Folk Heritage Collections in Crisis
Intellectual Property and Audiovisual Archives and Collections
University of California at Los Angeles
We are in the midst of an intellectual property gold rush. Thousands of
fortune-seekers are trying to stake their claims to promising territory,
existing claims-holders are seeking increasingly aggressive means of defending
their claims, and the original owners are often being ignored. Scholars
and enthusiasts whose work uses intellectual property, and archives and
libraries that store it, are largely bystanders in this goldrush; but they
are profoundly affected by it.
Most archives, in particular, find themselves in the position of a horse
being kicked forward and reined in at the same time. When you kick a horse
and pull back on its reins, the horse gets confused and may rear, buck,
rear, kick, and forget all its previous training. Faced with the tremendous
challenges of preserving disintegrating collections, prodded by increasingly
entrepreneurial administrations to be more self-supporting, kicked by patrons
for not having more online, and reined in by concerns about copyright and
ethical uses of their materials, archivists rarely kick, but we do roll
our eyes in frustration, consider other jobs, and may forget what we have
learned through decades of work with our collections, with depositors,
with patrons, and with communities.
This is a paper about intellectual property and audiovisual archives and collections. It will not resolve your preservation and access problems, but
I hope it will clarify them. It will not advocate any particular technological
direction, because technology is changing quickly enough to make such recommendations
dated between my writing them and the December conference. It will advocate
that archives take proactive stances regarding intellectual property--but
especially in the area of training, reviewing their own contracts and other
archive forms, and carefully evaluating proposals for use of materials
they hold in trust for communities, scholars, and collectors. It will advocate
that archives help researchers obtain the rights they need when they do
their research and to transfer those rights required by the archives at
the time of deposit in a way that permits maximum access. It will also
recommend that archives help artists and communities learn what their rights
are and how to protect them. It will advocate that researchers and other
collectors review their collections now, and take steps to resolve ambiguous
rights questions. It will advocate that our academic programs focus on
intellectual property as part of the study of music, folklore, anthropology,
and other fields. It will also argue that archives should look at the new
technologies and the new pressures placed upon archives in the light of
their accumulated knowledge, their collections, and their expanding potential
to have an impact on the lives of their users.
There is no question that the changes in the U.S. copyright laws, pressures
to adopt emerging international copyright agreements, and pressure to extend
the protection of copyright to more and more material for longer and longer
periods of time have already had a significant impact on archival operations.
The Internet's potential to disseminate information rapidly and widely
raises intellectual property issues with an urgency they have not had before.
The situation is further complicated by the age of the collections in most
audiovisual archives (older rather than newer, with greater significance
given to old material than to new), and by the (only slowly) changing practices
of field researchers and those who collect materials and deposit them in
The issues surrounding intellectual property and audio-visual archives
cannot be divorced from the specific features and objects of archives and
collections. And these issues are too important to be left to lawyers alone,
because they are not only legal (what people can do) but also ethical (what
people should do). The interests of the large companies involved in the
intellectual property gold rush are also rarely the concern of the patrons
of and contributors to archives, and their opinions must be championed.
Two Kinds of Collection; Two Kinds of Challenges
Before going into my subject in any more depth, I want to make a distinction
between two different types of collections, because the issues raised by
each type are quite different. To a certain degree, this distinction also
classifies types of archives, and it also clearly distinguishes some archives
Commercial Recordings and Other Publications
Some collections consist largely of commercially released recordings and
associated print and photographic materials. Such collections may be created
from the compulsory deposit of published materials (e.g., at the Library
of Congress), by the accumulation of commercial recordings for broadcast
(e.g., at commercial radio stations), or by collectors who devote themselves
to systematically amassing recordings of a given genre or period. Collections
of 78 rpm jazz recordings. These collections have an important feature
in common--the print and recent audio publications are governed by laws
of copyright. The laws are reasonably clear, albeit inadequate for the
digital age and our patrons, whether we like them or not. Collections of
this sort can be treated in a manner similar to the way in which large
libraries handle print materials.
