the fourth factor (market effect), not the first factor (nature of use). As you point out, the company doing the transfer is involved in a commercial transaction. I'm asking what exactly is that commercial transaction, what product or service is being bought and sold. In the coursepack example, the student needs the material and is clearly paying for the material, which includes the price of assembling the material. In the CD example, the CD owner already owns the content and is clearly paying for the service. If I go to a restaurant, the cook charges me for the food and the service, but if I hire a cook to fix my meals using food that I have purchased from a grocery store, the cook is charging me for the service, not the food. The farmers and the grocery store can complain if the restaurant cook doesn't pay for the food, but they have no legitimate gripe with the cook I hire.
the fact that someone has delayed 20 years before trying to obtain a digital copy is also irrelevant.Again, I'm assessing the fourth factor, not the term of copyright. One point I think you missed is that I'm arguing that the transferred LP isn't the same product as the remastered CD. There are several different versions of Beowulf. In one sense, they are all the same, but in another sense they are different. Someone who prefers an out of print translation isn't going to be satisfied with a different translation, even though the story is the same. Assuming that the current LP owner purchased the LP during the LP era, the LP owner has been listening to the LP for at least 20 years. During the 20 years, the LP owner has had at least one, and probably two, opportunities to buy CD versions of the most popular albums. Let's assume that the LP owner did in fact take advantage of both opportunities. The LP owner now has three legal copies of the same album, but each version sounds different. The LP owner could truly prefer the original version and may want a digital version of it, which would still sound different from a remastered version. The person who already owns every version isn't going to buy a second copy just because the LP can't be legally transferred.
- February 10, 2007 @ 1:42pmksmith says:I do understand that you intended to address market effect, I just don't believe the arguments you make are actually relevant to that factor.
The distinction between a service and a product doesn't really serve a useful purpose in the realm of intellectual property, which is intangible by its nature. Nevertheless, your restaurant example actually llustrates the market impact problem of the so-called service. Whether one eats in a restaurant or employs a cook, only a single meal is consumed and is paid for. The "service" of reformatting recordings, on the other hand, produces a second copy, which the owner of the original would own in addition to the one he originally bought. That second copy is created without compensation to the owner of the content.
Likewise, I did note your argument that the reformatted version of an old recording is not the same as a new CD. But the decision of how to offer a recording to the public belongs to the copyright owner. If that owner prefers his or her music to be issued in a remastered digital version rather than one that sounds like a scratchy LP, that is their right. No matter how you cut it, the purposed reformatting results in an unauthorized digital copy for which the copyright holder is not compensated. And if your argument about delay were accepted as a legitimate way to assess market impact, it would have the result of making fair use a "backdoor" way to shorten the term of protection, something it was never intended to do.
The main thing I wanted to stress is that these arguments do not reflect the way the courts actually reason about fair use, and OldMediaMonger relies on them at his own risk.
- February 12, 2007 @ 9:10amAFry says:ksmith, you make some good points, and your argument may well prevail in court. However, I have to take issue with the following point.
these arguments do not reflect the way the courts actually reason about fair useI do agree that my arguments do not reflect the way the courts have reasoned in the past. However, I don't believe it's possible to say that the courts won't accept my argument in the future. Judges listen to two sides make arguments and then choose between the two. Has any judge ever heard an argument like mine? In 2001, Kenneth Crews wrote in The Law of Fair Use and the Illusion of Fair Use Guidelines (62 Ohio State Law Journal 599)
The law of fair use regularly leaves lawyers, judges, and the public in turmoil and debate over its meaning and application.and
A determination of whether or not some activity may or may not be fair use is actually akin to a prediction of how a judge might decide the same question, based on limited precedent and wide variations in possible interpretationsEmphasis mine. I think that analysis of the market factor in virtually every example I have ever seen is flawed because it ignores market law (I'm using law in the law of gravity sense, not in the legislative sense). According to Sage Reference's Encyclopedia of Public Relations
