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Re: [ARSCLIST] Copyright (was: Virgin Sacrifice)

"You are comparing apples and oranges.  The obscenity laws are
NEVER enforced copyright laws.  This argument is completely misleading."

I was trying (lamely, perhaps) to make an analogy, not an argument.
(Who I was trying to "completely mislead", I'm not sure, I was merely
attempting to add to the discussion...)  I think one can at least make a
comparison, in that obscenity and copyright violation are both crimes
which were once prosecuted vigorously, but no longer are.  

"Oh really.  Have you noticed that all the major file sharing sites are
either closed or charging?"

It would appear that the abandonment of this strategy by the RIAA would
indicate that it was not effective.  I don't know how "major" I would
consider the sites, but you can still get online and download a great
deal of music for free if you know where to look.  The former head of
the RIAA was just interviewed in Billboard a couple of weeks ago,
talking about what she perceived as mistakes made by the RIAA (such as
the lawsuits), and how the recent Pirate Bay verdict, would have NO
effect on piracy.  Also, the BBC just reported on a poll where 77% of
respondents stated that the threat of losing service from their ISP (the
latest RIAA strategy) wouldn't curtail their downloading, either.  So,
yeah, I think "ineffective" is a pretty accurate way to put it.

"Law enforcement doesn't decide.  It is not an episode of Cops where
they are the ones who initiate the investigations and arrests.  The
industry does.  As long as there are willing starlets in Hollywood and
congressional staffs willing to sleep with them, the MPAA and by
extension the RIAA will have control over our copyright laws.  I am
being sarcastic here, but as was discussed at the copyright committee
session at ARSC, the industry spends MILLIONS OF DOLLARS lobbying

Your sarcasm is appreciated.  What prompted this discussion was the
closing of the Virgin Megastore.  If sales of recorded media continue
their downward trend (down 48% since 2000), then in the future, the
industry may not be in as strong a position to initiate legal action
against widespread copyright violation.  Furthermore, if sales of
recorded music are no longer profitable, what would be the rationale for
suing, anyway?  If current trends continue, the days of spending
millions and millions on lobbying may soon be over.  This could lead to
just the situation I attempted to describe, tolerated lawbreaking, where
copyright law is widely flouted without prosecution.  The laws never
legally challenged or repealed, but remaining on the books, while the
RIAA or other organizations no longer attempt to prosecute violators.

As to the rest of your post, I would love to hear a lot more about the
LOC/Sony streaming initiative.  And yes, I have already signed HRCA
online petition. 


-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:ARSCLIST@xxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Michael Biel
Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2009 1:29 PM
To: ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Copyright (was: Virgin Sacrifice)

From: "Schooley, John" <John.Schooley@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> I fear that copyright laws will exist in the future on paper only, and

> be rarely enforced.

There is a basic misunderstanding here about WHO enforces the law. The
police, FBI, prosecutors, and other "arms-of-the-law" do not enforce the
law.  The courts do.  The copyright holders do.  The copyright law does
not give any enforcement powers to legal authorities, only the right of
those who have had their rights violated to take the case to court.   

> Except, of course, by libraries, archives, universities, and other 
> institutions whom we might hope would attempt to preserve some of the 
> material. Due to legal fears, they will stick to the letter of the law

> long after the public has abandoned it, and any efforts to preserve 
> recordings will be severely hampered as a result.
> I can't find the link right now, but I read an article recently that 
> looked at what happens when laws are not repealed or changed, but 
> simply no longer enforced. The example they used was...pornography. 
> There are still obscenity laws on the books across the country, but 
> the police aren't breaking down the doors of people who view porn

You are comparing apples and oranges.  The obscenity laws are COMPLETLY
DIFFERENT TYPES OF LAWS from copyright laws.  The POLICE NEVER enforced
copyright laws.  This argument is completely misleading.

> Communities didn't pass laws that said pornography was no longer 
> prohibited, changes in the culture (and technology) led to the point 
> where law enforcement just doesn't concern itself with it anymore. The

> same thing has already happened as far as copyright law is concerned.
> The RIAA lawsuits, though well-publicized, are few in number,

The RIAA on its own initiative stopped initiating the mass suits over a
year ago, that's why you aren't hearing about them.  But I think the
figure of the number of suits they "settled out of court" was around
35,000.  Only 3 or 4 were ever taken to court.

