Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Music Media Your Rights Online

Even Century Old Records Had Restrictive Licensing 277

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the old-dog-same-tricks dept.
natch writes "While rummaging through some old records at an antique store I found some turn-of-the-century Victor Record Company pressings. The label on the back laid out the terms of use, something similar to an EULA. In today's modern world of RIAA lawsuits and DRM, it's interesting to note that similar tactics have been in use by record companies for over a century, restricting your right to use what you purchased. The label clearly states that unless the record was sold for at least one dollar, there is no license to use it."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Even Century Old Records Had Restrictive Licensing

Comments Filter:
  • While the Victrola "EULA" described in TFA is a new one to me, damaging intellectual property disputes are definitely not something that's unique to our time.

    Every time an article on IT patents comes up, I immediately think about the Selden [wikipedia.org] Patent, and the effect that dispute had on the development of automobiles at the dawn of the 20th century. It's difficult to say how things would have turned out if the patent hadn't been granted, or if it had been invalidated earlier, but it certainly shaped the landscape dramatically. (Whether for the better or worse is arguable -- probably its biggest effect was the boost it gave one Henry Ford, who challenged the Selden-patent-backed oligopoly [wikipedia.org].)

    But you can see many of the same legal arguments and constructs that occur in modern patent wars in the Selden conflict: the cartel of companies who had the patent tried to use it aggressively to stifle competition, first attacking other producers, then trying to end-run them and threatening customers directly to keep them away from competing products. In response, upstart producers (like Ford) who didn't license the patent agreed to indemnify their customers against the cartel's possible suits. It ground forward, both in the courts and in the public eye, for years, and eventually concluded itself when Ford won a around in court and the Selden/ALAM side couldn't afford to continue the fight. The actual utility of the patent to the public was basically never considered.

    What is most interesting out of all this is that we really haven't changed anything. It's almost universally agreed that the Selden Patent was a debacle -- regardless of one's feelings of George Selden, his patent did nothing to encourage the development of automobiles, and it almost certainly resulted in a lot of wasted effort on the part of all concerned -- yet virtually no changes were made to the patent system in response. And now we have similar situations repeating themselves, over and over.

    But I suppose that shouldn't really come as any surprise. It's been almost 155 years since Dickens published "Bleak House," and, legal details excepted, you could probably set that story -- its bankruptcy-inducing proceedings, with their grinding slowness and vulturous lawyers -- just as easily in 2007 Delaware as you could in 1842 England.
    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:25PM (#19553193) Homepage
      I find it odd that with all the talk of patents on Slashdot that I had never heard of this case before. We all complain about the RIAA/MPAA and others, but they are just doing the same thing that has been done by everybody else for ages. It's kind of funny when you look at a "lift-the-flap" book for 1 year olds, and they have some legal jargon on it saying how you can't photocopy or duplicate the product in whole or in part in any way. Even though photocopying books for personal use is legal, and photocopying is a somewhat useless duplication method for a book which is "lift-the-flap".
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's been almost 155 years since Dickens published "Bleak House," and, legal details excepted, you could probably set that story -- its bankruptcy-inducing proceedings, with their grinding slowness and vulturous lawyers -- just as easily in 2007 Delaware as you could in 1842 England.

      England here. Just thought I'd point out that you could probably set that story just as easily in 2007 England as you could in 2007 Delaware. Except there'd be CCTV cameras outside the courts, inside the courts, on the stree

    • While the Victrola "EULA" described in TFA is a new one to me, damaging intellectual property disputes are definitely not something that's unique to our time.
      What's even worse, is the EULA on an actual victrola. Yes.. I do actually own an RCA victrola and the EULA on it says that you can only play RCA records on it. Now at least our current licenses aren't that bad ( Otherwise, you'd need a different CD player for each different record company ?).
      • by tepples (727027) <tepples@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Monday June 18, 2007 @02:27PM (#19554241) Homepage Journal

