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GUEST,Jim Carroll Copyright warning - bloggers! (192* d) RE: Copyright warning - bloggers! 08 Sep 07


Anahata,
"You agree that it is wrong to distribute copies of another person's recording, so presumably you don't object to Anne asking the blogger to remove the recording from his site?"
Of course not - if that is what she wants to do; that was not my point, which was about sharing the material.
Tom,
" But I'm still confused by your suggestion that singers and songwriters 'cling tightly' to their songs."
We have on our shelves 20-odd editions of The New City Songster, a publication edited by Peggy Seeger which ran from 1969 to 1985. Each volume contained at least a dozen songs donated by such songwriters as Eric Bogle, Matt Armour, John Pole, Frankie Armstrong, Pete Seeger, Miles Wooton, Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger, Jack Warshaw, Sandra Kerr, Don Lange..... and many more.
I am left with the impression from discussions such as this one that such a publication would no longer be possible - please tell me I'm wrong.
Can we please lay the Scarborough Fair ghost once and for all.
The version in question was collected by Ewan MacColl and Joan Littlewood from retired lead miner Mark Anderson in 1948. It was used on a BBC radio programme 'The Song Collector' in that year. Anderson's is fairly similar to the one in Kidson's Traditional Tunes, so presumably it was fairly common in Yorkshire, in other words, his or somebody's 'arrangement' of the ancient ballad 'The Elfin Knight' (Child 2), dating back (certainly in print) to at least 1673.
Martin sang Anderson's tune and text, presumably from The Singing Island, Dylan got it from him and passed it on to Paul Simon, who used it for the film 'The Graduate'.
In fairness to all concerned, to my knowledge there was never an actual dispute on the use of the song, nor could there be; I heard it only as an anecdote.
Simon's arrangement in The Graduate, as far as I remember, while using Anderson's tune and (some of) his text, bore no resemblance whatever to Carthy's; in fact, if my memory serves me right, it was orchestrated for the film, so in talking about rights of ownership we can only be referring to text and tune.
My point in raising the matter is that whenever the copyright issue is raised in relation to traditional song, the last to be considered is invariably the traditional source.
Earlier in this thread I proposed a levy on the commercial use of traditional songs to be used in the developing of a National Archive. Compared to what has happened in Ireland and Scotland, England trails sadly behind in such a facility. Past uses of traditional songs and music in films like The Graduate, Far From The Madding Crowd, Moby Dick, The Bounty, and many, many more examples, could have made a major contribution to a British Archive.
As it stands at present, the only hope for such an idea taking off is if the collectors and researchers devote their own time, energy and finances into such a project.
Jim Carroll


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