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CLASSICAL  May 2005

CLASSICAL May 2005

Subject:

Re: Hyperion Loses

From:

Karl Miller <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 20 May 2005 08:43:54 -0500

Content-Type:

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text/plain (41 lines)

Richard Pennycuick wrote:

>Hyperion has lost its copyright case.  The consequences for the label
>will be severe.  There's a statement at Hyperion's website:
>
> http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/

This is most unfortunate, but it points to the growing problems of
copyright.  Suppose you make a recording of the Beethoven Sonatas, and
the pianist uses an edition of the Sonatas which is under copyright...you
have to pay mechanicals if you issue the recording.  Similarly, if you
want to issue a CD of an older recording, one that might be in public
domain...which at this point, almost no recording is public domain in
the US...and if you "restore" a late transfer (which may still be under
copyright) you have to pay rights to use it even if you make improvements...
but then you can copyright your improvements.

While much of this might sound fair to those who do all of this work...it
is a legal nightmare.  The best one can hope for is to do your best to
research and then say your prayers.  Even if you want to pay all rights
holders (something that might make breaking even on your recording
impossible), you can't always find them...hence the term, orphaned works.

I am reminded of a Marco Polo release, the Piano Concerto by Leschetizky.
While I might have this story screwed up a bit, as I recall the estate
sued since I believe it was a first recording.  In most instances a first
recording requires one to negotiate mechanical rights with the publisher.
Non-profits can skirt that issue by limiting a pressing to 2,500 and
paying the standard rate.  As far as I know, Marco Polo/Naxos, did not
negotiate, and for all I know, probably, and very logically assume that
it was public domain...with the composer having died in 1915.  Perhaps
the score was copyrighted after his death, but the then 50 year limit
now 75 year limit in the US, should have applied.

The disc was pulled from the shelves...interestingly it was remaindered
and sold at Berkshire. At any rate, we, at least in the US, don't have a
recording of the piece. Well at least the estate is satisfied.

 From my perspective, the situation has become absurd.

Karl

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