There are some problems, though, even with commercial recordings. Prior
to 1972, no national copyright law governed actual sounds on commercial
recordings. The cover art, the liner notes, and the song sequence were
all covered by copyright, but not the sounds themselves. Local anti-piracy
laws covered the actual sounds. Also, different countries have different
laws regarding the use of older recordings--thus it is possible to reissue
older sound recordings in Australia or Germany that cannot be reissued
in the United States.
Most archives, like most libraries, follow copyright laws carefully, because
they are part of larger institutions with little reason to embark on long
battles with the well-funded legal departments of large corporations. This
can be frustrating for patrons, who find that such policies limit their
access to and use of materials. Among the frustrations of patrons are (1)
the relatively small amount of a given piece that is considered to be an
idea covered by copyright; (2) the difficulty of identifying the copyright
holder on material published by a company that has ceased to exist under
its original name; and (3) the lack of response from many copyright owners,
who often do not even answer requests for permission to use materials they
control unless a lot of money is involved. Countless researchers have told
me about their inability to get an answer from the major record labels
when they ask to use the materials in limited educational editions, or
for transcriptions of lyrics in books and journals. The arena for "fair
use" is being constricted by the holders of the copyrights whenever possible.
A solution similar to that of the Copyright Clearance Center, which has
greatly facilitated the creation of course readers by handling clearances
for many academic publications, would be a good model for easing these
frustrations. However, no centralized effort has yet been undertaken to
permit quick and easy use of copyrighted audiovisual materials.
Individual collectors of published recordings often respond more flexibly
to requests for use of these materials than archives. Under a liberal interpretation
of fair use collectors can copy their recordings, which they then send
to researchers who need the copy to analyze--something most archives will
not do. Collectors often cite this liberty as a reason not to place their
collections into an archive. There is a potential drawback, however: an
individual is not an institution, and the best collections should eventually
end up in institutions that will care for them over long periods of time.
Unpublished Collections of Recordings, Manuscripts, Field Notes, and
Quite distinct from collections of published materials are collections
of unpublished and unique materials. Such collections include the scholar's
field recordings of interviews, performances, and events; the enthusiast's
collections of concert tapes; and the scientist's recordings of experiments.
The Archive of Folk Culture has acquired many such collections, as have
the Indiana Archives of Traditional Music, and, to a lesser extent, archives
at UCLA, the University of Washington, the University of Illinois, Harvard
University, and elsewhere. Local community scholars, museums, individuals,
and institutes of various kinds may also hold such collections.
Since the recordings have never been published, the type of use permitted
for them is often unclear. Just because the collector or archivist has
them doesn't mean they can use them however they wish. The following paragraphs
describe some of the rights that need to be transmitted from the "artist" (the
individual/group recorded for whatever purpose) and "collector" (the person
responsible for making the recording and depositing it in an archive) to
Artist: To transfer rights, the artist must possess the rights
to the performance. This may not always be the case. A performer might
record material belonging to another group, and thus not have the rights
to transfer to the collector. The artist recorded must be able to transfer
to the collector the rights he or she requires for his or her project
Collector: The collector needs to have the artist agree to not
only make the recording but also to agree transfer to the collector the
rights needed for his or her purposes. This usually means "for personal
research use," but should also include "to deposit into an archives for
preservation and future consultation." It would be wise to include "and
for publication in print, or other media" as well. If the conditions are
not agreed to, either in print or on the recording itself, it is often
difficult to get them later. The collector should also find out if the
person being recorded is able, within the local knowledge system, to give
the rights granted with the recording. The collector should also note reservations--such
as "people can listen to this song, but it can't be used for profit, because
our church doesn't allow that" or "you can't publish this without coming
back to me for permission." These restrictions should be noted when the
recording is made, and noted when it is transferred to any institution
The archives usually receives materials from collectors rather than artists.
An archives needs to ensure that it can make copies for preservation and
that it can provide access to the collection, preferably in the broadest
sense, using technologies both existing and as yet to be invented. If possible,
archives would like to be able to permit the commercial use of the recordings,
in collaboration with the collector and artist. Without the explicit transfer
of these rights, including a statement that the depositor is authorized
to grant these rights, the archive will find itself frustrated in its efforts
to make its collections accessible. Archives need well-designed, easy-to-understand
contracts that give them the rights they need, and to give the collector
space to provide the information on restrictions and reservations that
may have been expressed during the recording.