        Yes.. I do actually own an RCA victrola and the EULA on it says that you can only play RCA records on it. Now at least our current licenses aren't that bad ( Otherwise, you'd need a different CD player for each different record company ?)
        Which of Nintendo's, Sony's, or Microsoft's video game consoles doesn't have terms like these attached to it?
        • by SirGeek (120712)

          Which of Nintendo's, Sony's, or Microsoft's video game consoles doesn't have terms like these attached to it?
          I was referring to music, not to video games, which are an entirely different thing. (Show me anything other than a Nintendo that can play a Nintendo game CD/DVD ?)
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MindStalker (22827)
            No it really isn't different. Nintendo cartridges today are very similar legally to Records of old. Its a new technology, coupled with a special player. People just got used to open ended video and audio. So companies can't get away with it anymore.
        • by jimicus (737525)
          Which of Nintendo's, Sony's, or Microsoft's video game consoles doesn't have terms like these attached to it?

          All of them, I think.

          When was the last time someone was sued for playing XBox games on a Wii?
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by tepples (727027)

            When was the last time someone was sued for playing XBox games on a Wii?
            Not that exact pair of systems, but I do remember Nintendo suing Bung Enterprises [wikipedia.org] for allowing Game Boy Color games to be space-shifted to an IBM PC compatible and played there.
      • I do actually own an RCA victrola and the EULA on it says that you can only play RCA records on it. Now at least our current licenses aren't that bad...

        Yeah, it's not like some PC manufacturer is saying you can only run Windows on thier products in order to receive hardware warranty support... oh.. wait.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by westlake (615356)
        What's even worse, is the EULA on an actual victrola. Yes.. I do actually own an RCA victrola and the EULA on it says that you can only play RCA records on it.

        Uniform standards for phonograph records and players all evolved very late. Disk size. Speed. Composition. The shape of the needle. The Columbia disk - might - be playable on the Victrola. But that did not mean that what you heard would bear listening. The acoustic Victrola was impressive - and expensive - tech for it's day. The Victor-Victrola Page [victor-victrola.com]

  • Common (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scrotch (605605) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:17PM (#19553077)
    It was probably necessary to make a clear distinction at that early point that when you bought the record, you did not buy the copyright to the recorded sound.

    Licenses of some type are pretty common to make clear the fact that you did not buy all rights to something. Your apartment lease declares that just because you paid some money, you don't own the building and you can't tear down walls. With a relatively new technology, it was more important to specify what you had actually purchased. And since it was the seller making those declarations, it was naturally as limited as capitalism would allow.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Your apartment lease declares that just because you paid some money, you don't own the building and you can't tear down walls.
      Crap and a half! This explain why I keep getting evicted. Where was this post last month when I needed it? ;-)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Phroggy (441)
        You should never just blindly click the "I Agree" button on your lease! You should at least scroll through it first.
        • No way! Everybody knows you're supposed to get your cat to click on those.

          Getting the Friskies treats out from between the keys is a bitch, though.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by fbjon (692006)
          I can't even click, I have to press F8 to accept it. It's also printed in white on blue, which get's on my eyes. Moreover, it also needs a driver disk for the storage closet. The walls in the place can be placed arbitrarily though, but I need to move all the stuff out of a room before partitioning, and I can only use two kinds of floor material (one of which sucks), which is a PITA. Finally, after getting through the thing I can start living in my home, but then I start getting these notes in the mail that
    • by mpapet (761907)
      I believe some disambiguation/declarations of rights is okay.

      But there is NO moderating force in capitalism, much less in our current political climate.

      Monopolies are the "natural" mature state of markets because some asshat sees the opportunity in doing things like, owning the entire supply of some good or coordinating prices and supply with their nearest competitors, or legislating barriers to market.

      I could go on, but the point is you mistakenly follow the politically expedient rationale that capitalism/
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        "Monopolies are the "natural" mature state of markets because some asshat sees the opportunity in doing things like, owning the entire supply of some good or coordinating prices and supply with their nearest competitors, or legislating barriers to market."

        While I agree that markets want to naturally move toward monopolies, the Internet and technology have derailed the RIAA's attempts.