> and totally ineffective compared to the vast amount of file-sharing 
> going on.

Oh really.  Have you noticed that all the major file sharing sites are
either closed or charging?  

> But copyright laws aren't going to be overturned or repealed through 
> any sort of legal process, people will simply continue to ignore them,

> and law enforcement will decide it has more important things to worry

Law enforcement doesn't decide.  It is not an episode of Cops where they
are the ones who initiate the investigations and arrests.  The industry
does.  As long as there are willing starlets in Hollywood and
congressional staffs willing to sleep with them, the MPAA and by
extension the RIAA will have control over our copyright laws.  I am
being sarcastic here, but as was discussed at the copyright committee
session at ARSC, the industry spends MILLIONS OF DOLLARS lobbying

But we ARE fighting back.  ARSC now has a lobbyist.  The laws won't just
go away, we have to WORK at it -- pay attention to the ARSC Copyright
Committee web page, I mean it, PAY ATTENTIION TO THAT PAGE -- and back
up what is being accomplished.  Everyone who has been commenting on this
should have been at the meeting.  When the audio of that meeting goes on
line, LISTEN TO IT.  

> Unfortunately, most museums, libraries, and archives will remain 
> hamstrung by their legal departments and prohibited from making their 
> collections available online, for example.

This IS changing. One thing that was not discussed at that meeting but
was revealed the day before during the tour of the National AV Center at
Culpepper, is that the record industry has another trick up its sleeve. 
They are about to silence most of our bitching by goosing up the
statistics of the percentages of ancient recordings available from the
rights holders. 

Roger Kulp wrote: 
>> A sizeable chunk of,if not  most rock,jazz,R&B,country,and
>> 78 era classical has been issued on CD somewhere at one point in time

>> in the past 25 years or so.Most of it on small vanity labels,in 
>> limited distribution and quantity.

ARSC did a study of the percentages on a decade-by-decade basis of what
is available from the rights holders and what is available from the
labels Roger describes.  The numbers of both were low, but the numbers
from the rights holders was almost invisible.  The point iws not to be
happy with that status quo but to show that the rights holders have not
done right by their heritage, and that the work that has been STARTED by
those other labels is important and must now be legalized in the U.S. 
But read on:

Sony has given permission -- and is sponsoring the effort -- to LC to
CONTROL, which includes Victor and Columbia.  The transfers are about to
begin, the first thousand recordings have already been selected, and at
least these (if not the full ten thousand) will be on-line by the end of
the year.  The transfers of the discs will be quickly done -- only a
minor amount of time will be spent selecting styli and adjusting speed
-- but the discs will still be there to be re-transferred if there is
real need.  While our group was stammering open-mouthed at the
announcement, I turned to Tim Brooks who happened to be standing right
behind me, and whispered a question "This is to buy us off and stop our
complaints, isn't it?" and he gave a knowing nod.  

It is becoming evident that Congress did not know that they had
restricted rights to the early recordings.  This has been a surprise to
every legislator who has been told.  They had no idea that there were
restrictions to pre-rock recordings because all they were told was about
rock records and Mickey Mouse.  As they have been informed one-by-one of
problem by our lobbyist, there now IS a chance that the law will be
changed.  As I said, READ THE ARSC COPYRIGHT COMMITTEE PAGE and follow
the links.  Is that too much to ask?

Yes the situation reprinted below is the current situation, but it is
hopefully about to change if we help and support the movements that ARSC
and their allied organizations are working towards.

Mike Biel  mbiel@xxxxxxxxx

 So, we will end up with a
situation like we have currently, but worse. When an interested party
wants to hear a particular recording, if they can't afford to purchase
it (if there are even copies available for purchase) they are better off
breaking the law and downloading it online if they can, rather than
using "legal" methods and trying to access a copy at a library or
archive. If they try follow the law and avoid any illegal action, it
just ends up being more trouble than it is worth. To hear the recording
legally, they would have to visit the collection that holds it in person
(perhaps having to fly in from another state), and then could only
listen to it on site. In most cases they wouldn't even be allowed to
make a copy for themselves. Or, they could just find it online somewhere
for free. The public has already decided that this isn't a tough



