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Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)

dick greenhaus 06 Jun 07 - 02:27 PM
The Borchester Echo 06 Jun 07 - 02:44 PM
dick greenhaus 06 Jun 07 - 02:52 PM
The Borchester Echo 06 Jun 07 - 03:03 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Jun 07 - 03:38 PM
The Borchester Echo 06 Jun 07 - 03:44 PM
MMario 06 Jun 07 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,Val 06 Jun 07 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,Val 06 Jun 07 - 05:52 PM
dick greenhaus 06 Jun 07 - 05:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Jun 07 - 06:15 PM
Howard Jones 06 Jun 07 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,Adrian Owlett 07 Jun 07 - 02:23 AM
GUEST,Leth Sakeman 07 Jun 07 - 04:59 AM
pattyClink 07 Jun 07 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Russ 07 Jun 07 - 11:18 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 07 Jun 07 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Russ 07 Jun 07 - 01:31 PM
The Borchester Echo 07 Jun 07 - 05:12 PM
Uke 08 Jun 07 - 01:27 AM
GUEST 08 Jun 07 - 02:42 AM
GUEST 08 Jun 07 - 02:56 AM
The Sandman 08 Jun 07 - 05:14 PM
Uke 08 Jun 07 - 05:31 PM
GUEST 09 Jun 07 - 03:57 AM
Howard Jones 09 Jun 07 - 05:42 AM
The Sandman 09 Jun 07 - 07:04 AM
Howard Jones 09 Jun 07 - 09:26 AM
Mike Miller 09 Jun 07 - 10:54 AM
The Sandman 09 Jun 07 - 11:18 AM
The Borchester Echo 09 Jun 07 - 11:41 AM
The Sandman 09 Jun 07 - 12:46 PM
Wyrd Sister 09 Jun 07 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 09 Jun 07 - 03:30 PM
Uke 09 Jun 07 - 11:37 PM
Mike Miller 10 Jun 07 - 02:06 AM
GUEST 10 Jun 07 - 02:48 AM
The Sandman 10 Jun 07 - 05:14 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 10 Jun 07 - 07:02 AM
The Borchester Echo 10 Jun 07 - 07:17 AM
GUEST,Rev 10 Jun 07 - 02:39 PM
GUEST 10 Jun 07 - 04:17 PM
The Sandman 10 Jun 07 - 05:36 PM
Tootler 10 Jun 07 - 07:05 PM
Effsee 10 Jun 07 - 09:30 PM
GUEST 11 Jun 07 - 03:36 AM
Effsee 11 Jun 07 - 09:08 AM
The Sandman 11 Jun 07 - 09:34 AM
Effsee 11 Jun 07 - 09:54 AM
GUEST 11 Jun 07 - 01:43 PM
The Sandman 11 Jun 07 - 03:05 PM
The Sandman 11 Jun 07 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,Val 11 Jun 07 - 07:13 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Jun 07 - 07:52 PM
GUEST,Rev 11 Jun 07 - 07:53 PM
GUEST 12 Jun 07 - 02:32 AM
The Sandman 12 Jun 07 - 05:26 AM
GUEST 12 Jun 07 - 03:08 PM
The Sandman 12 Jun 07 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,Jim 12 Jun 07 - 05:28 PM
GUEST,Russ 12 Jun 07 - 06:08 PM
GUEST,JRC 12 Jun 07 - 09:27 PM
GUEST 13 Jun 07 - 02:58 AM
The Sandman 13 Jun 07 - 07:48 AM
The Sandman 13 Jun 07 - 03:27 PM
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Subject: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 02:27 PM

I'm opening this because I think it's an interesting and important subject. It will be restricted to discussions of field collecting and the interactions between collectors and sources---not record distribution.


      This is an edited (moderated) thread. This thread will be edited by dick greenhaus. Feel free to post to this thread, but remember that all messages posted here are subject to deletion, if the moderator feels them to be drifting too far from the shore.
      -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: COllecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 02:44 PM

A song colllector goes to his open mic and secretly records a dozen songs from the local teenage angst diary merchant.
He registers them as his own work with the MCPS/PRS, records a CD of them and it goes platinum.
Whose royalties?
However, his publishing company (as a result of some possibly shady shenanigans) goes into administration and is sold on.
Someone (let's call him Mr B) buys it.
Question: who owns the rights now (ethically and legally)?
Were they transferable?
And what (if anything) can teenage angst merchant do about it?


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Subject: RE: COllecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 02:52 PM

Two questions--two answers
To the first, If the original singer can demonstrate prior art (in the US, this generally requires a provable written document) the person recording the work has no rights. If this demonstration is not available, the singer's out of luck. The solution, if you're a song writer, is to register the songs yourself.

As to the second question, legally that depends solely upon the contract that defines whatthe purchaser bought. If the seller owned the rights, he can sell them.

After the fact, there's little if anything the original singer can do.


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Subject: RE: COllecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 03:03 PM

there's little if anything the original singer can do

What about a sub poena on his neighbours to testify that they know only too well that the dirges (er, I mean intellectual property) belong to him and that bloke with tape machine nicked it?

that depends solely upon the contract that defines whatthe purchaser bought

Does it?
And insolvency case law doesn't enter into it?


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Subject: RE: COllecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 03:38 PM

As Dick said, if you can prove you had the song first the bloke with the tape recorder is out of luck.

And you can't sell what you don't own. And you can't buy something from someone who doesn't own it. Or take it in payment for debts or whatever.


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Subject: RE: COllecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 03:44 PM

I was asking about liquidated assets, specifically publishing rights.
Do they transfer, or do they rest with the author (assuming it has been established who that is)?


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Subject: RE: COllecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: MMario
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 04:03 PM

Given the scenario Diane posted:

ethically the rights should belong to the singer/songwriter; but unless the author can prove that, they are SOL, legally.

My opinon, ymmv


Another, (to my mind more interesting) scenario:

A field collector records a song from a source that the collector can find no record of being known previously. All evidence points towards the source having learned it as a young child from his great-grandaddy who died 70 plus years ago.

Where would "intellectual property" rights lie?


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Subject: RE: COllecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST,Val
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 04:20 PM

{Disclaimer - I have not waded through the entirety of the other Collection thread, so perhaps this has already been address)

Quick answer (opinion). The Ethical Collector MUST follow all applicable laws, and must make every reasonable effort to ensure he/she KNOWS what laws apply to whom. Secondarily, he/she SHOULD also acknowledge sources as a courtesy to the source and service to later scholars.

