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Re: [ARSCLIST] copyright and archives query

We have had some discussions with people here from label archives,and they are largely considered private property,and mostly off-limits to the public. Sony/BMG seems to be the exception,based on what I have read by John Bolig. They seem to be pretty good on allowing restricted access to the Victor archives to people doing serious historical research.You could contact either him,or Vince Giordano,at the archives,whose contact information I do not have,but others here do.


Troutman John <jtroutman@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote: Hello:

This is my first posting to ARSClist.   Unfortunately the two main  
questions in my first posting have probably been answered before, but  
I could not locate a similar question in the archive search.

I am working on a book about American Indian music and musicians in  
the late 19th and early 20th centuries.   Some of the individuals I  
focus on made commercial recordings and used artist names such as  
Chief Os-Ke-Non-Ton, Princess Watahwaso, and Chief Kiutus Tecumseh.    
I am publishing the book through the University of Oklahoma Press,  
and they have agreed to include a CD with the book, that is, if I can  
secure the proper copyright permissions.

The recordings that I am interested in are on the Columbia, Victor,  
Decca, His Master's Voice, and Gennett labels (but mostly Victor and  
Columbia).   I have most of the matrix #s and some of the recording/ 
session information.

First question:  I have never before attempted to secure permissions  
for compositions and sound recordings.   Does anyone have contact  
information for helpful individuals at Sony, BMG, Vivendi, or whoever  
might today own the rights to these recordings (they were made  
between 1915-1935)?  Would anyone who has dealt with this process  
before mind informing me of their experience, the cost involved,  
etc?  I'm basically trying to do this myself and feel a little lost  
(and small) when I contemplate the difficulty of finding someone at  
those conglomerates who will work with me.  And is there a website or  
guide out there that can trace these recordings to today's owners of  
the rights?   Need I visit the copyright office in DC in order to  
determine the present ownership?

Second question:  I know of the Edison archives, and the Gennett  
materials at Rutgers, but are the Columbia and Victor archives from  
this era available to the public?  If so, where do they exist?

I would really appreciate any advice or information that any of you  
mind sharing with me.

Thanks so much in advance for your help,

John W. Troutman
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
Center for the Americas
Wesleyan University
255 High Street
Middletown, CT 06459

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