There are real ethical issues here. If the artist puts restrictions on
something, the collector/depositor and the archives should take every step
possible to respect those wishes. This may be seen as an impediment to
dissemination, but it should be a fundamental tenet of archival policy.
Contracts should be drawn up with the interests of all parties in mind.
When I was Director of the Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music,
I was frustrated by the number of collections that had been deposited with
the highest degree of restriction on the whole collection. This was often
because the researchers who made them wanted to publish their results before
others could use their collections. They would restrict the collection,
and then forget to change it after they had published their results. As
part of a broad effort to improve access, I contacted every depositor we
could find to renegotiate their contracts. The objective was to permit
increased access to at least part of every collection, while allowing
continued restrictions on material that for one reason or another should
continue to be restricted. I also created a new contract that required
the highest level of restriction to be reevaluated every ten years. I did
not anticipate the Internet, and after my years at Folkways would probably
rewrite the contract again, but I was able to improve access to the collections
by retroactive contract negotiating.
The Enduring Cultural Bias of Copyright Legislation
and its Implications for Archival Recordings
The following discussion of copyright is meant to show how the existing
laws came from a culturally defined idea of creativity that is not shared
by most folklorists, anthropologists, and other scholars. The thinking
behind the laws comes from an earlier time, filtered through evolutionist
thinking and romantic ideology, and is now expressed in international legislation.
Scholars and archivists alike need to recognize that they cannot simply
abide by current legislation, but need to work to bring the legislation
into the twenty-first century, within a post-colonial global economic system,
in more than merely technological ways.
Any discussion of copyright law must be placed in the context of the societies
in which the currently observed laws were developed. They should be seen
as the production of a specific group people in specific societies at a
particular moment in their histories. Ideas about intellectual property
were further developed and codified in Europe and the United States, and
have become the framework for international intellectual property law.
Today's copyright laws reveal their origins in the Enlightenment, when
philosophers looked to the individual as the fundamental element of society,
rather than the group. They were further developed in England and France
during a period of tremendous social and political change. The laws took
much of their current form in a period of increasing urbanization, literacy,
and evolutionist thinking. The laws favored new creations by literate creators,
printed on paper, and sold commercially to a literate public. The initial
purpose of copyright was to allow the printers' guilds time to recover
their investment before others could make copies of the materials. The
early copyrights established the trend for copyright in the ensuing centuries:
publishing companies held the protected copyright, which usually applied
to print publications. After a fixed period, copyright material would enter
the "public domain" and becomes available to anyone for making copies or
using in other forms. This is an important part of copyright and patent
law: the restrictions are temporary, to enable the creator to benefit from
the creation, and after a fixed time the restrictions expire.
Any folklorist or anthropologist will immediately notice that quite a
lot of human knowledge and wisdom was not included in formulations of the
copyright law, among them the creations of the illiterate and non-literate,
ideas created and controlled by a group rather than individuals, and the
protection of knowledge not intended for commercial use. Not only were
these left unprotected, they were specifically made available for creative
artists to use without restriction to produce new materials that could
be copyrighted. Let me give some specific examples:
- The laws either failed to consider or specifically excluded all of
what is broadly called "folklore" and "traditional knowledge." The laws
controlled the right to make copies of written material, not the right
to re-tell stories heard around the campfire or in the local pub, or
the right to learn a song from a songwriter in a local, oral tradition.
This kind of knowledge, often labeled "collective" knowledge or considered "traditional," was
placed in the "Public Domain" where creators of new works could freely
- Laws carefully protected the rights of individual, literate composers
in the name of that composer (or his or her publishing company). But
laws did not recognize the possibility that a lineage, clan, village,
church, or some other social group (other than corporations, which were
recognized) might possess knowledge that should be protected in the name
of the group.
- A composer could make some changes in an unpublished "traditional song" and
copyright it in his or her name--without any consideration of the original
performers of the song.