        Due to cheaper recording and production costs the RIAA doesn't have nearly the monopoly they did 20 years ago. There are many
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dada21 (163177)
        Monopolies are the "natural" mature state of markets because some asshat sees the opportunity in doing things like, owning the entire supply of some good or coordinating prices and supply with their nearest competitors, or legislating barriers to market.

        Ridiculous and proven wrong by many economists and by actual market proofs. First of all, if someone legislates a barrier to a market, then it isn't a free market to begin with, so you can't say that a monopoly comes from a free market, but from a State-reg
        • Not the entire story (Score:4, Informative)

          by Tony (765) on Monday June 18, 2007 @03:59PM (#19555833) Journal
          Even the so-called monopoly of Standard Oil wasn't a monopoly!

          Smaller oil companies sold out to Standard Oil because they either had to sell, or die. Standard Oil brooked no competition, and had the market power to destroy smaller companies, such as dropping the price of gasoline below cost, to bleed a weaker competitor of money, and then raising the price again once the competitor was destroyed. They would use methods other than competition, if need be.

          According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

          In one example of Standard's aggressive practices, a rival oil association decided to build an oil pipeline, hoping to overcome the virtual boycott imposed on Standard's competitors. In response, the railroad company (at Rockefeller's direction) denied the consortium permission to run the pipeline across railway land, forcing consortium staff to laboriously decant the oil into barrels, carry them over the railway crossing in carts, and then pump the oil manually back into the pipeline on the other side. When he learned of this tactic, Rockefeller then instructed the railway company to park empty rail cars across the line, thereby preventing the carts from crossing his property.


          Yes, a citation is needed; however, I learned this not from Wikipedia, but during one of my college economics class. Wikipedia was just an easy place to point.

          This kind of practice is exactly what maintains a monopoly, once established. Government intervention is a contributor in many cases (such as the current oil cartel), but there comes a point when a corporation has more control over an industry than the government can possibly wield.

          For instance, the software industry was unregulated by the government, but it didn't stop Microsoft from becoming a monopoly. Certainly, they didn't start off as a monopoly, but once they achieved market dominance, they pushed their weight about quite effectively. It's at the point where only two operating systems even stand a chance at holding on in the industry, one completely free software (Linux), and the other based on free software (OS X).

          Some potential competitors were merely incompetent (IBM, with OS/2; Netscape, with Netscape), but many were perfectly competent, like BeOS and Digital Research, but were cock-blocked by Microsoft, who had the market clout to control the distribution chain.

          This is what Rockefeller and Gates both understood: control the distribution chain, and you control the market. This is also the whole point of the ??AAs.

          What else are Microsoft's recent "patent" deals about, if not to control the Linux distribution chain? What else might the RIAA's lawsuit rampage be, except an attempt to clamp down on a distribution model it cannot control?

          Find the company who controls distribution, and you find the monopoly.
    • by westlake (615356)
      It was probably necessary to make a clear distinction at that early point that when you bought the record, you did not buy the copyright to the recorded sound.

      You weren't buying the right to public performance either. Columbia Records has been around since 1888. The coin-the-slot music machine, the carousel band organ, were everywhere in the 1890s.

    • by martyros (588782)

      Actually, the license wasn't for the copyrighted material -- it was for the patents. "We can't stop you from buying this for $0.50. If you buy it that way, you own it, and you can do what you like with it. But, you can't use any of our patents in the process. Oh, by the way, the only things that will play the music on this piece of vinyl use our patents."

      If this had been today, there would have been the ACCA (Analog Century Copyright Act) that would have made it illegal to "traffic goods" used to play

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:18PM (#19553081)
    The license restricts ripping to wax cylinders or whistling of said tune.
  • by thisissilly (676875) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:21PM (#19553129)
    It wasn't until in 1908 that Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus [wikipedia.org] established the first sale doctrine [wikipedia.org], which ruled that copyright does not give the holder the right to control re-sale of items once sold.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      It wasn't until in 1908 that Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus established the first sale doctrine, which ruled that copyright does not give the holder the right to control re-sale of items once sold.

