HRCAP was established in 2008 to advocate for changes in U.S. copyright law to enable better preservation of and access to America’s rich recorded heritage, without harming the legitimate interests of creators.
Scholars everywhere have been increasingly hindered in their historical and preservation work by the growing restrictions of copyright law. In 2005 the Association for Recorded Sound Collections adopted the first position statement on copyright in its forty year history, concluding that “several provisions of U.S. copyright law impede the effective preservation of historic recordings and unduly restrict public access to those recordings.” (see http://www.arsc-audio.org/copyright-board.html)
Subsequently the association’s Copyright and Fair Use Committee developed five specific recommendations for changes in the law. In 2008 its representatives took the recommendations to Washington, D.C., meeting with a wide range of legislators, government officials and private stakeholders. This, incidentally, was a big step for a small, relatively little-known organization that had never before been active in Washington policy matters.
ARSC was surprised to learn that the concerns it raised and the harms it illustrated were virtually unknown to policy makers. Many in power said simply “no one has brought this up before.” There was considerable willingness, particularly among legislators, to consider remedies. The proposals were seen as non-partisan, for the public good, and not harmful to stakeholders in any meaningful way.
Due to the slowness with which any new initiative moves in Washington, the difficulty of reaching people in power, and the need to deal with cautious and well-established rights holder lobbyists, it became clear that the effort would take time—and money. However important groundwork was laid and allies gained, both inside and outside of government.
In all eight organizations totaling more than 70,000 members have voted to endorse some or all of the proposals. In addition to ARSC they are the American Library Association, the Association of Moving Image Archivists, the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors, the Music Library Association, the Popular Culture Association, the Society for American Music and the Society of American Archivists. »view press release
At its fall 2008 meeting the ARSC Board voted to establish a coalition to pursue and fund the effort. The Music Library Association and the Society for American Music joined shortly thereafter. HRCAP is currently seeking additional organizations and individuals to join in this partnership.
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The Association for Recorded Sound Collections (www.arsc-audio.org) is a non-profit scholarly association founded in 1966 to promote the preservation and study of historic recordings in all fields of music and speech. Its members include private collectors and representatives of some of the world’s largest public archives.
The Music Library Association (www.musiclibraryassoc.org) is the professional association for music libraries and librarianship in the United States. It has an international membership of librarians, musicians, scholars, educators and members of the book and music trades. The MLA’s purpose is to promote the establishment, growth and use of music libraries; to increase efficiency in music library service and administration; and to promote the profession of music librarianship.
The Society for American Music (www.american-music.org) was founded in 1975 to stimulate the appreciation, performance, creation and study of American musics of all eras and in all their diversity, including the full range of activities and institutions associated with these musics throughout the world.