Welcome to WOTFA's Blog Spot.  The blog spot is very much like the commentary section of a newspaper. The main difference is that a reader can post comments back to the Blogger.
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Blog Posts

Copyright Considerations by Noel Lareau  Bill Crabtree | 10/19/2012
Copyright Factoids
 
 
1. The first U.S. copyright law is in the Constitution, and states that the Congress shall have power to promote science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries. Later laws expanded the scope of copyrightable materials to include diverse types of original literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, intellectual, and architectural works
 
2. According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright now means “that body of exclusive rights granted by law to copyright owners for protection of their work.” Works no longer need to be published to be copyrighted – a work is copyrighted as soon as it is set into any fixed medium which enables it to be seen or heard again.
 
3. “Copyright” literally means the right to make copies. A copyright owner has the exclusive right to reproduce the work or allow others to do so, make derivative works from the original work, sell or distribute copies of the work, and publicly perform or display the work. Each of these rights may be individually sold or transferred.
 
4. What may be copyrighted are: original works in any fixed known (or future) medium of expression, including literature; music with any accompanying words; drama with any accompanying music, pantomime; choreography; pictorials; graphics; sculpture; motion pictures and other type of audiovisuals; architecture; and sound recordings. What may not be copyrighted are any ideas, processes, procedures, systems, concepts, principles, discoveries, or methods of operation within copyrightable works, no matter how they may be presented. (Some of these may be able to be patented, but that’s another issue.)
 
5. Who originally owns a copyright? Usually the creator of a work owns the copyright to that work. The exception is if a work was made in the course of employment, in which case the employer owns the work unless a written agreement states otherwise. If a work is created by more than one person, and the intent was for the parts to be inseparable, the work is owned jointly. If these parts may be separated, then each part is owned by its creator (unless, or course, it is owned by the employer as above.)
 
6.  Remember the exclusive rights that copyright confers? – reproduction or allowing others to do so, making derivative works, selling or distributing copies, and public display or performance. These rights may be assigned to someone else which means all rights are unconditionally transferred. Or one or more of these rights may be licensed to someone else, either exclusively, or non-exclusively so that others may also be granted those rights.
 
7. United States copyright laws have undergone several major overhauls (and will again.) In addition, the U.S. has copyright agreements with foreign countries which effect international copyright law. Consequently, United States copyright law is a patchwork of regulations which effects works in different ways, depending on when and where they were made, recorded, and/or published.
 
8. United States laws, State laws, and court decisions are all in the public domain and so may not be copyrighted.
 
9.  What is for sure in the public domain (i.e. not under copyright protection) are works made by a U.S. citizen in the U.S. in 1922 or earlier.
 
10. Arrangements of tunes and songs may be copyrighted while the original piece is in the public domain. Copyright notations often do not state if it is the tune/song which is copyrighted, or the arrangement.  Also, performers of tunes/songs are often credited with writing them, when in fact they did not.  So to find out if a song or tune is in the public domain, one must search for its earliest documented occurrence
 
11. The U.S. Copyright Office maintains an online catalog of “works registered and documents recorded” since 1/1/1978. An online search of these documents may be initiated at http://www.copyright.gov/records/ - click “Search the Catalog” to begin. Any work created after 1/1/1978 will not pass into the public domain until at least 2048, and (most likely) later.
 
12. The concept of “Fair Use” is part of copyright law. It puts some limitations on the rights of copyright ownership. Non-authorized uses of copyrighted material are protected from being copyright infringements if they qualify as being “Fair Use.” More on this next time.
 
13. “Fair use” of copyrighted materials may be made for such purposes as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. To determine if material meets the criteria of fair use, four factors must be weighed. More on this next time.
 
14. The first factor to be weighed in determining if use of copyrighted material is “fair use” is (to quote the U.S. Copyright Law) “the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.” “Educational purposes” can be tightly defined as being provided by an accredited institution of learning, or more loosely defined. 
 
15. The second factor to be weighed in determining if use of copyrighted material is “fair use” is (to quote the U.S. Copyright Law) “the nature of the copyrighted work.” The use of material that is factual is more likely to be considered fair use than is the use of creative material, and use of published work (including published on the internet) is more likely to be considered fair use than is use of unpublished material.
 
16. The third factor to be weighed in determining if use of copyrighted material is “fair use” is (to quote the U.S. Copyright Law) “the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole…” For example, the North Carolina Board of Education recommends that teachers may use up to 10% of a musical composition or sound recording, to a maximum of 30 seconds.
 