In sum, intellectual property legislation encouraged, and continues to
encourage, the creation of new things and creates a disincentive to value
traditional performances--because the creations of traditional artists are
not "valued." This value is often quite concrete: a popular music songwriter
can make money from his or her song; a traditional artist who performs
an equally moving song cannot receive any songwriter's royalties.
Over the centuries, music publishing companies have extended the life
of their copyright protection (originally only a few years, now seventy),
and to reduce the amount of material in the "public domain" and restrict "fair
use" of intellectual property in order to control it. The most recent revision
of the U.S. copyright laws included an extension for company control, and
few concessions to the rights of artists, communities, the non-literate,
or the traditional.
There is a colonial aspect to the copyright laws. A creator takes unprotected,
public domain materials and creates something "new" from them that can
be protected. Anyone who wishes to use the adapted original materials must
pay the "improver" for them, not the original creator or his or her heirs.
The issues have become particularly acute in the area of pharmaceuticals.
Here, the knowledge of traditional curers is considered "public domain." But
once that knowledge has been taken and turned into a product, the traditional
knowledge bearer receives nothing, and the pharmaceutical company may make
millions over the "discovery" which was in fact something learned from
a member of another community. Similar things have happened in music, when
a popular performer takes "folklore" materials from books and recordings
and creates a popular arrangement.
Are There Other Formulations of Intellectual Property?
Many societies have extremely elaborate concepts of ownership and control
of knowledge, many of which bear little resemblance to the European/North
American ideas of copyright. Among the more elaborate are those found in
the Melanesia. For example, on Vanuatu, payments must be made to original
producers or their community for such things as the use of a particular
design in wood carving, or the wearing of a certain flower. The archive
of the Vanuatu cultural center has a "Tabu Room" where restricted recordings
are placed to demonstrate their secret and restricted nature (Amman 2000).
Australian Aboriginal communities often restrict knowledge of certain materials
to a certain group of people (a clan, a phratry, a gender). To the rest
of them the information was secret. Such restrictions are also common in
American Indian communities. Such examples are further evidence of the
cultural biases behind European-influenced copyright law.
Throughout the world today, traditional musicians, the subjects of interviews,
and the objects of photographs and films increasingly feel that they are
being deprived of income through an unjust copyright system. They see how
those whose rights are protected can become very wealthy, while those whose
rights are not protected appear to remain poor. They find it increasingly
difficult to find successors who will carry on their arts, partly because
no one can make a living at it. And one reason they cannot make a living
is that their art is not recognized by, protected by, and paid for through
copyright law and the equitable distribution of royalty payments.
Some countries, especially former colonies of Europe, are making an effort
at the national level to protect local traditional performances. This has
usually involved the creation of a "paid public domain" arrangement in
which no music may be used for free: if there is no named composer, then
the payments must be made to the nation. So far, however, these funds have
not been distributed to traditional communities or artists in any systematic
way. These countries are also leading an international movement to fundamentally
change the existing copyright laws to include what is now deemed to be
traditional, unprotected, knowledge. Both UNESCO and the World Intellectual
Property Organization (WIPO) have been investigating and preparing recommendations
for the protection of what is variously called "folklore," "intangible
cultural heritage," and a number of other terms. Their work is far from
complete and may result in other difficulties outlined by Michael Brown
(Brown 1988), among them a "reification of authenticity," conflicting regarding "hybrid" forms,
What does the history and current status of copyright law have to do
Quite a lot. Imagine that the maker of an X-rated film wants to use a recording
of a traditional religious song in a sex scene in a bordello. The best
performance of this song is found in your archive or collection. The producer
offers you $20,000 for the use of the recording in the film and the accompanying
sound track (an enhanced CD with explicit photographs to browse while listening
to the music). What should you do? Should you make a digital copy and use
the $20,000 to fund badly needed preservation? Should you refuse to do
so and confirm patrons' views of archives as places where material is placed
never to be available to anyone again? What would you do if the film were
a documentary history of bordellos, no money was offered, but the music
was desired to portray life in a bordello next to a church on Sunday morning?
Would that be any different? You certainly shouldn't start by contemplating
national copyright codes.