      For how much longer I wonder? I think the *AAs are trying very hard to get that taken away from us -- I'm sure someone somewhere is preparing a brief to a judge which says that every time someone buys a second hand CD, they lose money and god kills a kitten.

      Cheers

  • by swschrad (312009) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:22PM (#19553139) Homepage Journal
    darn all these pesky different formats!
  • With the license prohibiting use of the record if it was sold for less than original purchase price, I wonder if, even a hundred years ago, RCA was trying to shut down the resellers of used music. Anyone else remember the industry's outcry against used CD stores?

    • by westlake (615356)
      I wonder if, even a hundred years ago, RCA was trying to shut down the resellers of used music.

      There were no resellers of used music. The first commercial acoustic recordings were good for about 100 plays. The cylinders were wax. The needles and tone arms steel.

  • Books too (Score:4, Informative)

    by underwhelm (53409) <underwhelmNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:23PM (#19553159) Homepage Journal
    That happened on the inside cover of books too, before the days of 17 U.S.C. 109 [cornell.edu] (AKA First Sale).
    • Re:Books too (Score:4, Interesting)

      by linefeed0 (550967) on Monday June 18, 2007 @02:39PM (#19554465)
      Still true in other countries, one of a handful of places the US copyright law is actually better than its counterparts elsewhere. If you buy a book in England, it may have this piece of shit on the copyright page:

      Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

      The "except in the US" is added because first sale in the US prohibits such a condition from being enforced in any way. It is routine here for university libraries to buy trade paperbacks, especially for replacement books, and have them rebound, sometimes even scanning the cover and reprinting it onto a new hardback cover. More power to them, I say. Where this is not legal it results in a premium on books for libraries (since libraries generally will not lend out paperbacks; they do fall apart).

  • EULA (Score:3, Informative)

    by secPM_MS (1081961) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:23PM (#19553177)
    The reason that Hollywood was set up in southern California is that Edison was unable to pursue his royalty and usage claims against movies there. Of course, with eventual financial success came the inevitable incentive to get together to sock it to the customer.
    • Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by iknownuttin (1099999)
      The reason that Hollywood was set up in southern California is that Edison was unable to pursue his royalty and usage claims against movies there.

      That's a new one. The history I've always heard basically says that the movie industry started there because of the sunshine. Don't forget, back then, hey didn't have these lights they have now. Of course, here's Wiki for more:

      After hearing about this wonderful place, in 1913 many movie-makers headed west. [wikipedia.org]

      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        I heard it was because Jews weren't welcome in the New Jersey film industry.
      • by IvyKing (732111)
        This was brought up in Walton Bean's "History of California" class at UC Berkeley and I've seen other references to this as well.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by westlake (615356)
        That's a new one. The history I've always heard basically says that the movie industry started there because of the sunshine.

        It was also because of the land:

        Three decades earlier Hollywood had been chosen by the emergent film industry for more than just a balmy climate and abundant sunshine. Within a day's drive from Los Angeles was an astonishing variety of topography. Hitchcock found on a production-office wall a map of California that marked where within the state could be found the Blue Nile, the Swi

    • The reason that Hollywood was set up in southern California is that Edison was unable to pursue his royalty and usage claims against movies there.

      That would be bullshit - as royalty claims come under Federal law, which is the same regardless of the state the activity takes place in.
    • The reason that Hollywood was set up in southern California is that Edison was unable to pursue his royalty and usage claims against movies there.

      I think this tale is apocryphal -- even a century ago, it would have been possible for attorneys on both coasts to plan legal action against the studios by telegraph had Edison been serious about pursuing it.

      A more plausible reason for setting up the movie industry in sunny Southern California was the sunshine itself. The weather around Los Angeles was certainly
  • ...will be treated as infringers of said patents...

    Is it possible to infringe on an expired patent?
    • by Venner (59051)
      You can't infringe an expired patent. However, under US contract law (which covers licenses in general), you can agree to just about anything. The government and courts have swayed back and forth over the years about where the line is drawn as to what you can't agree to, for public safety, health, welfare, etc. Obviously, the RIAA, et al, say that buying and/or using the recording in this case means that you implicitly agree to their license.

      There have been a number of patent cases that have apparently cont
  • I call fake! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CrazyTalk (662055) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:32PM (#19553317)
    That so-called license agreement on the back looks too similar to modern day EULA. Granted, modern copyright agreements have had their roots in older laws, but what the article presents seems like too much of a joke.
  • couple of error (Score:2, Informative)

    by SYSS Mouse (694626)
    TFA says:

    The label doesn't provide any information on what I'm supposed to do with an unlicensed copy of Ave Maria. I could contact the Victor Record Company, but they sold assets to RCA, which was acquired by General Electric, which was sold to BMG, which merged with Sony. So do I contact Sony and inform them I have an unlicensed copy of Ave Maria? I'm sure they'd tell me to delete the mp3 off of my hard drive.

    However, admitting I have an unlicensed copy of a record will certainly put me at risk of a la

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      This is wrong. In fact, you can copy all you want since the copyright for the song has expired. The song is now in public domain and RIAA can;t sue a person for copying a song which is in public domain.

      Yeah, that is until they get their new laws which say if they release a copyrighted instance of work in the public domain, that particular recording is now copyrighted all over again.

      That, and the whole extension of copyright to be almost perptetual, there's increasingly no chance of works lapsing into the pu

    • What??? We'll contact our Congress Critter and have the copyright extended retroactively. RIAA.
    • by jZnat (793348) *
      More importantly, they can't sue over a recording that is in the public domain. Someone can still record a new performance of the same song and it would be copyrighted again with no expiration date just like everything else published today.
  • by sizzzzlerz (714878) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:37PM (#19553403)
    Family history records him purchasing a batch of records from VinylTorrent for a nickel each and subsequently being sued under the aforementioned EULA. He had to pay two horses, a mule, and several chickens if I'm not mistaken.

    Some angry fists were shaken that day, I'll bet.

  • I hope you paid at least $23.36 for that record, else you're in violation!
    (That's actually not too bad for 107 years or so...)
    • by hasbeard (982620)
      Actually, judging from the July 1906 date on the record, any copyright has long since expired. I think he's ok on this one.
  • by hey! (33014) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:39PM (#19553455) Homepage Journal
    on the inside covers of books from that period (ca. 1905).

    The claims made by the license are that (1) The content of the book is being licensed to the original purchaser and (2) the terms of the license do not allow the purchaser to resell the book.

    This sort of thing went out with the recognition of the First Sale Doctrine in 1908. Software appears to be an exception to the First Sale doctrine -- at least depending on which US circuit court district you're in.
  • "it's interesting to note that similar tactics have been in use by record companies for over a century."

    A revelation no doubt common in people who think the media are biased cesspools of sensationalist crap designed entirely to manipulate the population out of quasi-fascist capitalist greed...until they pick up an 1890's edition of the San Francisco Examiner and realize contrary to their previous perception, things have actually markedly improved.
  • by Sir Holo (531007) * on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:42PM (#19553493)

    IANAL, but that reads like a license to the patents, not to copyright of the recording. Those patents would have long since expired.

    There was no copyright protection of audio recordings until 1909.

    But since you mention the RIAA, there was an organization of a very similar kind of company called the "Motion Picture Patents Company" in the early 20th century that held all rights to movie recording and projection. They sought to keep audience expectations low, marketing uniformly low-quality and cheap movies. They sued anyone who got near. The MPPC's strategy ended up starving itself to death in 1918, as independent movie makers figured ways to make creative and entertaining movies, while getting around the patents. (Vaidhyanathan, Copyrights and Copywrongs)
  • Oh really? (Score:2, Funny)

    by jzuska (65827)
    So did you rip them?
    Torrent link plz?
  • Old magazines (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FuzzyDaddy (584528) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:55PM (#19553713) Journal
    My father has a collection of old magazines dating back a hundred years or so. (I haven't looked at them since I was a kid, so I can't tell you which ones.) I distinctly remember a coupon for toothpaste for some brand that was still in existence. The coupon had no expiration date or any of the legal jargon printed on the back of one now. As a kid, I wondered if it was still valid.

    (As an adult, I can say with some confidence that the company would honor the coupon, if only for the PR value of having someone redeem 75 year old coupon!)

  • Turn of the century? (Score:4, Informative)

    by LinuxInDallas (73952) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:55PM (#19553719)
    Well that was only 7 years ago. What were you expecting?
  • 1909 Copyright Act (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kirijini (214824) <kirijini@noSPAm.yahoo.com> on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:56PM (#19553735)
    I wrote my senior thesis in College on a related topic - in part, the development of the 1909 copyright law, which had a big impact on records, phonographs, etc. Prior to 1909, records, piano rolls, and so on actually had no copyright at all. Piano roll and talking machine companies (which is what record companies were known as back then) actually fought to keep records and rolls uncopyright-able as a way of preventing them from having to pay royalties to composers. The idea that composers - the writers of music - would get royalties from records or piano rolls (in addition to sheet music, which is what they traditionally got royalties for) was established in law in 1909 too.

    This is interesting in the modern copyright debate, because it was the start of the notion that the producers of derivative works (for example, a recording of a composition) owe royalties to the producer of the original work (sheet music). Furthermore, the 1909 law determined that records and so on would be treated nearly exactly like books (minus the statutory license), in terms of duration, etc. There was an opportunity to set up a totally different copyright system for audio works (which are fundamentally different from the written word), but rather than innovate, Congress established the system that is so abused today.

    The 1909 (and 1891, which had to do with recognizing international copyright) copyright laws had very interesting impacts on the development of copyright. Did you know that in 1906, the Aeolian Company (the major producers of player pianos and rolls) was working to set up what was essentially a statutory monopoly based on the exclusive property of traditional copyrights? To put it simply (and oversimplify), they attempted to create a situation very similiar to what the RIAA has been enjoying in American for a while now - exclusive control over most/all popular (money-making) music. It's because of their attempted monopoly that statutory licensing was developed in America.

    So in relation to the main topic - if those old records were made before 1909, they actually had no copyright at all - you'll see no copyright notice on it anywhere. However, these kinds of things were thought to be covered in some degree by patents, and the 1909 law also established where patent-rights ended and copyrights began in regards to records.

    disclaimer - I studied the political, not legal, aspects of copyright development.
  • by Distan (122159) on Monday June 18, 2007 @01:59PM (#19553779)
    The EULA only allows "producing sound directly from the record". I don't think that would allow playing it on a record player, as the player is a device that indirectly produces sound.

    You could probably wave the record in the air and listen to the wind whistling through the hole.

    • Doesn't matter what you do, it is always indirect. That is the nature of sound.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      The old phonographs used to play these would have made the sound directly using a needle that scraped over the grooves and made a sound. This was then picked up and directed by a large horn.

      It wasn't until some decades later that modern record players (which ran at about half the rotational speed, and used vinyl for the records) were introduced, requiring some additional form of amplification. You can listen to a modern record directly if you put your ear close to the stylus, but it's very quiet. The

    • If you were to put your ear close the the needle while the record was playing, you would hear -- very faintly -- the sound of the recording. The record player performs two functions: spins the platter at a steady speed, and amplifies the sound emanating from the spinning plastic. In fact, the original record players amplified the sound using a specially designed megaphone (a great big cone-shaped piece of paper or cardboard), and not an electrical amplifier at all. These first record players spun the platte
  • special pricing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 192939495969798999 (58312) <(moc.eroomnived) (ta) (ofni)> on Monday June 18, 2007 @02:00PM (#19553805) Homepage Journal
    this is why some stores say "prices too low to print/etc!" in their ads. There is some deal where if you put "acme label" then you have to charge their minimum price. Just like there are clever ways around this, I'm sure that acme label really enjoys the sales no matter how they are generated. Why can't the RIAA just enjoy sales as well? Oh yeah, because no one buys an entire record to listen to one track? How is that piracy's fault?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by shark72 (702619)

      "This is why some stores say "prices too low to print/etc!" in their ads. There is some deal where if you put "acme label" then you have to charge their minimum price. Just like there are clever ways around this, I'm sure that acme label really enjoys the sales no matter how they are generated."