17. The fourth factor to be weighed in determining if use of copyrighted material is “fair use” is (to again quote the U.S. Copyright Law) “the effect of use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.” A use which would not affect any aspect of the marketability of a copyrighted work would be looked on more favorably than one which did.
 
18. So in determining if use of copyrighted material falls under “fair use,” the four involved factors – the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the use, the amount used, and the potential effect of the use upon the market value of the copyrighted work – are considered as a whole. A use may be obviously fair or not (“black and white”) or the determination be made by the balance of the factors involved (“shades of gray.”)
WOTFA Archiving Project  Bill Crabtree | 1/12/2012
On other fronts, the situation with preservation of recorded fiddle materials in our region needs some discussion.  As you are aware, all of our tapes from the past 50 years are at the University of Columbia, Missouri.  However, we made CDs of all these recordings before sending the original tapes to Missouri.  The NW fiddling mp3 tunes we have on our web site are just a fraction of what we have.  In addition, Stuart and Catherine Graham have just finished copying to CD and cataloging Stan Jackson's tape recordings.  We also have Cathy Sisco's recordings, and I just finished transferring to CD all of Harry Johnson's.  We also have all of Linda Danielson's field recordings of Oregon fiddlers, some of whom Stuart learned from when he was living in Eugene.  Right now, Linda's tunes and interviews of the fiddlers occupy around 50 gb of space on hard drives at our place and Stuart's.  It would be great if we could get some help in dealing with all this material, which represents, essentially, the last of the traditional Northwest dance fiddlers.  A few years ago we thought that, perhaps, some of the folks in WOTFA might have tapes of their ancestors in the closet that should be in such an archive.  Stuart did put a small notice in the WOTFA newsletter at that time about "Treasures in the Closet," but did not follow up on this as he figured there was no space to store tapes that might come in from such a plea.  We wish we had known as we have had space to store them.  This is a project that probably should be revived before it is too late.  We have no idea, for example, of what happened to the many tapes made by Joe Hanson and Ray Wright.  Joe sent us some amazing tapes of Steve Crawford several years ago, for example.  Do you think that anyone in WOTFA would be interested in getting involved in a WOTFA archiving project?  Stuart will be getting together with us in the next few days to brainstorm what we might do.  Once this material is gone, it is gone forever.


Phil Williams
Preserve and Promote  Bill Crabtree | 10/8/2011
Preserve and Promote Old Time Fiddling and related arts. This is the mission statement of the Washington Old Time Fiddlers Association. Founded in 1965 by a handful of dedicated musicians and devotees of old time music, WOTFA has grown to about 1200 current members.
In 1965 the average price of a gallon of regular leaded gasoline was $.31 and minimum wage was $1.25 per hour. Today the average price of a gallon of gas in Washington State, as of this article, is about $3.75, and minimum wage is $8.67 per hour. In 1965 you needed to work 15 minutes to purchase a gallon of gas at minimum wage. Today one needs to work almost 45 minutes to purchase a gallon of gas. 
It should really be of no surprise to anyone that today’s economy is taking its toll on all of us. Clubs all over the world are facing major challenges in building and maintaining membership. WOTFA is no exception to this. It is becoming increasingly difficult to attract younger members into any organization. There are so many competing influences, all vying for the interest of younger people. The younger members are “our” future. They will be this organizations leaders and volunteers. Without them, the mission statement of WOTFA will not be realized and the worst possibility that the music that we all enjoy so much, will be lost to the history books.
I believe that technology is a tool. A tool that we, as an organization must learn to leverage.  If we want to continue this tradition and pass it down to generations of the future, then we need to present the material and history of Old Time Music in a way that has never been available before. In 1965, it took seven days to send a letter from Spokane to Seattle. In 2011, it takes less than 10 seconds to send the same information to anywhere in the world.
It is on all of us to make this happen. The heritage of Old Time music depends on our ability to adapt and change. We must find ways to cut costs, conserve our resources, and get our message out to as many young people as we can. The purpose of the website is to provide the membership with information, news, and learning materials in a way that was not possible 10 years ago, let alone in 1965.
The website is simply a tool that helps dedicated people do their job more efficiently and use their valuable time more wisely by streamlining common processes, and centralizing information so that it is at the reach of every single member.
Copyright Factoids  Noel Lareau | 8/7/2011
COPYRIGHT FACTOID FOR AUGUST 2011
So in determining if use of copyrighted material falls under “fair use,” the four involved factors – the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the use, the amount used, and the potential effect of the use upon the market value of the copyrighted work – are considered as a whole. A use may be obviously fair or not (“black and white”) or the determination be made by the balance of the factors involved (“shades of gray.”)
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