-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:ARSCLIST@xxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2009 5:38 AM
To: ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Virgin Sacrifice

Hi Jack:

Your situation is somewhat unique, perhaps so unique that there is not
even a niche market for it in the modern download world. However, you
raise a good point -- all the material that is currently out of print,
sometimes called "long-tail content." I've argued numerous times on this
list and in other forums that all of it should eventually be available
as downloads. There is, however, some cost involved with digitizing old
material and some masters are forever lost. The biggest block, though,
to getting the more obscure stuff online is copyright laws. Stuff stays
copyright in the US far too long, especially if it's out of print. I've
argued that there should be a requirement for copyrights to last beyond
what the rest of the world finds reasonable, that the material should
have to be in print in a common consumer format or the copyright
expires. If you didn't have the copyright laws, much much more variety
of material would be online for legal download, put there by fans and
collectors or a guy willing to sell his amateur transfers for a quarter
or a dime a song. It would be great for consumers because it would
probably drive download prices down, as well as offering a "longer tail"
of obscure sub-genre stuff than is now legally available.

Your point illustrates the main weakness of the current music business
model, and it was also touched on by Mike Biel about record stores in
the years before they all collapsed -- a lack of variety is widely toxic
to the business. It causes a general dissatisfaction among the more
mainstream consumers ("who cares, there's nothing new or interesting
there, just the same old
stuff") and stymies those who want to "go deep in the stacks" and really
learn about a genre or artist. A sure way for a stores buyer traffic to
dry up.

Finally, my point wasn't about unique collections like what yours
obviously was (since you were able to sell it). Hence my sentence about
Black Patty and Shaded Dog disks and McIntosh equipment. My point was
about what most of us have for collections, myself included. Roomfuls of
heavy and mostly worthless stuff, shelves of common records and CD's,
boxes of common and/or not-good-condition 78's, with a subset of a small
amount of the volume that's truly valuable. As time goes on, many of us
will find that even this subset won't raise enough dough for our
survivors to dispose of the mass of dumpster fodder. And I think these
dreams of libraries, universities and archives suddenly springing up to
collect and preserve all this are pipe dreams, given likely economic
conditions and general cultural disinterest in anything "old" going

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jack Palmer" <vdalhart@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 11:59 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Virgin Sacrifice

> Tom,
> I certainly qualify as an old man. I'm even older than Mike! But
even if I was willing to 
> download the music only I could not obtain the artist and the music I
want. It is only available 
> from old 78s. Most of it has never been released on CD or even LP.
So where does that leave me? 
> Either look for the old records or forget the music I want to hear?
So my choice is looking for 
> the records. And I enjoy it. I have met so many interesting people
and traveled across the 
> entire US looking for the music. I can't travel anymore due to health
problems but I still check 
> out several mail order lists and on line listings. I feel I am doubly
blessed. I get to hear the 
> music and I also have the original artifact that the music was issued
on. You have to be a record 
> collector (of any age) to know what it is like. Jack
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Tom Fine" <tflists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 6:41 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Virgin Sacrifice
>> Hi Mike:
>> No offense, but your attitude about downloads shows your age. There
are definitely a few "kids" 
>> who want a houseful of dusty objects, but I respect just as much the
person who is collecting the 
>> MUSIC, not the THING, in which case an iPod full of downloads is more
MUSIC in a more convenient 
>> place than ever existed before. Now if only that music were in full
CD quality or better instead 
>> of lossy-compressed ...
>> Since we can't take either one with us, it might be more merciful on
those we leave behind to 
>> leave a single computer drive and iPod vs. a house of moldy things to
be disposed of. On the 
>> other hand, if it's a house full of minty Black Pattys, Shaded Dogs
and McIntosh amplifiers, 
>> perhaps the survivors will forgive the clutter as the cash rolls in
from selling it! But this 
>> isn't usually the case. I think there are guys on this list who
appraise giant piles of shellac 
>> and vinyl all the time and will report how worthless many acres of
this stuff is, so mainly it's 
>> a burden on those left behind unless they share the love of the stuff
or own a carting business.
>> As for used bookstores, except for my strange inclination to collect
first edition hardcovers of 
>> certain mainstream books about politics and journalism, I've had much
better luck and saved tons 
>> of money using AbeBooks. So once again, the Internet wins. Aside from
books about music and the 
>> record business, I've stopped buying altogether due to lack of space.
Library trumps wallet 
>> nowadays.
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Michael Biel" <mbiel@xxxxxxxxx>
>> To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 1:30 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Virgin Sacrifice
>> From: "Tom Fine" <tflists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>>> Maybe it's an age thing, but I can't see any reason for physical
>>> for music since Amazon took off. I haven't bought a book or CD from
>>> physical store in probably a decade now.
>> To a certain extent that is similar to me, especially when I am home
>> Kentucky, far, far away from any record stores with just a small 
>> non-discount bookstore in town. Constantly when something is
>> in these forums or I otherwise hear about something available, I
>> on Amazon and a couple of other places and ZIP, I click and buy. The 
>> problem is not being able to combine shipping in the marketplace
>> which raises the price considerably when buying several things that
>> same vendor offers.
>> But that being said, when visiting Leah in NYC we always try to drop 
>> into Acadamy Records, Book-Off, Strand Books, and a neat remainder
>> place we found in the Village, and we usually leave these places with

