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The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important

Vic Smith 16 Sep 11 - 09:28 AM
Will Fly 16 Sep 11 - 09:39 AM
Spleen Cringe 16 Sep 11 - 10:06 AM
The Sandman 16 Sep 11 - 11:11 AM
Desert Dancer 16 Sep 11 - 11:27 AM
GUEST,Guest 16 Sep 11 - 12:22 PM
Bernard 16 Sep 11 - 02:32 PM
Howard Jones 16 Sep 11 - 02:58 PM
dick greenhaus 16 Sep 11 - 05:01 PM
Tootler 16 Sep 11 - 05:11 PM
Spleen Cringe 16 Sep 11 - 08:08 PM
ollaimh 17 Sep 11 - 05:33 PM
Vic Smith 21 Sep 11 - 05:54 AM
Richard Bridge 21 Sep 11 - 07:21 AM
Brian May 21 Sep 11 - 07:35 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Sep 11 - 04:18 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Sep 11 - 04:21 PM
Morris-ey 22 Sep 11 - 11:25 AM
Surreysinger 22 Sep 11 - 02:28 PM
Morris-ey 22 Sep 11 - 02:36 PM
dick greenhaus 22 Sep 11 - 02:57 PM
Morris-ey 22 Sep 11 - 03:07 PM
Howard Jones 22 Sep 11 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,Graham O'C 22 Sep 11 - 03:37 PM
Wolfhound person 22 Sep 11 - 05:13 PM
dick greenhaus 22 Sep 11 - 05:52 PM
Richard Bridge 22 Sep 11 - 07:38 PM
Howard Jones 23 Sep 11 - 03:45 AM
Richard Bridge 23 Sep 11 - 04:04 AM
GUEST,Bardan 23 Sep 11 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,matt milton 23 Sep 11 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 23 Sep 11 - 12:32 PM
Richard Bridge 23 Sep 11 - 01:43 PM
Big Al Whittle 24 Sep 11 - 09:43 AM
Morris-ey 24 Sep 11 - 11:17 AM
Surreysinger 24 Sep 11 - 02:52 PM
Big Al Whittle 24 Sep 11 - 03:39 PM
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Subject: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Vic Smith
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 09:28 AM

Of course, this has been mumbled, moaned about and alluded to for decades on the folk scene, but for fear of litigation from the dread individual at the centre of it, not much of the case has appeared in public print.
That makes it both very interesting and very satisfying that the appalling situation with an important part of the back catalogue of Nic Jones' has now been brought to the forefront of attention in the Films & Music section of today's The Guardian and on-line at http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/bob-stanley .
In an article headlined:-

Copyright extension: good for Cliff and the Beatles, bad for the little guys?



and sub-headed:-

The extension in copyright law is hailed as a victory for musicians. But while it will surely benefit Cliff, the Beatles et al, it will close doors for a lot of minor stars


The article is by Bob Stanley and it exposes the situation. All credit to him for writing this.
Here is the section that pertains to Nic; it so important, that we will have it in red:-

When you hear Jools Holland claiming "artists put their hearts and souls into creating music, and it is only fair that they are recompensed in line with the rest of Europe - it's important that creators get paid for the work they do", you wonder if he has ever asked his accountant about Squeeze royalties, or never encountered a musician who has been screwed over by his label.
Maybe Jools should speak to Nic Jones. His 1980 album Penguin Eggs was voted second-best folk album of all time by listeners of Mike Harding's Radio 2 show. In 1982 Jones was almost killed in a car crash, and was so badly injured he has found it almost impossible to play the guitar or fiddle since. Income from his old albums would have been welcome but, because Jones doesn't own the recordings, he has received nothing. His first three albums were recorded for Bill Leader's Trailer label which, after it went bankrupt, was bought by a company called Celtic Music. Celtic Music's owner Dave Bulmer has sat on the entire Trailer catalogue - outside of Topic, the most significant British folk label of the 1970s -with only the occasional record sneaking out. Why? He could be holding out for a folk revival during which he could sell the label on and make the proverbial killing. Whatever the reason, Jones could do with the income from reissues of his albums.
The copyright laws, as they stood, meant Jones's first two albums would have become public domain within 10 years time - at which point he could have reissued them himself. They would have belonged to the public. Instead, as part of the Trailer catalogue, they will stay in the hands of Dave Bulmer for another 30 years. It's hard to tally this with Nevrkla's claim that the change will benefit "the whole community of recording artists, orchestral players, session musicians, backing singers and other performers ... which is so important, especially when those individuals reach ripe old age".


