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MMD > Archives > June 2013 > 2013.06.16 > 01Prev  Next


MelODee Party Rolls
By Matthew Caulfield

[ Marshall Jose wrote in 130614 MMDigest --

> Imagine my surprise to discover that the roll was musically identical
> to my QRS roll ... Is this normal?  I can find [nothing] on the Web
> suggesting that MelODee and QRS shared content.

If, as Robbie said in the 130614 MMD, MelODee Party Rolls were produced
in the 1960s, that was before the legislative rethinking that led up
to the Copyright Act of 1976, and which extended Federal copyright
protection to sound recordings for the first time.

Under the Copyright Act of 1909 and the White-Smith vs. Apollo Supreme
Court decision, sound recordings were excluded from coverage of Federal
copyright law.  That left the field open to piracy, because only state
law could offer protection against copying sound recordings.  (The
thinking back then was centered on the idea that, since sound recordings
were in a medium that couldn't be read by the human eye, they couldn't
be copyrighted.)

State law was pretty much ineffective, because if a record pirate
faced prosecution in the state he was operating in, he would just move
his business to another state and continue the piracy.  So in the 1960s
there was no such thing as the "performance copyright" that Marshall
alludes to.

As for trademarking "MelODee", I'm no expert on trademark law, but my
understanding is that trademark protection extends beyond the wording
to cover the design elements of the trademark.  There is such a thing
as design copyright too, I believe.

Matthew Caulfield
Irondequoit, New York

 [ MMDigest articles about music roll copyright issues are indexed at
 [ http://www.mmdigest.com/Archives/KWIC/C/copyright.html  -- Robbie


(Message sent Sun 16 Jun 2013, 00:46:51 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  MelODee, Party, Rolls

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