The place to start, of course, is with the original recording and deposit
agreements you should have in your files. What did the collector and church
community agree to at the time of recording? What did the collector require
the archives to do when the recordings were deposited? Many of the holdings
in research-based archives are on the one hand unprotected "Public Domain" materials,
and on the other hand to some degree governed by local ideas of ownership
and propriety. The archives' rights to use the materials are often further
affected by restrictions placed on the use of the materials by the collector
or donor of the materials. This places the archive in
a position of arbiter between the traditional ideas of ownership, the restrictions
of the donor, and the current copyright law.
For these reasons, archives have to be especially careful to consider
the rights of the original performers, as well as the rights conferred
by law, before entering into any agreement. It might be perfectly legal
for a film company to play a traditional religious song in a scene filmed
in a bordello, but would it be ethical to use the one you have? Would it
respect the original intent of the recording and the reason for its deposit
in an archive?
It is precisely the ambiguity of the archives' holdings that should place
them at the forefront of the debate about the ethics as well as the legal
implications of the copyright code. I am particularly happy to find the
Library of Congress the locus of this discussion of copyright laws. The
issue is too important to be left to lawyers, and the ethical issues are
highlighted every day for archivists as they deal with requests for a huge
variety of uses for their materials.
Who Is Our Audience? Why are our Collections Important?
What archivists know, and few others seem to realize, is that archives
can be places of discovery, excitement, and joy. The public image of archives
is all too often of a dark place where one sends things one doesnt need
anymore. But when I was directing the Indiana University Archives of Traditional
Music, I was impressed by the number of musicians that came to listen and
learn from the collections; by the request from the Fox Indians for copies
of some cylinders so they could perform forgotten songs; by African archives' requests
for copies from our collections to enable African countries to possess
the documents of their own musical heritage. Recalling Karl Marx's statement
that "just when [people] seem engaged in revolutionizing themselves and
things, in creating something entirely new, precisely in such epochs of
revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past
to their service" (Marx 1972 : 437), I felt that we were supplying
communities around the world with the tools of their self-determination.
Through documents of their own history, they might be able to make major
transformations or establish meaningful continuities.
As a scholar, I have been humbled by the significance of some of the by-products
of the research of anthropologists and folklorists. One hundred years after
their publication, few articles in the Journal of American Folklore or
the American Anthropologist are of more than minor interest. The
recordings made by some of those authors, however, often continue to be
very exciting to scholars, musicians, and members of the communities in
which they were recorded. Over time, it may be the collections we have
made, rather than what we have done with them, for which we are most gratefully
remembered. This requires many of us to rethink our priorities and to pay
attention to the fate of our recordings, photographs, and unpublished materials.
In reacting to the various pressures on our institutions and personal
collections, it is essential for archives and collectors to remember the
future audiences for them and the potential impact of the materials we
have. It is well to recall the trust in which we are holding them. Our
ethical treatment of the artists and the communities from which they have
come must be of primary importance in our positions on intellectual property,
in our decisions about preservation, and in our strategies for institutional
Archives, Multimedia, and the Internet
Clearly, the emerging and rapidly evolving technologies of multimedia
and the Internet offer archives the chance to maintain the unity of their
collections and yet make them available on a scale previously unimagined.
It allows us to facilitate access not only to information about our holdings
(through online catalogs) but also to many of the materials themselves.
The technology, however, is far ahead of the archives' ability to use it.
Our collections are rarely ready for the kind of wide access that is potentially
available. One of the ways in which they are not ready is that we usually
do not have the right to distribute them that way.
We can look to technical solutions, but many technical solutions--like
audio streaming to avoid copying--are surpassed by technologies that defeat
them more quickly than we can adopt them. It is also possible that a technologically
superior system will not become the standard one, because the consumer
market continues to influence the media received by most archives and the
recordings made by most collectors. In spite of this, archives need to
continue to experiment with new ways of reaching the people who will use
and benefit from their collections. I recommend non-exclusive contracts,
however, and experiments with the parts of the collection for which rights
are quite clear.
