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Re: [ARSCLIST] Public's rights....was offlist archival question from ARSC list member
----- Original Message -----
From: "Andes, Donald" <Donald.Andes@xxxxxxxxxx>
> First off, thanks for your response. You bring many things to light
> here, and hopefully your comments will foster some really good
> The main thing that caught my eye, was the public's right idea. I think
> that this is a key archival question, and a vague area that deems
> destined to get more vague as more events become "owned" in some way by
> In one example, the NFL, exclusively owns the one of the biggest
> sporting events in the country. They have a fantastic archive, and they
> "seem" very fair with their historical coverage. (Meaning they don't
> omit showing games, where certain teams lost (or won).) But will any of
> their stuff every be turned into "public" assets, or should they.
> Inversely, say they are bought, management changes, or some other change
> occurs, and they begin to mis-represent some aspect of the game, it's
> players, etc.) They have the ability to edit the history they own, and
> is there anything to stop them, since they paid for, and own ALL the
> assets involved?
> The second is the music industry (I'll stay vague to speak freely),
> there's a bunch of material that hasn't been released, for MANY reasons.
> Is it the Public's right to EVER hear this stuff.
> Opinion A) NO - What gives anyone or everyone the right to be able to
> hear every note that said artist recorded? Maybe they were bad takes,
> maybe they were initmately personal songs... More so, what give the
> public the right to attain, control, or force the release of creatively
> controlled property. Understand, public domain releases "specific items"
> under copyright, it doesn't give keys to a vault and unrestricted
> Opinion B) YES - We the people need to maintain the right to have, get,
> listen to, etc. any and all corporate "stuff" after said time period,
> for the benefit of science, society, human nature, etc. Since there's no
> immediate interest in releasing stuff obscure stuff from the 20's, 30's,
> 40's then we should be able to access it ourselves for our own uses.
> If you expand the "corporate property" ideals here the public itself,
> under option B anything over a certain age may be repurposed for use by
> anyone who seems fit. That includes your pristinely restored Model T,
> the house you just paid the mortgage off on after 30 years, and possible
> that wife that managed to stay by your side all these years.
> History, should be accessible, but what does that word mean. Does it
> mean, I have to go to the vault/library/archive, sign a bunch of forms
> in advance, and pay a small processing fee, to listen to it in-house, or
> does it mean a 10 second google search should stream it to me in 5.1
> though my home theater?
> I think if we understand specifically what we are asking, often the
> questions answer themselves.
> I also think there is a greatly blurred understanding of commonly used
> words like: archive, accessibility, public right, ect.
I was going to reply to Karl's post...but I'll also reply to DA's reply!
The most notable "flaw" in this comment is the equation of intellectual
property with tangible property! Obviously, the tangible property of an
individual, as well as a commercial entity, will...and MUST...remain the
property thereof until the owner elects to somehow dispose of it (anything
from selling it for multi-millions of whatevers up to and including
throwing it in the trach...) OR, a situation arises where it must be
acquired by an official, usually governmental, entity for purposes valuable
to the general public (i.e. expropriating a corner of your yard for a street
or even a hydro pole...!). We have tangible property, and rights to it,
because (usually) its use is somehow necessary to our successful survival
and/or our happiness. Therefore, limitations on our rights to our TANGIBLE
property (and there are often many!) must be justified by a greater good
to society in general...i.e. we can't fill our back yard with dead sheep
(one guy in Toronto recently tried that...?!).
OTOH, our (or someone's) INTELLECTUAL property may be valuable tangibly
to its creator (i.e. he/she/it can make money, or gain other advantage,
through its use)...but that tangible value will inevitably decrease as
the entity drifts into obsolescence (it becomes no longer saleable
or otherwise useful)...which is why every law (except the US law
covering sound-recording copyright) has a limited term for ownership.
Now, insofar as a tangible entity also has intellectual-property
aspects (car collectors may want to see or know about your Model T,
and antique-architecture fans might want a tour of my c.1869 house),
you have the option of providing aid to interested parties. In almost
all cases, the owners will enthusiastically assist such folks...or,
Okeh...intellectal property (and the physical aspects of tangible
property) is/are...and MUST be...part of the accumulation of items
that define our history (on many levels...personal, community,
national, cultural and probably species-ial?!). Since at least
part of the survival of our culture and our species depends on
our knowing "where we've been and what we've done" (long
explanation of this provided on request)...it is important...nay,
VITAL...that we have access to this (in spite of the fact that
most of the current population could care less...!). As well,
there exist facts concerning this intellectual property (and...)
that in and of themselves are an important aspect of our cultural
and species-ial history (if only because we need NOT to make the
same errors over again...!). So...
1) Can we "edit" history?
NO! We can only edit accounts of that history...if Green Bay won
25-19, all we can change are the later information sources! Green
Bay will still have won. It was the USSR who thought they could
change history by changing later accounts of it...!
2) Define "accessible"...
It means...or SHOULD mean...that any member of our society can
gain access to the information and/or intellactual property, in
a form which is easily used...with the following limitations:
a) If the information/usw. could be used to defame or otherwise
negatively affect any person or group (the defense of "truth"
should apply here, but will create a lot of work for lawyers...).
b) If the information/usw. could be employed in such a way as to
endanger society and/or the species (i.e. detailed plans on how
to build a hydrogen bomb...).
c) If the creator of the information/usw. is still making money
or otherwise profiting from it, and if others could do so if given
3) Define "archive"...
Any maintained collection/accumulation of information in any usable
form...or of tangible entities from which information can be obtained
through their study.
4) Define "Public Right"...
See above under "accessibility."
And note that I have often provided information from my half-vast
shellac archive, as well as use of the recordings for reissue
(quite legal here in Canada...).
Steven C. Barr