Perhaps it is worth making it totally clear that Penguin Eggs in on Topic and is not the target of this article.
It is also worth pointing out that though Nic is perhaps the most needy person affected by this, that many others badly affected. My own observation would be that Barry Dransfield, for instance, is not in the healthiest of financial positions.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 09:39 AM

From a similar Guardian article of 13th September:

Performers will also be allowed to renegotiate contracts with record labels after 50 years or to ask for rights to be returned to them if the recording is not available.

If this is true, might people in Nic Jones's situation benefit? Does the part in [my] bold pertain to Nic's situation?


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 10:06 AM

Is that bit to do with the 'use it or lose it' clause, Will? I think that may have been taken out, but I may be wrong. This would (I think) have allowed an artists to reclaim the rights to the recording from the rights owner after 50 years as opposed to the 70 in the new legislation, if they weren't expoiting those rights commercially (ie making them available in a legitimate format). I do wonder if someone isn't exploiting rights they own and someone else gives them fair warning they intend to do so, whether legally there's that much the rights owner can do...

Bob Stanley's article is well worth reading, and kudos to him for highlighting Nic Jones's situation as an example (Bob is a closet folkie, though, and curated the excellent 'Gather in the Mushrooms' comp a few years back). If anyone reads the full article also check out the comments. There are some very interesting contributions from a person who runs a small classical music record label.

Essentially this legislation is about protecting the interests of big record labels and established mainstream stars. Can't see how it will benefit anyone else much.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 11:11 AM

in my case it means i and the three other ex member of the bands will have to wait until 2025 , to get hold of the new maxborough concertina quartets recording.
Tyke had the audacity to suggest to me in a personal message that Dave Bulmer was just a businessman.
    Deleted per request from Tyke, who objected to the revealing of the contents of his personal message. -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 11:27 AM

Vic's link is to Bob Stanley's collection of essays. Here's a direct link to this one: Copyright extension: good for Cliff and the Beatles, bad for the little guys?.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 12:22 PM

Might not now be a good time for artists whose work is owned by Celtic to try and buy their stuff back from them. With the CD market at a low ebb and the product just taking up space Dave Bulmer may be in the mood to unload some of the stuff and happy enough for others to re-release it on own labels? It must be worth a phone call at least. TF.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Bernard
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 02:32 PM

There are lots of artistes who have tried contacting Bulmer, but to no avail... his motives seem very strange, and he appears to be deliberately trying to cheat people out of their 'intellectual property' whilst hiding behind the law.

Has he the right to do this? Well, legally yes, but morally no.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Howard Jones
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 02:58 PM

The EU directive does still include the "use it or lose it" clause:

The rights in the fixation of the performance should revert to the performer if a phonogram
producer refrains from offering for sale in sufficient quantity, within the meaning of the
International Convention on the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and
Broadcasting Organisations, copies of a phonogram which, but for the term extension,
would be in the public domain, or refrains from making such a phonogram available to the
public. That option should be available on expiry of a reasonable period of time for the
phonogram producer to carry out both of these acts of exploitation. The rights of the
phonogram producer in the phonogram should therefore expire, in order to avoid a
situation in which these rights would coexist with those of the performer in the fixation of
the performance while the latter rights are no longer transferred or assigned to the
phonogram producer.


http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/copyright/term-protection/term-protection_en.htm


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 05:01 PM

Should apply to books and other published materials, as well. If you sign a contract, make sure that wording to this effect is explicitly included.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Tootler
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 05:11 PM

The Guardian Article pretty much confirms my feeling about the copyright extension business. It's all about greed.

Cliff and co. don't need the extension for financial reasons. Even though Cliff Richard has little income from composition royalties, he has earned enough and I am pretty sure has it all carefully invested so he will not be going short. To my mind it's all about greed with little consideration given to the small guys.

I was in the Patent Office for a short time and one provision of the Patent Act, at least as it was at the time, was for "licence as of right". Essentially if a patent holder did not exploit his/her invention and a third party wished to, they could apply for a licence as of right to enable them to develop and exploit the invention. If you did this, you still had to pay royalties but the purpose of the provision was to prevent (usually big) organisations using patents to block the development of new technologies so as to protect their own existing products.