>> too many things to carry, so I usually drive there. Then there are
>> special events like the semi- and annual sales at places like the 
>> ARChive of Contemporary Music that Leah and I hit this afternoon. We 
>> crawled out with almost 100 one dollar LPs, almost 50 two dollar 
>> LaserDiscs, and some 50 cent 78s including two Chaillapin Opera
>> Jazz at the Philharmonic Vol 4 on Disc album 504, Artie Shaw plays
>> Porter on Musicraft album S2, King Cole Trio Capitol album B8 with an

>> extra disc, and Tetrazzini on the vinyl Heritage Series 15-0001, and 
>> some other stuff including two Hoffnung books. (The sale continues
>> Sunday, so if you're in the NYC area you might want to check it out 
>> http://www.arcmusic.org ) And then there's the Jazz Record Bash on
>> and Sat, and everybody will be there. And then there's the Antique 
>> Phonograph and Record shop in South Jersey we went to last Saturday 
>> while in the Phila area and got a couple dozen 78s there.
>> There is nothing like being able to handle and inspect the records, 
>> including the ones you don't buy, which can't be done on the internet

>> nor in mail auctions. While 78 collectors have been using mail
>> since the 1930s, most of these collectors have also gone thru tens of

>> thousands of records in stores, so they get to know what the details
>> in the actual records. I know I have looked at more than a million 
>> records over the years. This is an important learning experience for 
>> collectors. When the rock collectors started having access to mail 
>> auctions in the late 70s in Goldmine and other magazines like it, I 
>> noticed that the majority of rock collectors had never really gone
>> piles of thousands of records, and usually knew nothing about the 
>> records themselves. Reading the articles in these rock collector 
>> magazines, looking at what they mistakenly called "discographies",
>> the auction lists themselves, showed how ignorant these rock
>> were, even the "experts". All too often they had never looked at any 
>> records that were not already in their collection. They didn't know 
>> labels, pressing plant styles, matrix numbers, etc. Obvious
>> were snapped up like the real things by them if they ventured out to
>> record show.
>>> And downloads trump even that because not only are they convenient, 
>>> they are near-instant gratification. Now if only full 44.1/16-bit 
>>> downloads would go down to 99 cents or less per song and be 
>>> commonplace, we'd finally be at a reasonable "new paradigm."
>> So if these "collectors" now stick to just downloading things, that 
>> might leave the real artifacts for us real collectors. I'm not 
>> interested in paying for vapor, which is all a download is. We did
>> some free streams as source for some of the music in Leah's
>> because most of the music was added while I was in New York and my 
>> records were in Kentucky. I do buy plenty of CD reissues of 78s, so
>> am not a purist who insists on having the 78 even if it is impossibly

>> rare. But if the reissue is on a CD or a download, I will go for the 
>> CD. You are not a record collector if you go for the download. (In 
>> Leah's documentary, Kurt Nauck discusses the difference between music

>> lovers who just want to listen to the music, and record collectors
>> want the record and also might listen to the record.)
>> Mike Biel mbiel@xxxxxxxxx

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