Mudcat Café message #2206781 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #106522   Message #2206781
Posted By: Richard Bridge
02-Dec-07 - 10:04 AM
Thread Name: Topic Records Folk Songs Of Britain
Subject: RE: Topic Records Folk Songs Of Britain
The most important copyright issues surround the original sound recordings. These will have been governed by the Copyright Act 1956, which applied at the time (if I am right that the recordings were made after late 1956).    Does anyone know with accuracy when the recordings were made?

Clearly Kennedy was the "maker" (see S. 12(4)). It seems likely that he was commissioned by the BBC to make those recordings so the BBC will have been the first owner of the copyright in those recordings (see the proviso to S 12 (4)).

Any assignment or licence of that copyright must therefore have flowed from the BBC.   If that was an assigment to a person later entering bankruptcy there may be interesting copyright consequences - but not (despite lobbying from some laywers) if it was an assignment to a company thereafter being liquidated, when the liquidator will have been able to sell the copyrights free of any royalty obligaiton to the BBC - but if it was a licence cessation of payment (if due) to the BBC is likely to have caused it to revert.

There may be issues about compilation copyrights arising from the selection and collocation of material from the Kennedy field recordings. I will ignore them.

There are provisions in the current Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) (see S 36) permitting the making of recordings of performances of folk songs (but, for some reason I do not know the reason for, although I have told what was the DTI of the defect, not words without the tunes of their songs, and not tunes that were never songs) and certain uses of those songs. It applies to recordings made for the archives of designated bodies. I think the EFDSS is such a body. But the recordings wre made for the BBC and not for the EFDSS archive (unless anyone knows different - if there was an agreement between the BBC and the EFDSS and it required deposits with the EFDSS it might be different) so that is out of the window.

Despite the best efforts of Cliff Richard, copyright in sound recordings in the UK is still 50 years from making, so if, say, the Kennedy recordings were made in 1960, then the EFDSS will be able to make and sell copies of the acetates they have after 31st December 2010.

IThere could also be issues about the performers' rights of the source singers. I would also need to do a bit more digging if we thought the overdubbed playing and singing was done by people who died less than 50 years ago. I am not sure, from memory, of the duration of pre-1988 performers rights after the passage of the 1988 Act, and I do know that our masters in Brussells have been screwing things up with directives....

The notes will be literary works, protected until 70 years after the death of the author.

Really must do some work now!