The clause in the new eu act seems to be an attempt to do something similar for copyright but it does not go far enough in my view. Copyright legislation needs to contain a provision similar to the patent "licence of right" applicable at any time during the copyright period to prevent the kind of situation that is being described in this thread. It's not only recording that is affected.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 08:08 PM

I wonder what a 'reasonable period' would be in the clause Howard quotes?


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: ollaimh
Date: 17 Sep 11 - 05:33 PM

i have been a few meetimgs over the years with the music industry types who were lobbying to change the copywrite laws"to help the artists"

i have suggested many times that if they want to "help the artists" all they have to do is make original copywrite un transferable by law to anyone but the artist. then only the use could be rented and only for a few years at a time. well you should see the look on their faces at such a suggestion.

however that is the only way to actually prevent the carpetbaggers exploiting other people's music.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Vic Smith
Date: 21 Sep 11 - 05:54 AM

Today's posting at http://froots.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=27558#27558 is relevant to this thread.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Sep 11 - 07:21 AM

It is interesting in context that in the bankruptcy of an individual who acquired a copyright by an assignment prior to the 10th December 1986, as a result of S 60 of the Bankruptcy Act 1914, which reversed the 1907 case of Re Grant Richards, a trustee in bankruptcy may not assign the copyright or grant licences under it without paying the author any contractual royalties or share. This was confirmed by the 1919 case of Barker -v- Stickney.

I have frequently submitted to relevant bureaucrats that this rule should be extended to company liquidations (note for US readers, in the UK, only an individual may be made bankrupt, companies are liquidated). In stead the rule was truncated by the Insolvency Act 1986.

Of course, an assignment may be made conditional on payment of royalties (note to US readers, there is no UK rule equivalent to those of US Chapter 11 "bankruptcies" that prevents licences being terminated for non-payment where a company is in the UK equivalents to US chapter 11)) but artists often either do not have the muscle or quality of advice, to get proper terms put into assignments.

None of these things would have availed Nic Jones as he was not the producer (who is the first owner of copyright in) the sound recordings. That could have been achieved by the company engaging Nic as producer and him managing the sound production (employing the actual producer for the purpose) but that would have needed HUGE financial muscle to negotiate.

What Leader should have done to protect its artists (which I assume it would have wished) was to put the copyrights in sound recordings immediately on their making into another company that did not trade and so could not run up debts or be liquidated, which in turn licensed Leader (without warranties) to make and sell recordings etc.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Brian May
Date: 21 Sep 11 - 07:35 AM

Bloody hell Richard . . . my head hurts


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Sep 11 - 04:18 PM

goes with the territory, I'm afraid.

I can't understand the law. There seems to be a lot of disagreement amongst the people who do understand the law. I've never found any of the organisations who represent musicians and songwriters to be much good in this respect.

I think if i were Nic Jones, I'd start selling the albums as cds and downloads from home - signing them.

If someones lawyers come after you - hide! Anyway what could they do - if you don't register the company, don't put an address on the label. Generally don't cooperate. There must be evasive action - how do pirate video makers operate. Why not pirate yourself. I often wonder what was going on with Alex Campbell who seemed to have work out on a hundred labels at once.

Anyway I talk a good game, but I've got more songs languishing in publishers catalogues than I can remember. Some are small guys who died and stopped answering the phone. Others got taken over by conglomerates and have never heard of me or my songs.

Basically like I say, it goes with the territory - you can't let these people decide what you are going to do. Just take it as read, you're going to get ripped off and exploited and used.

but its better than being useless.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Sep 11 - 04:21 PM

Al, I'm sure that the MU approved publishing contracts include reverter on either non-payment or liquidation (and bankruptcy too), and require approval of assignments. If you still have the contracts and the worms and dots you might (MIGHT) be able with good legal reason to stick up two fingers.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Morris-ey
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 11:25 AM

I am not sure this makes any difference to anything. Bulmer does realease stuff on CD-R.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Surreysinger
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 02:28 PM

It's very unclear from that comment what your meaning is.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Morris-ey
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 02:36 PM

The point is that Bulmer is not "witholding" material but releases it in a form that requires no payment to the artist.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 02:57 PM

The form of release has absolutely no bearing on whether an artist gets a payment---what matters is the language in the contract originally agreed to by the artist.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Morris-ey
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 03:07 PM

So Nic remains stuffed?


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Howard Jones
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 03:35 PM

Richard, am I correct in understanding your post of 21 Sept to mean that because Leader went into liquidation that meant that Bulmer was able to buy the producer's rights in the recordings, but without taking on the contractual obligations that went with them ie to pay royalties to the artists?

