In the Digest from Monday, 30 March, Art Reblitz replied to my
comment "... and how about scanning old books, out of print, and
putting them on a CD?".
He is right, of course, in warning for offending copyrights. If you
are a publisher, you want to make sure, eventually in advance, that
your copyrights will not be offended. Thanks for the warning, Art.
However, there is more to say on the subject.
A) I'm not quite aware of the situation in the USA, but over here
in Europe a copyright is not lasting over the ages: I thought it
covers a period of 50 years. After that period publications are free
of copyrights. That's why many publishers can reproduce, at quite
remarkable low cost, some rare books for small amounts of buyers.
B) If copyrights exist, they have to be respected, of course. It's far
away from me to suggest that I might want to hurt the rights of some
other person or institution (not even if he is a publisher, and I do
know some <grin>). But even recent books are published on CD-ROM,
since the production of a CD-ROM does ask for very low budgets, and can
eventually be done at home. In this way it's a good alternative, when
a printed version, for some reason, might become too expensive and thus
This is also the way I was thinking of: I can imagine that a reprint
of, let's say, "Treasures of Mechanical Music", being no longer in
stock, will not be produced, because the market is not demanding, or
at least not demanding strong enough.
But think of what would happen if a CD-ROM (or DVD!) would be produced,
holding the old text and pictures, but including new sound samples and
video-shots. In this way the Mechanical Music World could be served at
a new, and higher, level.
This can be done with sources being free of rights. In that situation
a MMD-project (or so) would be the right way, in order to keep the
budget as low as possible: the MMD is a good source of information,
while it's members are active in many professions. Using both
components is almost bound to be successful.
This also can be done with sources under copyright. Most of the time
a publisher, holding the copyright, will need some profit, in order to
be able to publish again in the future. But even then a co-operated
publishing is possible.
I could imagine that Art Reblitz would be joining such a project, and
get a reasonable fee for his copyrights. Others could provide the sound
samples and/or video-shots. The MMD will be able to provide the needed
stuff. Some money will be involved for getting these parts of the
information. And the last step is using a computer to produce a
master-file for the CD-ROM (or DVD), and pressing the disks. This
would also cost some. In this way, however, it is possible to produce
sources of information that are easily available for many people, will
last long time, can be sold to many more buyers (think of music
academies, universities, libraries, and so on).
By the way, Art: why not produce a disk, in addition to the
"Treasures"? It could be sold to existing owners of the book,
and could be added to reprints, either on paper or on a CD-ROM.
[ Editor's note:
[ Thanks, Jan, for more intriguing ideas. But there are other
[ factors, too, including the desire of the author to produce an
[ actual book, printed on fine paper.
[ I hope we will hear now from Art about his goals for "Treasures
[ of Mechanical Music", and other authors of expensive, low-quantity
[ books, and also from the publishers of this kind of book. Remember,
[ it is the publisher who gambles that he will make a small profit!
[ -- Robbie