As we experiment with different systems for digital distribution, we can
be reviewing our contracts, acquiring collections with more clearly established
dissemination rights, and working to bring the needs of our peculiar institutions
to the attention of lawyers and lawmakers, to scholars and the people they
record, and to communities and their members. The next section makes a
number of specific suggestions; readers are welcome to contact me with
Steps to be Taken by Archives, Collectors, and Institutions
To Facilitate Our Use of New Media
Archives alone will not resolve the general issues of intellectual property,
nor will they even resolve their immediate problems with acquisitions and
dissemination. Access to research-related collections will have to be ensured
through a broad collective action and changes in the public's attitudes
toward information. It is difficult to predict how this will play out in
the coming years. One thing is highly probable, however: there will be
an enduring need to clearly establish what rights are being transferred
to collectors and archives. Given this probability, and the problems faced
by archives and collectors today, here are a few suggestions for archives,
collectors, and professional organizations.
- Archives should bring the issues of access, preservation, and dissemination
to the attention of colleagues in the disciplines they serve. They should
argue for ethical as well as legal and practical approaches to the materials
in their possession.
a. The archiving committees of the Society for Ethnomusicology
and the American Folklore Society are good forums for discussing
these issues, as are specialized professional organizations such
as International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives
b. Archives and collectors should be involved in local discussions
regarding intellectual property and should contribute their own
expertise to such discussions.
c. Archives should provide rights information and rights transfer
forms to researchers before they start their work, and should pay
careful attention to ethical issues when materials are deposited.
d. Archives should also mobilize to help artists and members of
communities that are being recorded understand how to protect their
rights. At the same time, archives should educate members of communities
about the uses of archives and show how properly written agreements
can both protect the community members and permit the archives
to do its work.
- Archives should be very cautious in signing agreements for the
use of their materials. Most such agreements require the archives
or collector to affirm that it controls the desired rights, and
most archives do not have a paper trail to prove that should the
issue become contested.
a. Archives might want to consider reviewing their collections
and creating new contracts for collections they would like
to make widely available through digital archival distribution.
b. Archives might consider collaborating in creating standard
licensing agreements for archival material, with the assistance
of legal counsel, that protect their interests, as well as
those whose materials they hold.
c. Archives might want to review their acquisitions policies.
If they have a regular supplier of materials (such as recordings
of university concerts, for example) they might want to ensure
that all the appropriate rights have been transferred to
the archives for the desired use.
- Archives should take advantage of those technological developments
that support their goals, within the limits of sound policy and
- Technological solutions to intellectual property
issues have had a short life, however, and will probably
not resolve access concerns by themselves.
a. Collection samples, in the form of 30-second
audiovisual segments and low-resolution photographs,
appears to be commonly accepted, although this
- Archives will certainly face
some censure by insisting on
following both ethical and
a. Archives should take
the lead in deflecting
criticism by using brochures
and Web sites to explain
the reasons for their
policies on intellectual
property, and why they
have developed their
specific forms and policies.
b. Archives should engage
their critics in debate.
c. Archives and other
institutions should make
their opinions and expert
knowledge available when
new regulations are being
created covering materials
customarily held in archives.
- Collectors should review their collections carefully for material
that is confidential
or that reveals
If such materials
I started this paper with the image of a confused and frustrated horse
simultaneously kicked and reined in. When a horse is kicked and the reins
give it a direction to go, it will take off. I hope that archives, frustrated
by the lack of direction so far, will move quickly and decisively and become
proactive in the area of intellectual property, always keeping in mind
the ethical obligations of their materials, and their long-term importance
to the communities whose traditions they preserve.
There is a huge literature on intellectual property, ranging from "how
to get your song published" to detailed discussions of a variety of national
and international agreements. As of this writing, an outstanding resource
for information related to traditional music is the Web site created by
Anthony McCann, "Links In Some Way Relevant to my Thesis on Copyright and
Traditional Music." It can be viewed at:
An informative and enjoyable book on the general issues of intellectual
property today is James Boyle's Shamans, Software, and Spleens (Harvard
University Press 1996). The UNESCO Copyright Bulletin 32 (4) has
several articles on the intellectual property law and indigenous peoples,
and is representative of the issues being raised in that body. A lively
debate on the subject by a group of anthropologists can be found in the
article by Michael Brown, listed below.