I thought the main issue with Bulmer was that he is not issuing the albums (apart from the occasional CD-R) whereas you appear to be saying that even if he released them commercially he would not be obliged to pay the artists their royalties.

Or have I misunderstood?


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: GUEST,Graham O'C
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 03:37 PM

..... and Nick isn't the only revivalist star who has been stuffed by the 'specifics' of this thread. The family of someone who is sadly no longer with us has had several on-going difficulties with accessing past recorded material on 'that' label!!!......


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Wolfhound person
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 05:13 PM

Both halves of the family, if I read you right, Graham.

Crying shame it is.

Paws


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 05:52 PM

I hold no particular brief for Mr. Bulmer. AS I understand it, though, Leader's contracts did not have any provisions for residual rights. Can anyone who actually has seen one of the contracts in question correct me if I'm wrong.
Recording contracts back then did not tend to give much protection to artists.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 07:38 PM

Yes, Howard.

Dick, what are "residual rights" in this context?


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Howard Jones
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 03:45 AM

Thanks for clarifying that Richard. it's a long time since I was naive enough to think the law had anything to do with justice, but that is breathtakingly unfair, especially if the rule is different if the producer is a bankrupt individual rather than a company in liquidation.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 04:04 AM

Worse still, the powers that be, in 1986, in respect of assignments made after that date, aligned the individual rule with the company one.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: GUEST,Bardan
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 11:32 AM

I'd heard somewhere that Planxty were in a similar situation regarding (at least) their first couple of albums. Vaguely recall seeing a documentary where Andy Irvine was getting pretty angry about it.
I would have thought the simplest solution would be to simply say you can't sell the rights to something you've composed- only rent them out for a set period. An alternative would be to let artists veto the sale of rights to their material to other companies- I'm sure that could be arranged without huge difficulties. Big change though and it would piss the companies off no end.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 12:19 PM

"I think if i were Nic Jones, I'd start selling the albums as cds and downloads from home - signing them.

If someones lawyers come after you - hide! Anyway what could they do - if you don't register the company, don't put an address on the label. Generally don't cooperate. There must be evasive action - how do pirate video makers operate. Why not pirate yourself. I often wonder what was going on with Alex Campbell who seemed to have work out on a hundred labels at once.

Anyway I talk a good game, but I've got more songs languishing in publishers catalogues than I can remember. Some are small guys who died and stopped answering the phone. Others got taken over by conglomerates and have never heard of me or my songs.

Basically like I say, it goes with the territory - you can't let these people decide what you are going to do. Just take it as read, you're going to get ripped off and exploited and used.

but its better than being useless."

I think there's a lot to be said for this.

I know of musicians, not in folk but other genres, who sell CDRs of their albums at gigs that were originally released on other labels.

The UK rap group Task Force [allegedly] "bootlegged" their own album in the early 2000s, which had become a rarity, selling for £30+ on eBay. I have no idea if the original label knew about it.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 12:32 PM

so in such cases, what's the legal position
if an artist was to sell at gigs
something like a signed photo for say a tenner
which includes a 'free' CDr

[or even 'unofficial' factory pressed silver CD]

of an otherwise unavailable back catalogue LP ???


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 01:43 PM

Simple. It's an infringment. It's reproducing the sound recording that is in point. THe UK does not have a "not for profit" or "Private Use" exemption although reviews have recommended one - but even those would not stretch as far as this.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Sep 11 - 09:43 AM

Well let's look at the situation rationally.

Here we have (Ithink its fair to say) an artist of international renown, and theres no justice in this situation for him.

Now what is going to happen?


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Morris-ey
Date: 24 Sep 11 - 11:17 AM

Nothing, I suspect.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Surreysinger
Date: 24 Sep 11 - 02:52 PM

Al - nothing's changed. In the circumstances Morris-ey has the right of it.


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Subject: RE: The Guardian -Nic Jones-Very Important
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Sep 11 - 03:39 PM

Well is he a member of the MU, they have a legal dept. and if they fought a high profile case like Nic, it would help a lot of little guys like me.

Also - PRS - he must be a member of PRS. Its automatic. I'm not even sure you can opt out. PRS are being done out of income. They would be collecting a percentage of his royalties on this work that no one could access.

These are wealthy organisations and I think if enough members made representation to them - perhaps we could get something done for a fellow member.

I'm not in contact with Nic - I don't even know if he would want anything done. Its bound to be a stressful process if he embarks on it. But perhaps someone should be doing it.


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