Mudcat Café message #498543 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #35698   Message #498543
Posted By: GUEST
04-Jul-01 - 06:48 PM
Thread Name: The 'Celtic Music/Dave Bulmer' saga
Subject: RE: The 'Celtic Music/Dave Bulmer' saga

I don't know that anything can be done for what has already transpired.

My idea of what is the best case for the future, is to get the UK "Benefit and Burden" laws related to copyrights changed. Until that happens, we risk losing some potentially valuable archive material. While some of the material from the British Folk Revival is certainly of cultural value to the folk community, I don't think that is the main beef people have.

Rather, people are upset about artists losing the rights to their works. As well we should be! It isn't just about the money, as you noted. It also is about control over one's creative works.

As to the "national treasure" argument, I'm not convinced. There is very little of the British Folk Revival that isn't available from a lot of different sources that can be archived. What looks like national treasure, will clearly be seen as national trash by many others. This isn't really something for the folk community to decide on it's own. Nor is it likely to be known what stands the test of time until, well...time passes.

While there aren't millions of copies of folk revival recordings, there certainly are enough to get safety copies into archives, both public and private. Its always best to have masters, of course. But we don't always have that luxury.

There is concern, however, about some older masters which still exist, and the recordings don't. I really have not idea how many are out there, and I'm guessing no one else does either. There are the types of things that miraculously turn up in mint condition from granny's garden shed, etc. And then there is what is rumoured to be in existence in someone or other's private collections or possession.

But again, no one seems to know exactly what Bulmer has, and what might be duplication of material already in other archives. While Dick Gaughan is obviously concerned that the material only be archived in the UK (ie the "national treasure" argument), I for one find that kind of pious nationalism to be self-defeating in instances like this--to me, what matters is what needs preserving get preserved. If America, or Germany, or Pakistan end up being the place the stuff gets safely ensconced in a collection, I don't care who has it, so long as there is reasonable access to the archived material.

Re the idea of artists vs record companies, publishers, and copyright owners. I think artists need to educate themselves about the law. I also think that musicians need to join ranks with other freelancers and organize to get the laws changed. No one is going to do it for us, and I really do believe it's as simple (and difficult) as that. Unless and until that happens, I'm afraid there doesn't seem to be much legal recourse for any of us.