      Yup; it's called a MAP program. When Apple and other companies we love do it, it's fine. When Universal does it with Tower Records, it's price fixing. Universal got nailed for this after Best Buy and Wal-Mart com

  • One dollar a century ago, mut have been some serious coin.
  • but more like price fixing. There's been a lot of that [google.com] in the industry recently, and even more outside [google.com] the technology field.

    What calls my particular attention is this little piece of info: "Attorney General Investigates Music price fixing." [slashdot.org] Hmmmm...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18, 2007 @02:26PM (#19554223)
    I collect 78s, so I know of this 'EULA'
    When records became double-sided, this was moved to the sleeve, and it was shortened in later years.
    What remained on labels for a long time was 'Not licensed for radio braodcast'

    What probably happened is the reason this format didn't stay on is because of the wide distribution of records. In 1906, discs were JUST starting to become popular. The record industry probably decided they didn't need it anymore. These records were ruined after a handful of plays on the players back then, anyway. Plus, 78s are very breakable, like a dinner plate. It wasn't oncommon for records to be bought multiple times by the same person due to breakage, wear, etc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Doctor Memory (6336)

      78s are very breakable, like a dinner plate.
      They were actually made from shellac and lampblack. I've seen a couple of furniture refinishing shows on TV where they took old broken 78s and stuck them in a jar with some denatured alcohol and used the results to produce a "classic finish" on some old furniture.
  • sale to PUBLIC (Score:4, Informative)

    by belmolis (702863) <billposer@alum. m i t .edu> on Monday June 18, 2007 @02:35PM (#19554397) Homepage

    The EULA actually says that there is no license if the record is sold to the public for less than $1. I think that means that the restriction applies only to the first retail sale. Subsequent purchases are not restricted - buying the record used for 50 cents is perfectly alright.

  • I expect that this recording is out of copyright now, no thanks to Sonny Bono, who left an ugly legacy with his copyright extension act.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by zenyu (248067)
      Sonny Bono may have been a bad person, but you can't blame him for the Sonny Bono act. This rape of the American public was done in his name after his death, ostensibly to protect his great-great-great-great-great granddaughter from possibly having to contribute to society if all her ancestors after the late great Sonny Bono had been deadbeats.
  • by rlp (11898) on Monday June 18, 2007 @03:05PM (#19554963)
    The second cave painting was quickly followed by the invention of the "cease and desist" club.
  • by operagost (62405) on Monday June 18, 2007 @03:48PM (#19555663) Homepage Journal
    Interestingly, much of what is written on that label is invalid because it is citing patents covering the gramophone and not copyrights covering the recording. That's okay, because the article writer doesn't understand patents or copyrights either:

    According to this sticker on the back of the record, "No license is granted to use this record when sold at a less price." So I purchased this record, but I do not have a license to play it. "All rights revert to the undersigned in the event of any violation."

    The label doesn't provide any information on what I'm supposed to do with an unlicensed copy of Ave Maria. I could contact the Victor Record Company, but they sold assets to RCA, which was acquired by General Electric, which was sold to BMG, which merged with Sony. So do I contact Sony and inform them I have an unlicensed copy of Ave Maria?
    This is absurd. Both the copyrights and the patents expired a long time ago. Patent terms are 17 years now, and may have been even shorter then. Copyrights were something like 25 years at the time, although megacorps have been perpetually lobbying Congress to extend copyright with the result that anything created after 1923 is still under copyright protection.

"You know, we've won awards for this crap." -- David Letterman

Working...