For purpose of my point, let me limit "Folk Music" to those songs/tunes for which the composer is unknown/unknowable. (I'm not saying this is the "correct" definition for Folk - just using it for this one discussion). Also, this is just my own uneducated opinion.

A person who "Collects" Folk Music these days probably ought to document their sources to make their collection more useful as a scholarly resource and to demonstrate that he/she understands and follows applicable laws. I believe an Ethical Collector will discuss his intention to publish with the Source. Whether or not the collector "owes" anything to the source is between the two of them. Citation of the source(s) in the publication may not be REQUIRED, but it certainly seems appropriate for someone who has even a tiny interest in scholarship.

The Ethical Collector will take steps to ensure he/she knows the copyright status of a piece before publishing. This may involve extra research to find additional sources & cross-references, rather than simply taking one Source's word that the piece is "Traditional".

There could very well be a gray area in Copyright law if the collector Publishes a detailed Arrangement of a Folk Song that is substantially identical to how the Source performs it. Personally, I believe if the tune is in Public Domain, then a simple lead line and chord progression is not sufficiently unique to deserve copyright protection (but I'm not a shyster - er, "copyright lawyer" - so my belief may be wrong)

Publication of a Collection of folk songs may be copyrighted, just like any book. If the Arrangements are sufficiently complex as to be a unique Creation by someone, then copyright protection may be applied to the Arrangements. But not to the songs themselves.

Copyright ought not be issued nor protected for a song that has previously been legally in the Public Domain. That's my opinion. An Ethical Collector will not seek copyright protection for anything that he/she did not create.

It behooves anyone who publishes or records a song to verify whether it is in Public Domain or if the any rights are still active. If there is an active copyright, then take the appropriate steps to follow the law (that is, do whatever is required to secure permission from the appropriate person/entity. It might not be as difficult or expensive as you think.) Documenting this permission in the publication may not be required but it seems to me like a good idea. (i.e "song Traditional, arrangement copyright John Doe, used by permission")

If the piece is definitely in the Public Domain, but the composer is known, then the Ethical Collector will cite the composer. Additionally, he/she may/might/could include a footnote about the Public Domain status of the piece just to preempt future inquiries. (i.e. "Written by Henry Tudor, 1491-1547")

Someone who knowingly tries to steal publication or recording rights from a composer or arranger is not, and cannot be, an Ethical Collector. Someone who does not bother to even try to verify copyright status of a piece is too careless to be called an Ethical Collector. Beyond those simple statements, the Lawyers get involved and things can get ugly, as previous messages have implied.

Val


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Subject: RE: COllecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST,Val
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 05:52 PM

PS - my above post was being formulated while MMario was making his reply. My comments are NOT aimed specifically at his comments.

Regarding M's scenario:

If I were the Collector, and (as described) could find no other data on the work, I would discuss with the source my intent to publish, and to cite the source and his G'grandfather. That documentation should be sufficient evidence that in good faith I consider the piece in Public Domain.

If the source said HE now wanted to register a copyright this late in the game, that could make things fun for the lawyers. The tale as told seems to indicate no copyright had been registered, and I believe the current laws are probably most generous and even THEY say the work reverts to Public Domain long after the creator's death unless transfer of rights had been documented. But if the source wanted to make an issue of it, best to know that before publishing the collection.

As usual, there is definitely a gray area between the bounds of what is Legal and what is Right.

Val


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Subject: RE: COllecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 05:57 PM

When you take a recording device out into the field, there are two things you can collect: songs (lyrics and melodies) and performances. Sharp, John Lomax, Flanders and many others collected songs. Ethically (and academically) sources should be credited in publications, but there no copyrights to deal with unless the songs were omposed by the collectees.

Performances, on the other hand, pose a stickier problem. The earliest collectors who used recorders (such as Grainger, Warner etc.) didn't have to worry much about using their recordings commercially--the quality just wasn't good enough. But the more modern collectors--people like Alan Lomax, Hamish Henderson, Mike Yates, John Cohen, Sandy Paton--collected performances that were used on (at least semi-)commercial recordings. I don't know just how these were dealt with; I also don't know how the should be dealt with.

As a folkie, I am eternally grateful to these collectors for making the music available. From a money standpoint, I doubt if there ever were a high enough volume of sales to make for significant royalties.
But, I know of folks who were recorded and feel that they were ripped off.

I don't have answers. I wish some of the collectors who frequent (or just visit) Mudcat would add their opinions.


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Subject: RE: COllecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 06:15 PM

So far as songs which have been passed around in the oral tradition and no one knows where they came from, this is a situation where the old slogan "Property is Theft" is indeed true.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 07:09 PM

Does a source singer/musician have any more rights to traditional material than a "collector"?


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST,Adrian Owlett
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 02:23 AM

It seems that all performances are protected (in the UK at least) by the Performers Protection Act. I found this when checking on the web, and I think it is of relevance here. The snag would seem to be that a performer COULD assign away his/her rights. It is clear that the rights would need to be assigned in order for a commercial release - unless that release was made by the performer. If no assignment is made then presumably the person exploiting the performance would be infringing.

Briefing Note – An Overview of Performer's Rights

Performance rights are of world-wide application and as with literary, musical and dramatic works. There is no registration requirement in the UK for protection and are independent of copyright vesting by virtue of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 UK. Each participant is entitled to the performance right.
First Owner of Copyright

The first owner of the performance right is the performer. The rights granted by the Act are the reproduction right, distribution right, rental and lending right and the making available right: s191A. These are proprietary rights that may be sold, licensed or otherwise dealt with as personal property. Agreements to do so must be in writing.

Duration

The effect of the Term Directive has been that the Duration of a performer's right last from 50 years from the date of the recording. If the recording is first published or shown in public within that initial term, protection continues under Part II for an additional 50 years.

The Term Directive also introduced the principle of reciprocal treatment for non-EEA nationals, whereby a legal person who does not qualify under the UK Act is only entitled to the duration of protection in their own country. Citizens and countries that are part of the EEA are treated as through they are UK citizens of the UK.

Rental Right

Where a film producer and an actor enter into a contract for the production of a film, the rental right is automatically transferred to the producer unless it is otherwise dealt with in the contract for the performance, and a right to equitable remuneration vests in the actor.

Performers are granted performance rights under Part II of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act. The performance right protects the visual components of a performance as well as the aural aspects of a performance.

Definition of Performance

The preconditions to protection under the Act are that the performance falls within the statutory meaning of a performance under Part II, and given by performers within the statutory definition.

Performances are defined in section 180(2) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act as a live performance of:
a dramatic performance
a musical performance
a reading or recitation of a literary work, or
a performance of a variety act or similar performances.
Readings and Recitals

Of these terms, only a literary work in sub-section (d) is defined elsewhere in the Act.

Literary works take their definition from Part I of Act, thus a literary work must fall within the definition to as a precondition to performance rights accruing under section 180(2): section 211.
The performance right will not accrue therefore unless the work that is recited is a literary work within the meaning of Part I of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act UK . It is arguable that the work need not be in a material form prior to the recital in order for a recital or reading to be performed and granted the benefits of protection.

Dramatic performances referred to in s 191A include performances that incorporate movement and/or speech that conveys a dramatic meaning. As a point of reference, a dramatic work defined in Part I explicitly includes dance and mime, however the meaning is broader than this. Dramatic works include any work of action that may be performed before an audience whether or not the words are spoken or music is played.

A musical performance does not rely on the definition of a musical work under Part I of the Act. This means that improvisations may be performed by the performance right as well as forms of music that some may consider not to be music, such as music which is avant garde in character.

Improvised Performances

There is no general requirement that a work has been reduced in a material form as a pre-requisite to protection by the performance right, and it is arguable that improvised works also fall within the definition of a live performance.

A live performance may be a rehearsal of a stage play, a performance for a film by an actor by an individual, rather than a company.
Payments to Performers - Equitable Remuneration

The performance right also entitles performance to equitable remuneration when their performance is played in public or otherwise communicated to the public. This right may not be assigned to a third party other than a collecting society, who then takes the responsibility of collecting the proceeds of the right on their behalf. Parties may not contract out of the entitlement for equitable remuneration, and to the extent they attempt to do so, the contract will be void.

The Copyright Tribunal was created to deal with disputes between performers and persons contracting to use their rights. The Tribunal may revisit and reassess agreements for remuneration between the performer and a person liable to pay equitable remuneration.
Infringement of Performance Rights – The Reproduction Right
The right to reproduce performances ('the Reproduction Right') is infringed when any person records, broadcasts, or copies a recording or a broadcast of a whole or a substantial part of a qualifying live performance: s 182A(1).

Infringement may take place by transient copying, copying indirectly without the consent or licence of the performer: s 182(1A), (2) & (3).

The reproduction right is also infringed by exposing such copies to the public for sale or otherwise, rents or lends such copies to the public. The definitions of rental and lending take their meanings from what they are commonly understood to mean. Provision for making recordings of performances available to the public has been specifically outlawed.

It is also an infringement of copyright to import into the UK infringing articles into the UK for a commercial purpose without the consent of the performer, or to possess, sell, hire, lend or expose for sale.

Service providers who allow their services to be used with actual knowledge of the infringement by a third party is also liable for the infringement of the performer's right. In making out a defence, the court will have regard for any notices provided pursuant to the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2013) and the particulars provided including the name and address of the sender and the details of the infringement alleged that is taking place.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST,Leth Sakeman
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 04:59 AM

I heard a tune once in a pub and cobbled together a song and vid. I said it was about a light-tinged bunny rabbit but really it was just to try and impress the model the record company hired for the shoot. Next thing I knew, the BBC wanted to give it a prize for being traditional. Where's the ethics?


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: pattyClink
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 09:31 AM

Dick, I'm not a collector, I don't have any feedback for you from that viewpoint.   

My ancestors 'got collected'.   The recordings were stowed away, poorly indexed and deteriorating, in distant and obscure places where only 'scholars' could access them (or the public at great expense and hassle).

So my ethical problem is when collectors 'save' material from the last living exponents of it, then hide it away from the local community. (Yes, I know, the sources should have passed it on to the children but many were tone deaf and working two jobs and didn't realize how quickly the stuff would get lost--after all, someone had come along and 'saved' it.)

If you're going to collect, do you not have a responsibility to leave copies in the local library rather than hauling the only copies to the capital city? Isn't this duplication and archiving where some grant monies should go, rather than piling up endless one-copy central collections no one ever sees, or to publishing abridged selections by later researchers?


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 11:18 AM

Looks like the thread is misnamed.

Should be "Collecting and the Law".

Not much interested in the law as it pertains to collecting.

The thread also feels like a Bulmer thread with another name.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 11:24 AM

If feels like a Bulmer thread because there has been very little contribution from North America in this thread. I echo Dick's request for others who have collecting experience to make comments. It is an area that I would love to learn more about.

As for the law, it may no be "interesting", but it is very important to consider and discuss.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 01:31 PM

I should clarify.

I am a traditional musician.

I have collecting experience.

I am very much interested in the ethics of collecting.

I am not interested in contributing to a thread about the law as it pertains to collecting. But I will lurk it until the screaming starts.

I've followed discussions of copyright law for years. Mudcat has had its fair share.

I've never run into anybody who claims that they understand copyright law.

Even lawyers make major disclaimers when they talk about it.

Because I am a cynical old fart I assume that the law is intentionally obscure.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 05:12 PM

I put this on the other thread about source singers but it probably belongs here:

I'd like to hear kytrad's assessment of John Jacob Niles as a 'collector'.
How 'ethical' was he (sublime performance excepted)?

Also quite unconnnected, Kenny Goldstein had me looking after his correspondence in the weeks before his arrival in the UK in about 1968. He gave me a large bottle of bath oil as recompense. I think that must have been in one of my particularly scruffy hippy phases. How 'ethical' was this? (i.e. did he get it from the Body Shop?)


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: Uke
Date: 08 Jun 07 - 01:27 AM

This is a very good article by Ian Russell about the ethics of fieldwork and archiving.

"Working with Tradition: Towards a Partnership Model of Fieldwork" in Folklore, vol.117 no.1, April 2006: 15-32

It's worth tracking down by anyone seriously interested in the issues raised in this thread. I understand Ian Russell has been researching singing traditions in the Sheffield area for many decades and has evolved a kind of practice which involves working out positive outcomes of collecting for the local community as well as himself (and other scholars).

As well as preserving interviews and performances at his university, he helps individuals and community groups archive the material too; offering to contribute copies of his recordings to local oral history projects or else try and arrange CD releases.

(I can't remember if he discusses matters of copyright in the article.)

Anyway, Russell's point seems to be that a collector should be thinking just as much about how their project might benefit the informants as themselves. Right from the start.

Such ethical frameworks are often legally required for university research and tend to encourage this kind of dual outcome. It's certainly the case in New Zealand and I imagine most scholarly researchers in the UK and US would have to also justify their practices in a fair amount of detail.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jun 07 - 02:42 AM

We collect for archiving purposes and for our own personal research. Over the last thirty years we have not had a problem with 'ownership' of songs as, up to the present there has been no question of the songs and stories being worth anything financially. On the few occasions we have issued anything publicly, the fact that we have prepared the ground beforehand with the people we collected from and have, where possible, kept them informed with what we are doing, has meant that so far we have never been challenged over our use of the material. We have met any possible problems by donating any money arising from the productions to, in the case of our Irish recordings, The Irish Traditional Music Archive and the UK ones, the National Sound Archive at the British Library.   Where I have heard of collectors meeting with problems, (apart from the Kennedy saga, which has been covered sufficiently elsewhere), this has not been with the singers and storytellers themselves (who by and large are now dead), but with relatives. I actually heard someone say of a friend of mine 'my grandfather's songs put him through university'.
As amateur collectors, we have worked at our own pace and have chosen to work longer with a few singers rather than adopt the 'in, record and out' technique, the result being that we have got to know the people who have recorded quite well; some of them have become close friends.
I firmly believe that most problems arise from not keeping your informants informed over the use of the material. Most of the people we have recorded have been as anxious as we are that the songs and stories should survive.
Our involvement with music, rather than song has been a somewhat casual one, but I suspect that, due to the boom in traditional music here in Ireland, things are about to change radically.
Already there are moves afoot to cash in on this popularity and the combined actions of Comhaltas and the Irish Musical Rights Organisation (IMRO) is beginning to generate hostility.
An interesting work covering the situation, 'Beyond The Commons' by Anthony McCann, was published in 2002 and is well worth a look.
Jim Carroll
PS (Not strictly on subject, so feel free to edit this out if you think it is intruding Joe). My friend and neighbour, Tom Munnelly a collector for the Irish Folklore Department, is undoubtedly one of the all-time great field workers (20,000 songs in his collection). Tom is quite ill at present and some of us have put together a festschrift of 24 essays in his honour. Details are to be found on the O.A.C (Oidhreacht An Chláir) website.
Tom is due to be awarded an honourary doctorate at Galway University in a couple of weeks time.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jun 07 - 02:56 AM

Sorry,
Title of Festschrift 'Dear Far-Voiced Veteran'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jun 07 - 05:14 PM

HowardJones,do you mean legally or morally.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: Uke
Date: 08 Jun 07 - 05:31 PM

Thanks for your posting Jim - I certainly wasn't trying to suggest that "amateur" collecting could not be as ethically aware than university research. Or that un-ethical collecting (by today's standards) was at all widespread. But I think these recurring discussions about collecting, ethics and copyright throw up some interesting issues which don't ever seem to get mentioned.

For example, is there any situation where a song might be consciously NOT collected? To let singers retain it as exclusively theirs, rather than collect it and thereby have to face the problem of dealing with it as a kind of commidity in the various heritage games. Do we have to collect everything?


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 03:57 AM

Uke,
I wasn't suggesting that you were suggesting... well, you know what I mean!
What is and isn't collected is a matter of individual choice, just as what is sung for the collector is. Collectors, particularly those working in their leisure time, quite often have to plan carefully what they are aiming to collect.
Personally when we were working with singers we tended to record everything, though that was modified by the fact that our time was limited and (particularly with Travellers who were quite likely not to be around for too long), occasionally we had to make a choice as to what to concentrate on. This can be risky, as was demonstrated by a friend who was recording an elderly singer with a large repertoire of songs and ballads who kept saying "Do you know 'The Old Armchair?" The collector kept pushing it down the list until the singer finally insisted and began, "Knight William sat in his old armchair", the only version of Child 253 to have turned up in Ireland.
There are songs (and information) we have been given, particularly by Travellers, which we have been asked not to use, one song we were given by several singers, about an arranged marriage, we were asked not to make public as the couple were still alive at the time.
I have never heard of a case where a song was not recorded in order that it should remain solely the possession of the singer; East Anglian singer, Walter Pardon summed it up for us when he told us "They're not my songs, they're everybodys".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 05:42 AM

Captain Birdseye,

My point was that a "source" singer/musician with traditional material in his/her repertoire will have "collected" that from other musicians. Is there any difference, morally or legally, between that and a formal, academic collector? Does the performer actually have any rights of ownership? Or was Walter Pardon, quoted above by Jim Carroll, correct in saying the songs are everybody's?

I can imagine several scenarios:

1) a proper "old boy" learns traditional material from other musicians - whether family, other locals in the pub, or visiting musicians. He will certainly benefit from it in some way, if only in terms of enhancing a reputation as a singer or musician. It is entirely possible that he will get some financial benefit from it, ranging from the occasional pint in the pub to cash for singing or playing at local dances and other events

2) a "collector" comes along and "collects" the piece. He too is likely to benefit from it, ranging from social or academic recognition to financial reward from publishing it

3) It turns out the old boy's source was Fred Jordan, who'd learned the piece in truly traditional fashion ie from a Martin Carthy album.

I don't see any substantial difference between the musician and the collector - both are gathering material from the tradition. Their reasons for doing so may be different, but they are both likely to benefit, both financially and otherwise. The collector may be better-able to exploit the material - on the other hand many source musicians have become successful paid performers on the folk scene.

Does the academic collector owe a greater duty of care to his source than a musician does to his? Perhaps so - the big difference is that it will have been collected in a more formal, self-conscious manner. It is also a more one-way process, whereas between musicians there is more likely to be an exchange of material (perhaps not directly, but in the sense that they are all contributing to and taking from a pool of material).

It is also different where recordings are to be published - here the performer clearly has both moral and legal rights to his performance, and the collector/publisher has an ethical as well as legal duty to recognise this. But does the musician have any moral rights to the material itself, or is it just that it happened to be in his possession at the time?


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 07:04 AM

HowardJones,The performer has a right to his arrangements,for instance my song accompaniment tutor for concertina.I use Traditional material and a couple of self composed songs,the arrangements are my creative work,I sellthe book on my websitehttp://www.dickmiles.com.
by selling the book I am happy for people to use my arrangements for amateur performance,if it was used for alive gig as long as my name is mentioned as being the arranger Iam HAPPY,of course it is gratifying to be acknowledged,if a performer records it[the exact arrangement] I would expect Trad arr R.Miles,Not trad arr J Bloggs.
So the song may be everybodys but the arrangement isnt.
I believe this was also the attitude of Cecil Sharp.
finally the artistic purpose of my tutors is to give people an idea of how it is done,and then hopefully they develop their own style.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 09:26 AM

Captain Birdseye,

Indeed, where a performance has been recorded then the performer has copyright in that performance, and also where there is any element of arrangement. In those circumstances a collector certainly has an ethical (and possibly legal) responsibility to respect that, and not for example to induce the performer to sign away his rights on terms which are not equitable.

But where a performer is simply a custodian (perhaps one of many) of a traditional piece, who happens to be the one from whom it is collected, it is difficult to argue that they have any particular rights over the song or tune itself.

Whenever you or I perform a traditional piece, it is thrown out there for anybody to pick up. If they substantially copy your arrangement then they are breaching your copyright in that, but if they make their own arrangement you have no right to prevent them performing, recording or publishing it, any more than the source from whom you got it can stop you.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: Mike Miller
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 10:54 AM

Interesting thread. I have done a little collecting, mostly by happenstance. When I heard a variant of a song, I taped it and ran off to taunt Kenny Goldstein. If he hadn't encountered that version, he added the tape to his enormous collection and, outside of asking who the performer was, no questions were asked. He didn't even buy me shampoo.
While we are on the subject, can we discuss the legal/ethical aspects of parody? I have written hundreds of parodies, some as mass colaborations. It is possible that Dick has written a few, himself.
Who owns them? Who owns my takeoff on Cole Porter's "Let's Do It"?
Who owns Dick's logical extension of Bill Staines's "Roseville Fair"?
How about the dozens of verses I have added to "Old Time Religion"?
When I was at Shriners Hospital, on a grant from the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the kids and I wrote special verse for that old army grouse, "Gee, Mom, I Want To Go Home". Who owns that?
Maybe, we should check with Saul Broudy. He does a program of chopper pilot songs from Viet Nam, where he served as a laundry and payroll officer (I kid you, not) and, although he has a doctorate in folklore, he may still have some rational thoughts on the matter.

                     Mike Miller


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 11:18 AM

sorry, but I have never heard of Roseville fair.What is the logical extensionthat Ihave written,or are you referring to someone else.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 11:41 AM

Dick Miles:

There are all sorts of Roseville Fairs, one of which is an adaption by Dick GREENHAUS.
There's also a very funny parody by Les Barker.
In fact it's the only Les Barker thing I think is actually funny.
I suppose the thing to do would be to attribute the song 'Staines/whoever'.
But this ain't 'collecting'.

On another tack, what about poems which later research found to be of known authorship which were unearthed, tunes surreptitiously ascribed to them then given to revival musicians as newly discovered 'trad' pieces? Bert Lloyd was particularly adept at this stunt.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 12:46 PM

yes ,but doesnt it show,that BERT thought the tradition was a living entity,,clearly Bert thought it was more important that the songs were sung,and at the time ,they were more likely to be sung, if he said they were traditional than if he claimed part composition of them .[He was having to deal with the mindset of people interested in traditional music at that time]
Mike Miller,its better if you had stated Dick Greenhaus,then I wouldnt have been confused.,as Itoo have written songs.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 01:08 PM

Ian Russell article mentioned above


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 03:30 PM

Was what was. And is what is. Differing ethics for differing folks' strokes on the good old timelines of our lives. Them collectors did monumental work, me thinks. And we are what we eat. There it is on the ground behind us---as we move on.

As the cowboy poet said, "You ain't changed all that much!!"

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: Uke
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 11:37 PM

hi Jim, sorry for misunderstanding!

I had a few things in mind regarding my point about not collecting everything.

Firstly, in New Zealand, when collecting was being done in the 1950s and 1960s many traditional Maori singers would not sing all their songs to the collector. The thinking was that unless you held onto a few, you were effectively giving something spiritual away forever, almost part of your soul.

The other case was regarding Paul Berliner's book 'The Soul of the Mbira'. I don't know if anyone has read this, but Berliner spent many years researching this instrument (also known as a thumb piano) in Africa. The secret spiritual meaning of the different keys was finally revealed to him by an elder, saying this knowledge could now be entrusted to him. Berliner then goes and publishes the information in his book!

Now I'm sure we'll all richer for Berliner's work, but I found this slightly disturbing. Did the elder know he was going to publish this secret information for all the world to read? I don't know the answer and perhaps Berliner didn't divulge all he was told. But it seems to me though that collectors should be under some obligation to keep 'special' cultural knowledge and songs 'special', or at least consider it, when dealing with their informants. Perhaps this happens more than I am imagining; certainly collectors can often end up acting as advocates for communities in other ways.

A collector doesn't "get anywhere" without their informants - perhaps that is who their first obligation should always be to, rather than to a paying public, scholarly community, 'national heritage' or a vaguely-defined 'common human interest'. In a perfect world all these interests could be reconciled, but it seems they rarely can be in the real world.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: Mike Miller
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 02:06 AM

I apologize to the dozens of Dicks who write songs. I was, of course, refering to the father of this thread who has penned more parodies than I have, if such a thing is possible. Still, the question remains, who owns a parody.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 02:48 AM

Uke,
My experience doesn't extend beyond Western culture so I can't comment on the examples you cite.
I agree that the informant should have the final decision as to what use the material is put to; so as long as he or she is kept informed the collectors can, as far as I'm concerned, use their own judgement. Some discretion is needed on the part of the collector; not so long ago we had the case of a vindictive reviewer who chose to openly insult elderly traditional singers, but this is extremely rare.
Can't really get my head around the idea of a 'paying public'; sales of CDs and books of traditional material are so small (certainly in the UK and Ireland) that it is simply not an issue, or certainly hasn't been for a long time. Gone are the days of Chas McDevitt and Nancy Whiskey squabbling over the royalties of 'Freight Train', which of course came from Elizabeth Cotton.
I sometimes find myself irritated by the story of Bob Dylan 'stealing' Scarborough Fair from Martin Carthy and giving it to Paul Simon who copyrighted it and used in 'the Graduate'. That particular version of the song was collected by Ewan MacColl and Joan Littlewood from a retired lead miner named Mark Anderson, and used for a radio programme called The Song Collector. Too often the role of the source singers are overlooked when discussing source material.
I find it bitterly ironic that the extremely rare ballad 'The Maid and The Palmer' (only 1 recorded version - 'Well Below The Valley') was copyrighted by successful Irish musician and broadcaster, Phil Coulter. The informant, Traveller John Reilly died of malnutition in a derelict house in Roscommon. The collector, Tom Munnelly, donated the proceeds of the recording to a school for Travelleler children, who, I'm sure never saw any of Coulter's royalties.
I can't help noticing the difference between the US, where there appear to be a number of collectors and researchers working full time, and this side of the pond where, to my knowledge there is only one professional (employed by The Irish Folklore Department).
I once reviewed Sandy Ives' excellent 'The Tape Recorded Interview', which I found tremendously helpful until I came to the chapter on signing contracts for the use of the material. Our relationships with the people we have recorded really precluded our getting a singer or storyteller to sign a 'release form' at the end of a session. For me, it would suggest that there might be some benefit from the songs and stories other than the personal pleasure we got from listening to them and from the knowledge that they had been preserved for future generations to listen to.
Best wishes
Jim Carroll (who has gone on far too long - as usual)


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 05:14 AM

Jim,no what you have to say is interesting.
I believe you have missed the point about Scarborough fair,it was Carthys arrangement,That was in dispute,or so I understand it.
it was his arrangement of Scarborough Fair.,what Carthy did was give the song a new feel,in much the same way that Nic Jones has done with other traditional songs.
this is what many revival singers /musicians have been very good at,developing the music,preventing it from being preserved in aspic.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 07:02 AM

Jim,

I was deeply moved by your account of the fate of the singer from whom "The Maid and the Palmer" was collected. Such things should not happen – but how can we best act to prevent them from happening?

If publishers and record companies won't do the decent thing, could it be possible to organise some kind of internet "honesty box", where anyone who has ever enjoyed listening to (or singing) field-collected songs could make a voluntary contribution, which would eventually find its way back to source singers and/or their families?

An afterthought: I'm not one of those who regard Dylan as the Shakespeare of our generation – but there is at least one thing that Bob has in common with the Bard. Somewhere in his collected works, you can find an appropriate quotation for almost any occasion. Here are a couple for this one.

"I heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter."

"Money doesn't talk, it swears."

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 07:17 AM

Actually the full quote is even more poignant:

. . . they dare to push fake morals, insult and stare, while money doesn't talk, it swears obscenity. Who really cares? Propaganda, all is phoney.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST,Rev
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 02:39 PM

To build on Uke's post about Paul Berliner, that kind of ethical question has been a common topic of debate amongst folklorists and ethnomusicologists here in the U.S. What is appropriate to publish? Some folklorists, when publishing sacred songs or texts, strategically change a few small elements in consultation with their informants, so as to alter the sacred nature of the piece. Sometimes just omitting a line or reversing the order of lines is sufficient, but sometimes more drastic measures are taken.

When I was very new to academia I attended a conference of the California Folklore Society at which the folklorist Barre Toelken was giving the keynote about his experiences with his informant "Yellowman," a Dineh (Navajo) storyteller and "medicine man." Barre had been collecting songs and stories from Yellowman for years, but out of respect for the cultural context of these stories, he chose to publish very few of them. When Yellowman died, Barre was faced with a difficult dilemma for a folklorist. Many of the stories and songs had specific uses, were tied to specific ceremonies, specific times of year, times of day, etc... and Yellowman was concerned that if these things were printed and they were subsequently performed out of their proper context, particularly if the recordings of his voice were played outside of the proper context, that this would cause problems––spiritual problems of a cosmic nature. He literally thought that "someone could get hurt." Now Toelken could have made good money from publishing these stories or releasing the recordings, instead, he turned all the material he had collected from Yellowman over to Yellowman's family, and they destroyed the whole kit and kaboodle. Now, when Toelken announced this at the folklore conference, people went nuts. Some were berating him for destroying this valuable material that should be considered property of all Americans, a national treasure, and should be kept safely in the Library of Congress or some such receptacle. Many others, however, myself included, felt that this was a bold and noble assertion of Yellowman's right of ownership. It was not up to Barre to decide what should become of Yellowman's material, ultimately it was up to the "source" to decide.

This has been something I have tried to follow in my own fieldwork and to teach to my students. That being collectors does not make us the owners of what we collect, merely the stewards. We must always, ALWAYS, provide copies of recordings to the informants who make the recordings, and to their families. The informants always have the right to place conditions on the usage of their material. And we must always be cognizant of the impact we have on the people and communities with whom we engage. We fieldworkers have to impose ourselves on people, and in that process we can change those peoples' lives, which is why we must be very careful and must always listen to everything our informants tell us, not just that which we want to hear.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 04:17 PM

Cap'n,
Carthy's 'Scarborough Fair' may have been his arrangement - from how I remember it, it varies very little from the collected text in The Singing Island. Personally I found his singing of it somewhat dull and unimaginative - I think I prefer the aspic - but there again, that's my opinion.
However, the real point is that if I were to take a modern, newly written song and 'arranged it' there would be no way I could claim it as my own, or even perform it publicly without paying royalties.
In 1968 Peggy Seeger wrote an anti-Vietnam War song called 'All Those Murdered People' which she based very loosely on 'Eleanor Rigby'. It was used in the annual show they put on, 'The Festival of Fools', but when she reproduced the song in the programme she had to withdraw the first printing and remove it as it infringed copyright.
If people can copyright 'arrangements' of traditional songs, why can't she use arrangements of popular ones?
As things stand at present there is nothing to prevent somebody from copyrighting the whole of the traditional repertoire by altering a couple of notes. I suggest you get hold of a copy of Dominic Behan's 'Ireland Sings' and see how many Irish traditional songs he copyrighted.
Mike.
I think the idea of an 'honest box' is a good one, though in the case of the UK there are so few real traditional singers around for it to benefit them. Perhaps any money arising from such an idea could be ploughed back into the music by funding desperately needed archives. The 'Bright Golden Store' project at The British Library could do with a shot in the arm.
In Ireland we are greatly supported by public money, with one of the finest national archives in Europe (if not the world). Here in Co. Clare we are poised to set up a local archive and have received a number of generous grants in order to do so.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 05:36 PM

Jim Carroll,Did the original singer play it with a guitar,Ithink the answer is no.Martin Carthys guitar arrangement was a sophisticated arrangement.it is absolutely correct that his arrangement should be credited.
You are entitled to your opinion,but please remember Martin Carthy has given a lot of people pleasure,.and in many peoples opinion has done a lot more for traditional music than yourself.
WHY am I a philistine,you havent answered.
still, perhaps I would rather be a philistine than a fossil.
If Seeger used the tune of Eleanor Rigby, of course she needs permission ,For the same reason, a performer cant use the tune of, First Time ever I saw your face[it was Ewan Macolls Creation,it needs his permission first].,that is the law.the law is their to protect musicians like Seeger and Macoll as well as the Beatles.
First time ever I saw your face,reached number one in the American charts,probably making Maccoll a very rich man [He deserved it].


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: Tootler
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 07:05 PM

The Cap'n has a point.

I was listening to the BBC Programme about Paul Simon's time in the UK last night and they played excerpts from the Martin Carthy and Paul Simon versions of Scarborough Fair next to each other. It was quite clear from that that it was not the text that was at issue but the guitar accompaniment. Paul Simon's guitar accompaniment was effectively identical note for note to Martin Carthy's. An arrangement is not just about the text, but about musical setting that has been used.

Martin Carthy appeared on the programme and it was clear that at one point he was fuming about this particular track. It all hinged on a lack of acknowledgment, the importance of which has been stressed a number of times on this thread.

Guest,Rev makes a number of valuable points. Although I am not a folklorist, I did do quite a bit of interviewing students to try and understand how they approached their studies and the ethical points that Rev was making in his post have a distinctly familiar ring. The points he makes about ownership are very pertinent.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: Effsee
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 09:30 PM

Cap'n,..."You are entitled to your opinion,but please remember Martin Carthy has given a lot of people pleasure,.and in many peoples opinion has done a lot more for traditional music than yourself."...
how can you justify such a statement?


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 03:36 AM

The point I was making was that whatever Carthy (or whoever)did to the song, it is traditional and, in this case, the last in this particular line of the tradition was a retired lead miner from Yorkshire who, it would appear, has no part to play in this 'ownership' squabble.
All versions of songs received from source singers are, by definition, somebody's 'arrangements'.
Effsee.
I think your comments were directed at me and not the Cap'n. He expressed a favourable opinion about Carthy, I expressed an unfavourable one. You have now thrown in your own opinion. I don't care how many people Carthy has given pleasure to, he has never really impressed me , and I am willing to discuss why - but not on this thread, which is beginning to drift off-topic.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: Effsee
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 09:08 AM

Hi Jim, I was quoting from the Cap'n's post, and I was just wondering how he could justify the opinion. How does one judge between your's and MC's contibution to traditional music?
My opinion of MC doesn't come into it.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 09:34 AM

effsee,I didnt give my opinion,I said in many peoples opinion.
I can justify it ,by saying to you,go to folk festivals and ask people their opinion,most of them will not have heard OF Jim Carroll,but will know all about Martin Carthy and his involvement as a musician since 1961,and his promotion of traditional music.,[why else do you think he has an MBE]that doesnt mean that I think Jim Carrolls not done useful work collecting trad music.
I think Martin Carthy is due a little more respect.,He is a giant on the traditional scene,.
Jim Carroll,I believe it was Peter Bellamy[arevival singer]who first brought Walter Pardon to peoples attention,please correct me if I am wrong,and along with Martin Carthy/watersons, encouraged him to perform his songs to wider audiences.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: Effsee
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 09:54 AM

But Cap'n, you're comparing eggs with oranges. They are working in different fields. MC is a performer and as such more people will know of his work rather than JC's. I'm not saying one is more important than the other, just that they are equally important.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 01:43 PM

All,
Not part of the fame game, so I have no desire to enter a 'who can pee highest' competition with Martin C or anybody'.
I don't really have to justify my opinion of Martin (who I found a very nice bloke on the occasions I met him), but I am prepared to discuss my personal tastes in singing elsewhere and with anybody.
I am sure Martin has given a lot of people a lot of pleasure, but so has Charlotte Church, and she never fails to get right up my nose - sorry.
No Cap'n, Walter's nephew (Peter Bellamy's tutor) Roger Dixon, persuaded him to put his songs on tape in the first place; Walter needed no encouragement to perform his songs to a wider audience - duck to water.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 03:05 PM

Jim, I have to disagree with you,I dont think Walter was a natural performer,he was in my opinion a good singer,but when I think of natural performers, Sam Larner springs to my mind,a man who was in his element singing in his local pub,thats not my opinion of Walter.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 03:21 PM

Jim, again you are being economical with the truth.Peter Bellamy approached two record companies, Topic and Leader,on Walter Pardons behalf, this led to Walter coming to the attention of a wider public,So it was a combination of both Roger Dixon and Peter Bellamy that led to Walters wider popularity.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST,Val
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 07:13 PM

Rev said (among other good points) "The informants always have the right to place conditions on the usage of their material. "

In a general philosophical way, and for the most part in the particulars as well, I happen to agree with you, Rev.

However, the one statement above is based upon the assumption that the informant is truly the correct person to make such a decision.

For example, what if some young punk upstart decides he wants to make a fool of the local Elders. He gives a Collector some smattering of Lore (maybe not complete or correct) and grants permission to publish, use, or abuse same? Granted, the Collector may be acting in good faith and "ethically". However the Elders might reasonably be upset at a possible misrepresentation of their culture and/or revelation of mysteries that were not intended for general publication. Yes, the Elders in this example probably would be REALLY upset at the Young Punk Upstart, but they might also be rightly annoyed at the Collector.

Another imaginary example, perhaps more likely in this day and age is: I transcribe a song from some guy who CLAIMS that the piece is "traditional", that he learned from his great-grandpappy who learned it during The War. Turns out it was composed just last year by his ex-girlfriend whom he's mad at and he knows she hasn't recorded it yet, so he's setting her (and me) up for a copyright dispute.

Granted, these are suppositions and one can go mad trying to cover ALL the "What If's". There probably are not any simple or certain answers to avoiding problems, especially when dealing with people who are intentionally dishonest. Hopefully that does not happen too often. But it's also a good reminder of one reason why documenting your sources & research can be important: to prove you acted in good faith if a question arises later on.

Val
(just a hobbyist, not a Collector)


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 07:52 PM

Here's a link to a page about that book Jim Carroll mentioned up the thread Dear Far-voiced Veteran

A much more useful topic, it seems to me, than churning over bad tempered arguments about copyright law.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST,Rev
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 07:53 PM

Yes, Val, good points. But I also think you're right that when it comes to informants being dishonest or misleading there's really no way to prepare for that. I think that the "ethical" fieldworker also has to utilize a well-honed BS-detector (an essential part of a folklorist's arsenal), and if they feel like they may be getting led down the garden path they should cross-check the facts with others, such as the hypothetical "Elders."

I've experienced, with a number of groups, instances when I've gotten in the middle of an internal power struggle over who is the cultural authority. In those cases I've tried to back off, because those issues can go on for generations and it's not my place, necessarily, to mediate. You know, I just try to be as honest and thoughtful as possible, and trust my instincts.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 02:32 AM

Cap'n
The information we got (from Walter - maybe he was being economical with the truth?) was that, encouraged by Roger, he made a tape of his songs (wonderful description of his doing this at National Sound Archive), then gave it to Roger, who then passed it on to Peter Bellamy.
I didn't say that Walter was a natural performer; I said he took to a wider audience like a duck to water.
Walter was not a pub singer (is this really your estimate of a good performer -hmmm?) - from what I remember of seeing Harry Cox, this would make him a lousy performer. Walter was somebody who could bury himself in his songs, and in doing so, could pass those songs over to any (listening) audience. I really couldn't imagine a pub audience paying attention to long versions of Van Deiman's Land, or Lord Lovell, or Broomfield Hill - could you?
Comparisons between Walter and Sam Larner are nonsensical; they were very different singers (not better or worse - just different.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 05:26 AM

I said I thought WALTER was a good singer,he was a good performer in a folk club setting,as was Harry Cox,Sam Larner was much more versatile ,Sam could perform well in a pub or a folk club,He was a more extrovert singer than either of the other two.
therefore SAM could get his material,over to a wider audience[not just a folk revival audience].
comparisons between the singers are not nonsensical,as I have just demonstrated,Walter had sung out very little,[it took him many months to remember all the songs,and to get the songs right] before he made the tape for Roger Dixon [why because therewas no local pub for him to sing in,and if there was he would not have got the pubs attention],Sam Larner never had that trouble,all this means, is that Sam was a more versatile performer.
Personally of the three of them I prefer Harry Cox,but then preference for singers is generally subjective subjective.
being a good pub singer is part of being a good performer,but not the only ingredient to being a good performer,Walter and Harry were good performers in certain situations[revival folk festivals,revival folk clubs]the revival gave them a new lease of life.Sam was a good performer in pubs, as well as folk revival situations.
thank god for the folk revival,and revivalists like Peter Bellamy that helped [along with collectors] Walter to pass on his music live.

Just for the record here in Ireland,I regularly sing long songs in pubs[Barbara Allen,Factory Girl,False Knight on the road,occassionally Tam Linn] and the audience listens,its a question of knowing your pub,reading the mood,and knowing when is the right monment,there is a skill to pub singing as there is to folk club singing.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 03:08 PM

I really don't know why I get involved in these silly arguments.
Who says it took Walter many months to remember all his songs? He had been writing them down in exercise books from 1948 and had been singing them and playing them on the melodeon, to himself, right up to the time he was 'discovered, so he had no need to 'remember them'; they were already there.
Who says the pub is in any way a desirable place to sing traditional songs. Sam Larner sang at the Fishermans Return in Winterton - he sang the same song every week for most of his life. Where did he sing his other songs? He told the collector "the serious singing was done at home or at sea".
Pub singing in Ireland is a comparative latecomer, as is the playing of music. Within living memory virtually all singing and music took place in peoples homes at country house dances. Musicians have told us that the music started to go downhill when it went into the pubs. Being able to sing in a pub does not make anyone a good singer or more 'versatile', just an extrovert.   
Your preference for Harry Cox is, as you say, subjective, and without qualification it is about as important as your telling us you prefer white socks to blue ones.
Walter Pardon was a thoughtful and generous man. He often said he regretted never having met Sam Larner and Harry Cox, both of whom lived within 20 miles of him. He would have been mortified to hear a couple of folkies like us arguing the toss over which of them we preferred, he probably would have banged our heads together (no he wouldn't, but I wouldn't blame him if he had). You seem obsessed with competition: better, worse, more important, less important - I think your CCS (Comahltas competition syndrome) is beginning to show through.
Without the Walters and Sams and Harrys and Phil Tanners and George Dunns and Robert Cinnamonds and Mary Ann Carolans and all the other generous people who gave us our songs we wouldn't be having this conversation, I wouldn't have had nearly half a century of pleasure and we'd have no songs to sing - and neither of us would have heard of Peter Bellamy.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 04:25 PM

Jim ,Im quoting from musical traditions,[put a bit of powder on it]according to Walter., it took him all winter to remember about twenty[songs].
First of all I am a philistine,Now I am obsessed with competition.
I have never said any of the three afore mentioned singers are better than each other,I mentioned my own preference that is something different.,and as I said subjective.
Singing is about being able to communicate with audiences,whether they are in a pub or in a folk club,one of the best communicators I have seen has been Bob Davenport, able to communicate in a noisy pub or a folk club.
I advise people to go to the musical traditions site,if they wish to learn more about Walter Pardon.,other traditional singers,and how collectors go about collecting.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 05:28 PM

&


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 06:08 PM

Still feels like Bulmer thread with a different name and less invective.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST,JRC
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 09:27 PM

Yes, Jim and Cap'n, maybe you can conduct your pissing contest in another thread instead of hijacking a supposedly moderated one on collecting and ethics.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 02:58 AM

JRC,
I agree entirely and apologise
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 07:48 AM

JRC,I apologise.


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Subject: RE: Collecting,and Ethics (moderated)
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 03:27 PM

Collectors such as Peter Kennedy,have recently been criticised,for not looking after their sources.,[I dont know if this is true or not]
I would hope that any collectors ,collecting today,would give a proportion of any income that they made from sales to their sources.
I believe Harry Cox,said that EJMoeran,was a proper gentleman,and looked after Harry properly, from sales Moeran made.
DickMiles[philistine].


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