Flutterby™! : EC considers "use it or lose it" on copyright

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EC considers "use it or lose it" on copyright

2008-07-16 17:05:20.882179+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

Charlene and I were down in Fresno last weekend, and found a whole bunch of old 78s in her parents' closet. I called my Dad, who confirmed that he had found a USB enabled turntable, which sent us off on a quest where we eventually found one for less than it'd cost for him to ship his out to us and back, and we digitized a few of 'em.

I think it'd be really cool to post an MP3 of the Armenian version of "The Ballad of Davey Crockett" (and one that's culturally translated too, it has him going to Fresno and LA), but I have no idea how I'd go about unraveling ownership and royalties on such a recording. Normally I'm completely a fan of strong copyright, but I do think there's a point at which the economic value becomes low enough that, unless the original owners are still vested in the recording, it's totally reasonable to let works become general cultural artifacts.

So I'm glad that the European Commission is considering an extension of copyright from 50 to 90 years, with a "use it or lose it" clause.

[ related topics: Music California Culture Copyright/Trademark ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-17 03:07:14.434005+00 by: Diane Reese

Ignoring your copyright discussion and focusing just on the cool 78s, if you ever want to hear them on my grandfather's stand-up Victrola (the only thing I was able to save from his house when he went a little loopy and started giving his possessions away to random strangers on the street), give a shout. I have a couple hundred 78s and they sound oh-so-haunting on the original equipment.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-17 14:33:10.453041+00 by: Dan Lyke

We wandered into an antique store yesterday where they had a Victrola, they let us play a few tracks, and dang, that is a spectacularly beautiful piece of equipment. I have absolutely no way to justify a hundred year old thing that takes up 6 square feet that I'd probably listen to once or twice a year, but I want it.

The way the needle on that huge heavy arm settles so slowly down on to the record...

Charlene's Dad mentioned that he remembered changing out the needles possibly as often as every play, which may explain some of the noise we heard yesterday, but thanks, we'll have to bring 'em down and hear 'em on yours some time.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-18 01:05:54.030735+00 by: Diane Reese

And yes, changing the needle every few plays is crucial to good sound (and presumably for the health of the 78s as well).

Mine is a VV-XI, mahogany. (Grandpop gave away his tabletop model before I could get there, sigh.)

#Comment Re: made: 2008-07-21 16:34:11.546869+00 by: mvandewettering

Ignoring the interesting "old-technology and music" aspect, and focusing on the boring legal and intellectual property issues, the EU clause seemingly doesn't really help your situation all that much. It basically says that the publishing company must either publish the work, or the copyright reverts to the original artist. This actually doesn't seem to help: the original artist is certainly not under any obligation to republish his work, even if the original artist can be found. What about works where multiple artists are involved? Does a backup singer get the same rights as the featured artist of a song?