A free market system is one in which the basic economic questions—what to produce, how much to produce, and for whom—are answered through the unencumbered and independent actions of producers, workers, and consumers. This can be contrasted with a command economy, in which a central planner makes the decisions on where resources will be allocated, in what quantities, and with how much compensation.and
government involvement...is required to prevent potential coercion of one of the parties in the transaction, ensuring free choice by marketVirtually all market factor analysis that I have seen uses Section 106 to allow the copyright holder to create a command economy and coerce the buyer. According to the House Report reprinted in Section 106
The approach of the bill is to set forth the copyright owner's exclusive rights in broad terms in section 106, and then to provide various limitations, qualifications, or exemptions in the 12 sections that follow. Thus, everything in section 106 is made "subject to sections 107 through 118," and must be read in conjunction with those provisions.When making a fair use determination, the market factor should be determined without using section 106 to assume that the market is affected. I'm in the housing market, but I don't want a studio apartment. The housing providers can choose to offer nothing but studio apartments if they wish. However, if they do, I will continue to live where I do now. I'm in the housing market, but I'm not in the studio apartment market. The housing providers can do whatever they want, and the government can enact any law it wants to protect the providers' rights. However any analysis of the housing market will be flawed if it assumes that everyone wants studio apartments and any analysis of the studio apartment market will be flawed if it assumes that everyone in the housing market is also in the studio apartment market. My argument is this: The digital transfer industry has about as much effect on the CD market as an afternoon storm has on a desert. According to the RIAA, [http://www.riaa.com/news/newsletter/pdf/2005yrEndStats.pdf] the CD market is 2005 was $10,520,200,000. How big is the transfer industry? I don't know, but any company being sued would have access to at least one company's financial records. Lets' assume 1000 allegedly illegal transfers at $20 each. Unless I've screwed up the math (I triple checked), that's .0002% of the market. Even a million transfers in one year is only .2% of the market (again, assuming I didn't screw up the math). However, I'd argue that my figures are a best case scenario because I believe that virtually everyone in the transfer market is not in the CD market. I'm arguing that you cannot assume that people in the market for 2 bedroom apartments are also in the market for studios. First, I'd use the example of the person who grew up listening to US Beatles albums, bought all of the CD versions, and until 2006 did not have the opportunity to buy a CD of the US version. While in the market for a CD version of the US version, this person is clearly not in the market for a CD of the UK version. Using section 106 to say that this person is in the UK CD market is wrong. Here's the logic behind my example: 1. The UK CD and the US CD are different products. 2. The person wants the US CD, not the UK CD. If this logic is valid, it also applies to people who do not own the UK CD, like this person from Amazon:
After holding off from purchasing the UK releases for many years, my patience has paid off. If you want the Beatles albums you grew up with in America, this set is a MUST!I'd argue that anyone requesting a digital transfer of a US Beatles LP prior to the 2006 release of the US CDs was not in the market for the UK CDs either because that person is like the one on Amazon or already owns the US CD. Assuming my logic is accepted, the important question is "How many people who want digital transfers are in the market for the CD version of the same album?" I'd argue none. According to oldmediamonger, the price is about the same. Therefore, there must be something about the CD versions that makes them a different product from a CD version of the LP. The fact that the most popular LPs have been on CD for 20 years is a minor supporting detail to this argument, not the crux of the argument. There are people who are not in the market because they own the CD. There are people who are not in the market because they don't want the CD, even if those reasons may seem trivial to you and me. However, there are also people who prefer the transfer but will buy the CD if it's the only available version. All I'm saying about 20 years is that we can safely assume that anyone who was in the third group has migrated into the first. Will this argument win in court? I think it's compelling, but unless someone actually tries it, I don't think we'll ever know. However, I do think what oldmediamonger is suggesting is risky and I will address this in another post.
- February 12, 2007 @ 12:04pmCOvalle says:Georgia Harper's paper on fair use is interesting in examining how courts analyze the market effects.
That's the last post, but the entire paper is worth the read.
- February 12, 2007 @ 12:09pmAFry says:
OldMediaMonger relies on them [AFry's arguments] at his own risk.We completely agree on this. And although I don't agree with
these arguments do not reflect the way the courts actually reason about fair useI do agree that my arguments have never been presented in court and may not be convincing to a judge. Presenting my arguments in court definitely has significant risk. For those who don't know, another current thread deals with this topic. http://www.librarycopyright.net/wordpress/punbb/viewtopic.php?id=500 oldmediamonger: From my perspective, you appear to think that because what you want to do should be legal, a judge will take your side. That's not true. Chief Justice Roberts (or maybe Alito, but I think Roberts) wrote an opinion about a young girl who was arrested for eating a single french fry on a subway platform. He wrote that the law was stupid and criticized the police policy for enforcing the law. I believe he also criticized the arresting officer for not using discretion in enforcing the policy. Unfortunately, the law was clear and he correctly decided against the girl. Occupying the moral high ground means nothing in court. Here's one thing we all agree on, even me: Section 106 makes what you want to do illegal. However, Section 106 must be read with Section 107, the fair use exception. If you can convince a court that your use is a fair use, then Section 106 doesn't matter. Fair use has four factors. Three of these factors are clearly not in your favor. We all agree on this. Your only hope is to use the fourth factor, which can be summarized as market effect, works in your favor and trumps the other three factors. The fourth factor has trumped the other three in the past, and may well do so again. However, there are no guarantees. My argument for the fourth factor has never been accepted in court and may never be accepted. That's a real risk that should not be ignored. If you are going to be offering this service tomorrow, then you and your lawyer need to do a fair use determination today. Write it down. I think your lawyer should have a copy too. Ideally, you should understand the determination well enough to explain it without referring to the written version. If your fair use determination isn't compelling, you shouldn't offer the service. When the RIAA comes knocking, your answer should be "My use is a fair use. Here's a detailed explanation why." If you don't have the fair use determination worked out in advance, the RIAA will consider your use unfair and will sue you. If you do not present a fair use determination that your judge finds compelling, you will lose. You can talk about the odds of being sued and the odds of evidence being found, but these comments can have very different appearances depending on the context. With an explicit fair use determination, you appear to be assessing the odds of being unjustly punished. However, without an explicit fair use determination, you appear to be looking for justification to break the law. So, anyone offering this kind of service should get together with a lawyers and prepare a full fair use determination using the four factors in Title 17, Section 107. If you and your lawyer do not believe that your fair use determination will win in court, you should not offer the service.
- February 12, 2007 @ 12:28pmAFry says:From Georgia Harper's paper
Strict interpretation market failure: in this case, the court would accept as fair use only those uses that demonstrate near total and likely continuing failure of the market due to high transaction costs; the relevant market would be both current and future revenues that might exist if the court finds for the copyright owners.I'm arguing that the market for currently available CDs is not the relevant market because the current CD market does not provide the desired product. If the current CD market is the relevant market, then the transaction costs are off the scale. Otherwise, the current CD market would produce the desired product. I'm also arguing that you cannot use Section 106 to justify the market's failure to provide the desired product.
- February 12, 2007 @ 1:14pmksmith says:You write that "virtually every example [of fourth factor analysis] I have ever seen is flawed because... Virtually all market factor analysis uses Section 106 to allow the copyright holder to create a command economy and coerce the buyer." For better or for worse, that is the intent of copyright law; it is why it is referred to as "a limited monopoly." Normally monopolies are discouraged by our economy (allegedly), but with intellectual property, the argument is that a monopoly, limited by duration and by some specific (and one very general) exception, is necessary to create an adequate incentive to encourage creativity. Like many others, I believe the terms of protection have vastly exceeded the scope of that justification, but as far as the intent of the law is concerned, a "command economy" is the point.
I am not particularly a fan of the market failure explanation of fair use, largely because I have always believed it is too restrictive, narrowing fair use whenever a new permissions market was created. Your interpretation, however, would make market failure virtually all-encompassing. Is it a market failure, for example, if the CD market does not offer the single CD that has all the Norah Jones songs I want on it, thereby making it a fair use to copy CDs and create exactly the collection I want? Isn't having to buy three CDs to get five songs I really like exactly the same kind of compromise with the market as having to buy a digitally remastered version of some music rather than getting a digital form of the older version I prefer?
I know Georgia Harper is a member of the CAN team; I wonder if she would like to comment on the application of market failure here?
- February 13, 2007 @ 8:20amAFry says:ksmith, I agree in general with your last post.
a monopoly, limited by duration and by some specific (and one very general) exception, is necessary to create an adequate incentive to encourage creativityI agree. All I'm saying is that when determining whether or not the general exception (fair use) appplies, you cannot assume that fair use does not apply.
I am not particularly a fan of the market failure explanation of fair use, largely because I have always believed it is too restrictive, narrowing fair use whenever a new permissions market was created.I agree that the permissions argument is too restrictive. However, I also think the permissions argument is wrong. Fair use doesn't require permission, so you can't use lost revenue from permissions to determine whether or not permission is necessary. Ann Bartow made the same argument about permission fees in Educational Fair Use in Copyright: Reclaiming the Right to Photocopy Freely which appeared in Fall, 1998, 60 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 149.
Is it a market failure, for example, if the CD market does not offer the single CD that has all the Norah Jones songs I want on it, thereby making it a fair use to copy CDs and create exactly the collection I want? Isn't having to buy three CDs to get five songs I really like exactly the same kind of compromise with the market as having to buy a digitally remastered version of some music rather than getting a digital form of the older version I prefer?In my opinion, the market is providing you with the five songs, and you should buy them. If the RIAA sues you for stealing the songs, the RIAA should win. However, the market is failing to provide you with the EP you want, so you should be able to create your own EP, provided you have bought the songs. If the RIAA sues you for taking your legally purchased CDs and creating your own custom CD, the RIAA should lose. So, we agree that you need to buy all three CDs to get the collection you want. By the way, I truly appreciate your constructive criticism and hope that my posts don't make it appear that I don't.
- February 13, 2007 @ 10:22amAFry says:People reading this thread may find it interesting that I just saw an article in a major magazine that contains a picture of and paragraph about a vinyl-to-CD burner that costs $400.
- February 16, 2007 @ 3:45pmoldmediamonger says:Wow... a can of worms did we truly open up indeed! I openly realize that the service we offer does require that we use judgement and take certain risks, but I also do not expect that "because I believe what I do should be legal a judge would take my side" as previously stated. I *know* that what we transfer for *some* customers is probably outright illegal by the guidelines stated above, however as our policy states (we didn't "loosen up" yet) if something on film, tape, disc, etc. is available on modern media, we simply won't do the transfer. Most of what we deal with are very vintage materials such as cylinders, 78 RPMs, Diamond Discs, radio transcriptions, 16mm films, quadruplex videotape, etc. Some items have already been commercially transferred to CD or DVD, but for the most part many have not, and the majority of what is in private collections is material I doubt ever would be, even though some big names (of yesteryear) appear in some of what we transfer.
Our service is not like what jstud was originally proposing - bring me your vinyl and for $5.99 (or whatever) I'll make you a CD - I myself have a problem with such a general service for reasons stated by ksmith; the original content owner is not being compensated. We do archival quality transfers with industrial equipment intended for such work, and although we will do work for consumers the cost involved is generally higher than what most would be willing to pay just for the sake of getting their own version of whatever sounding the way they want it to on a CD. I do agree with the argument however, that a majority of newer material put out on CD's by the major labels sounds like crap. Most of them simply took the master tapes of whatever album, punched up the EQ levels to what the 'newfangled digital compact disc' could handle, and away they went. Result - something that I doubt the content owners intended to be heard, but they probably had no say in the matter due to record-label contractual gobbledygook. I can get into a technical argument about how artists mastered their music to be heard they way they intended on vinyl because that was the meduim of the day, but I digress... Again, though, this is out of the scope of what my company does - we aren't arguing in court that we're providing a service to correct a grave wrong done by the major labels - most of what we do is for preservation purposes. I realize this may circumvent copyright issues in some instances, but it's doubtful that major labels are going to prosecute over something that's sitting in their metal parts storage facility that was pressed in the 1920's and most people in today's general public wouldn't be interested in hearing anyway (hence it's not on CD) - it's just not good business. In addition, they'd have to find out about it in the first place. One collector having a few 45's, 78's, or cylinders put on a CD then taking them home to enjoy them isn't going to attract much attention. And, when dealing with someone who *is* interested in duplicating, pressing, or otherwise distributing and selling such material, we offer assistance with proper licensing and obtaining permissions so that such a customer would be protected from any infringement suits.
My main beef is that copyright control has gotten out of control. Too many extensions, re-extensions, and allowing protection for someone who isn't the original content owner to pick up or buy out control and continue to profit from something that isn't theirs in the first place. I realize that providing appropriate protection is an insurmountable task in an age where taking an LP or 45 home and taping it for your friends isn't the only way to infringe on copyright protection. However, creating 'monstor' laws I personally don't believe is the answer. Also, what about song A (or poem, story, TV program, whatever) which enjoys a 12 year period of popularity and then 25 years later no one has ever heard of it, and then there's song B which was written 125 years ago and is just as popular today as it was when it was written? How do you fairly apply one set of laws to many diverse works, and then determine how long someone should continue to own or not continue to own protection? Is the original creator's great-great-great grandchild still living and can represent intellectual interest in their relative's work in case 'B' so that someone who is truly entitled to receive compensation is covered? Or in case A, assuming no relatives of the original creator are living, why should a company that through a volume buy-out "just happens" to own rights to it, legally bully a producer who found an old 78 of the song and 60 years later wants to include it on a limited production CD for release? Simply stating a general "copyright law" I think is way too general, and there should be conditions or checks and balances that can be used to determine when something should be allowed to pass into the public domain.
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