The literature within audiovisual archiving is considerably smaller. It
includes a series of articles in the publications of the Association of
Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC), some articles in the IASA's publications,
and those listed below.
 As this paper will be revised following the conference,
please consult the author before citing for publication. A more recent
version will be supplied if available: [email protected]; fax 310-206-4738.
 Throughout this paper, when I refer to audiovisual
archives I mean to include institution-based archives with collections
of audio recordings, video recordings, photographs, paper records, and
other materials related to systematic collections that often combine
several media. Audio, visual, and photographic media all share certain
features in the area of intellectual property as well as in preservation
and access; the paper records here are not given as much emphasis.
 By collections, I mean any kind of private collection
that has not yet been deposited in a specialized institution such as
an archive. This could be the researcher's field tapes, the jazz collector's
78 collection, or any other systematic collection.
 The success of MP3 and Napster may encourage such
 Collectors should deposit their materials in an
archive while they are still alive. It is much easier to accession a
large, systematic collection when the depositor can help with its organization
 This might include permission from the material's
creator, if the artist is recording someone else's work, but the complexities
of research are such that the researcher really has to determine, with
the artist, what needs to be done to ensure the materials can be used.
 Such restrictions may also be viewed as violating
rules of public accessibility. However, in putting relative weights on
access and following the wishes of the artist, I always put the artist's
intentions first--they are primary requirements for establishing trust
and maintaining working relationships with scholars and communities.
 The very idea of "collective authorship," or lack
of author for orally transmitted works, may well have been an inheritance
from evolutionist thinking, which often worked through oppositions. Assuming
that nineteenth-century authors created individually, it was also assumed
that evolutionarily less developed societies could only repeat, or created
collectively rather than individual.
 American copyright law continued to be dominated
by print publishing companies until well into the twentieth century.
Hymnbooks, and later the huge success of sheet music, brought them wealth
and influence. The major 1909 revision of the U.S. copyright law did
not specifically legislate about recorded sound, but it did protect music
publishers. They may not have seen the significance of the wax cylinders
and discs, but by the end of the twentieth century, recording companies
owned most of the large music publishers.
 For example, at the Archives of Traditional Music,
many collections were deposited with use restrictions on the entire collection.
In cases where public domain material whose use would be permitted by
the local community was protected by a deposit agreement restricting
access, or where permission is granted only to listen to the recordings,
but not to transcribe any of them or obtain a copy for analysis, the
archives cannot permit any other use.
 Marx was actually quite unhappy about this appropriation
of the past in the case of Louis Bonaparte and the events of 1848 and
afterwards, but I think he recognized in them an important feature of
social change: it often calls upon and builds upon the past.
 A Dean at Indiana University once told me that
it wasn't very interesting to know that people all over the world used
and respected the Archives of Traditional Music. Why, he asked, would
the people of Indiana want to serve the rest of the world through an
archive? As always, I realized, thinking has to be global, but action
has to be local. Within a year, I had acquired a large collection of
Hoagy Carmichael manuscripts, papers, recordings, and memorabilia (Hoagy
Carmichael was a native son of Indiana and a beloved university alumnus)
and the world-famous Archives of Traditional Music was on a much sounder
institutional footing in the university, the State of Indiana, and, by
extension, in the world.
Ammann, Raymond. 2000. The archive works of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre
to preserve and maintain Melanesian music. Paper presented at the conference "100
Brown, Michael F. 1998, Can Culture be Copyrighted? Current Anthropology 19
Jabbour, Alan 1983. Folklore Protection and National Patrimony: Developments
and Dilemmas in the Legal Protection of Folklore. Copyright Bulletin 17
Phonogramm-Archiv, "Retrospective, Perspective, and Interdisciplinary
Approaches to the Sound Archives of the World" held in Berlin in September
Seeger, Anthony 1992. Ethnomusicology and Music Law. Ethnomusicology 36
______, 1996. Ethnomusicologists, Archives, Professional Organizations,
and the Shifting Ethics of Intellectual Property. Yearbook for Traditional
Music 28: 87‑105.
Marx, Karl. 1972 . The Eighteenth Brummaire of Louis Bonaparte.
In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker. New York: