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copyright and early jazz

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  • robertdotnagle
    Hi, there, I just signed up and forgive me for asking a newbie/unitiated question. I m interested in copyright issues and music recordings. I have a question
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 3, 2005
      Hi, there, I just signed up and forgive me for asking a
      newbie/unitiated question.

      I'm interested in copyright issues and music recordings.

      I have a question that is difficult and probably not terribly relevant
      to most of your discussions.

      Can you point to any sources about how to figure out if early
      recordings are no longer owned under copyright. (and hence are free to
      distribute, copy, etc).

      I've found from here
      http://www.legallanguage.com/lawarticles/Clarida007.html that
      recordings before 1972 are governed by state laws rather than federal
      copyright laws. so you'd probably have to do your legal research at
      the state level. (that's quite apart from locating original
      recordings, etc).

      I'd appreciate any links you might have about how to determine
      copyright status of early recorded works. Also, do you have a
      general idea about what the laws have been in states producing lots of
      jazz (I'm probably thinking Louisiana, Illinois, New York).

      I realize this is a big somewhat annoying and controversial question,
      and probably deserves a forum in itself. But if you have a few lines
      of information to say about this, I'd appreciate hearing. You can post
      here or to my email idiotprogrammer @ fastmailbox.net.

      One other thing. I stumbled upon your site after looking up Irving
      Aaronson. Wow! Thanks.



      Robert Nagle
      Houston, Texas
      http://www.imaginaryplanet.net/weblogs/idiotprogrammer/
    • Scott Alexander
      Perhaps this will help: http://www.bromsun.com/images/flowchart.gif
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 3, 2005
      • Jon Noring
        ... I have not followed this discussion thread, but it looks interesting! Is the original question regarding the copyright status of sound recordings? Or to
        Message 3 of 7 , Sep 3, 2005
          Scott wrote:

          > Perhaps this will help:
          > http://www.bromsun.com/images/flowchart.gif

          I have not followed this discussion thread, but it looks interesting!

          Is the original question regarding the copyright status of sound
          recordings? Or to song compositions? Or to written material?

          Regarding the copyright status in the U.S. of sound recordings, refer
          to: http://www.teleread.org/blog/2003_10_26_archive.html#106768614604144566

          In summary, U.S. Federal Copyright law does NOT cover sound recordings
          recorded before Feb. 15, 1972. Instead, they are covered under a maze
          of State laws (as explained in the article.) The net effect is that
          under some State copyright laws, there is no expiration, so
          technically the earliest commercial sound recordings from the late
          1800's are protected!

          The rules used to determine the copyright status of printed materials
          don't apply to sound recordings.

          Now song compositions, that's another matter, and they are covered
          under U.S. Copyright law using the same rules (I think) as written
          materials. Any song composition published in the U.S. before 1923 is
          definitely Public Domain.

          Jon Noring
        • robertdotnagle
          Scott, actually it doesn t. According to federal law 301c., pre1972 recordings are NOT covered by federal copyright law. I am not a lawyer, so I don t have
          Message 4 of 7 , Sep 3, 2005
            Scott, actually it doesn't.

            According to federal law 301c., pre1972 recordings are NOT covered by
            federal copyright law. I am not a lawyer, so I don't have the ability
            to interpret this law (and maybe I am missing something very serious).
            Here's the passage:

            http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap3.html [copyright.gov]
            (c) With respect to sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972,
            any rights or remedies under the common law or statutes of any State
            shall not be annulled or limited by this title until February 15,
            2067. The preemptive provisions of subsection (a) shall apply to any
            such rights and remedies pertaining to any cause of action arising
            from undertakings commenced on and after February 15, 2067.
            Notwithstanding the provisions of section 303, no sound recording
            fixed before February 15, 1972, shall be subject to copyright under
            this title before, on, or after February 15, 2067.

            The way I read it, it says that state laws about
            copyright/recordings(not federal laws) take precedence over federal
            copyright law for all recordings prior to 1972. Frankly, I have no
            idea how long copyright lasts according to state laws prior to 1972.

            This sounds pretty amazing (and horrifying) to me if it is true. And
            by the way, that's why it probably is extremely useful to know the
            state where the recording is made (I notice the site has this
            information easily available).

            As I said, I don't want to be giving out wrong information unless I
            first verify. (so please, no one take my word as gospel). But I
            wanted to see if anyone in your group had any experience dealing with
            these issues before.

            Robert Nagle

            --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Scott Alexander <scott@t...> wrote:
            > Perhaps this will help:
            > http://www.bromsun.com/images/flowchart.gif
          • Scott Alexander
            If you really want to get confused start investigating the concept of fair use and how it fits into this copyright mess that has been created. I m not a lawyer
            Message 5 of 7 , Sep 4, 2005
              If you really want to get confused start investigating the concept of
              fair use and how it fits into this copyright mess that has been created.
              I'm not a lawyer either, but I've had no complaints about copyright
              violations with the recordings on the Red Hot Jazz Archive and I've been
              streaming audio on the Internet since February of 1996. I've talked to
              lawyers about this issue and their opinion was that that no clear legal
              precedent has been set in regards to fair use and and public domain and
              how it applied to the Internet. Until that happens the laws can be
              interpreted in various ways.

              Why don't you talk to Lawrence Lessig (http://www.lessig.org/blog) ? He
              challenged the current copyright laws at the Supreme Court. He has
              looked into this from a legal perspective more than just about anyone.
              He is a lawyer and he is aware of the Red Hot Jazz Archive. He is also
              the main man of the Creative Commons gang. (http://creativecommons.org)

              Scott Alexander
              The Red Hot Jazz Archive
              www.redhotjazz.com
            • Prof_Hi_Jinx
              I know it s been said before, but you need to remember that there are two potential forms of protection:(c) which covers the work ; and(p) which covers
              Message 6 of 7 , Sep 4, 2005
                I know it's been said before, but you need to remember that there are two
                potential forms of protection:

                (c) which covers the "work"; and

                (p) which covers the recording

                It is only the (p) right (in the recording as "fixed") that commenced in
                1972 in the US - it is highly doubtful that there was *any* protection for
                recordings as such in the US before 1972.

                However there *may* be state "common law" or statute rights in (p)
                recordings, which may be eternal or may extend to 2047, depending on
                recording date (and, of course, location), and are highly nebulous.

                In the case of (c) rights, most works composed before 1922 are now in public
                domain, and a large number of non-copyrighted works from after that date are
                not protected - but see Section 303 of the 1976 Act as amended.

                In the case of (c) rights, the British Empire brought an end to common law
                copyright in 1911, and it is arguable that the US did the same as from 1978.

                Bob

                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "robertdotnagle" <idiotprogrammer@...>
                To: <RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Sunday, September 04, 2005 10:58 AM
                Subject: [RedHotJazz] Re: copyright and early jazz


                > Scott, actually it doesn't.
                >
                > According to federal law 301c., pre1972 recordings are NOT covered by
                > federal copyright law. I am not a lawyer, so I don't have the ability
                > to interpret this law (and maybe I am missing something very serious).
                > Here's the passage:
                >
                > http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap3.html [copyright.gov]
                > (c) With respect to sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972,
                > any rights or remedies under the common law or statutes of any State
                > shall not be annulled or limited by this title until February 15,
                > 2067. The preemptive provisions of subsection (a) shall apply to any
                > such rights and remedies pertaining to any cause of action arising
                > from undertakings commenced on and after February 15, 2067.
                > Notwithstanding the provisions of section 303, no sound recording
                > fixed before February 15, 1972, shall be subject to copyright under
                > this title before, on, or after February 15, 2067.
                >
                > The way I read it, it says that state laws about
                > copyright/recordings(not federal laws) take precedence over federal
                > copyright law for all recordings prior to 1972. Frankly, I have no
                > idea how long copyright lasts according to state laws prior to 1972.
                >
                > This sounds pretty amazing (and horrifying) to me if it is true. And
                > by the way, that's why it probably is extremely useful to know the
                > state where the recording is made (I notice the site has this
                > information easily available).
                >
                > As I said, I don't want to be giving out wrong information unless I
                > first verify. (so please, no one take my word as gospel). But I
                > wanted to see if anyone in your group had any experience dealing with
                > these issues before.
                >
                > Robert Nagle
                >
                > --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Scott Alexander <scott@t...> wrote:
                >> Perhaps this will help:
                >> http://www.bromsun.com/images/flowchart.gif
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >


                Send instant messages to your online friends http://au.messenger.yahoo.com
              • Michael Rader
                Copyright is indeed a very messy business, particularly in the US. The best current example is the fight between Naxos and Capitol on British recordings from
                Message 7 of 7 , Sep 6, 2005
                  Copyright is indeed a very messy business, particularly in the US. The best current example is the fight between Naxos and Capitol on British recordings from the 1930s, which the New York Court of Appeals has "rescued" from the public domain for Capitol. In the UK, there is an initiative by the Minister for the Creative Industries to extend copyright from the current 50 years on recordings so that impoverished pop-stars like Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and the Beatles are rescued from the breadline (;-)) [Don't tell me that Elvis, Hailey, Lennon and Harrison are no longer among us]. Fortunately, protection in Europe cannot be in retrospect, so that everything that has entered the PD will firmly remain there.

                  The neatest response I have seen by a prospective reissue producer is to ask to company claiming to own copyright to produce proof, e.g. a contract or the original master (or maybe even a file copy). However, I do not feel that existing reissues by the specialist labels are fair prey to anyone wishing to re-use their transfers. I have written an article on the subject: http://www.indicare.org/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=98

                  Kind regards,

                  Michael Rader



                  RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com schrieb am 05.09.05 02:03:12:
                  >
                  > I know it's been said before, but you need to remember that there are two
                  > potential forms of protection:
                  >
                  > (c) which covers the "work"; and
                  >
                  > (p) which covers the recording
                  >
                  > It is only the (p) right (in the recording as "fixed") that commenced in
                  > 1972 in the US - it is highly doubtful that there was *any* protection for
                  > recordings as such in the US before 1972.
                  >
                  > However there *may* be state "common law" or statute rights in (p)
                  > recordings, which may be eternal or may extend to 2047, depending on
                  > recording date (and, of course, location), and are highly nebulous.
                  >
                  > In the case of (c) rights, most works composed before 1922 are now in public
                  > domain, and a large number of non-copyrighted works from after that date are
                  > not protected - but see Section 303 of the 1976 Act as amended.
                  >
                  > In the case of (c) rights, the British Empire brought an end to common law
                  > copyright in 1911, and it is arguable that the US did the same as from 1978.
                  >
                  > Bob
                  >
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > From: "robertdotnagle" <idiotprogrammer@...>
                  > To: <RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com>
                  > Sent: Sunday, September 04, 2005 10:58 AM
                  > Subject: [RedHotJazz] Re: copyright and early jazz
                  >
                  >
                  > > Scott, actually it doesn't.
                  > >
                  > > According to federal law 301c., pre1972 recordings are NOT covered by
                  > > federal copyright law. I am not a lawyer, so I don't have the ability
                  > > to interpret this law (and maybe I am missing something very serious).
                  > > Here's the passage:
                  > >
                  > > http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap3.html [copyright.gov]
                  > > (c) With respect to sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972,
                  > > any rights or remedies under the common law or statutes of any State
                  > > shall not be annulled or limited by this title until February 15,
                  > > 2067. The preemptive provisions of subsection (a) shall apply to any
                  > > such rights and remedies pertaining to any cause of action arising
                  > > from undertakings commenced on and after February 15, 2067.
                  > > Notwithstanding the provisions of section 303, no sound recording
                  > > fixed before February 15, 1972, shall be subject to copyright under
                  > > this title before, on, or after February 15, 2067.
                  > >
                  > > The way I read it, it says that state laws about
                  > > copyright/recordings(not federal laws) take precedence over federal
                  > > copyright law for all recordings prior to 1972. Frankly, I have no
                  > > idea how long copyright lasts according to state laws prior to 1972.
                  > >
                  > > This sounds pretty amazing (and horrifying) to me if it is true. And
                  > > by the way, that's why it probably is extremely useful to know the
                  > > state where the recording is made (I notice the site has this
                  > > information easily available).
                  > >
                  > > As I said, I don't want to be giving out wrong information unless I
                  > > first verify. (so please, no one take my word as gospel). But I
                  > > wanted to see if anyone in your group had any experience dealing with
                  > > these issues before.
                  > >
                  > > Robert Nagle
                  > >
                  > > --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Scott Alexander <scott@t...> wrote:
                  > >> Perhaps this will help:
                  > >> http://www.bromsun.com/images/flowchart.gif
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  > Send instant messages to your online friends http://au.messenger.yahoo.com
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >


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