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Quadraphonic Music At 50

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Fourplay

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According to Wikipedia:

"Quadraphonic open reel tape (Q4)

The first medium for four-channel sound was reel-to-reel tape... introduced to the American market by the Vanguard Recording Society in June 1969 as "Quadraphonic open reel tape (Q4)" tapes.

Quadraphonic 8-Track Tape (Q8)

RCA Records followed, in April 1970, with its announcement of a four-channel version of the 8-track tape, named Quad-8 or Quadraphonic 8-Track Tape (later shortened to just Q8). These eventually appeared in Sept. 1970."

Folks, we are soon to enter the era where individual quad mixes will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their release. I wonder if the 50 year copyright expiration would apply to a unique version of a given work?

I want to be very careful here, because I want to respect the works of recording artists and do not wish to advocate piracy in any form. With that said, if the copyright on a work expires after 50 years, as has been discussed elsewhere, would the industry not be motivated to re-release some of their quad mixes in some form in order to reestablish their copyrights of the work?

If a court were to recognize quad recordings as being substantially different enough from the stereo counterpart, would the copyright issue not open the floodgates for at least limited official releases of many classic quad recordings?

Discussion please.
 

privateuniverse

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If I remember correctly, the fifty year rule only applies to unreleased works. This is why we see so many previously unreleased demos, outtakes, etc, being released on these mega boxes.
 

Fourplay

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If true, that thins the herd to unreleased quad mixes that are already in the hands of fans. Hmmmm.
 

ubertrout

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Generally speaking, a quadraphonic sound mix is a separate derivative copyrighted work from the stereo mix, but it also contains the original recording session, of course. I'm not aware of much law as to how these interlock, and it generally seems complicated, but the short version is likely that they are separate works for purposes of copyright from the stereo version - but a court could reasonably disagree.

In the USA, sound recordings made before February 15, 1972 are governed by an arcane and interlocking set of state laws. The recently enacted Music Modernization Act, Title 2, does include some provisions for noncommercial preservation and distribution of such works not in print, more details are here: The Music Modernization Act | U.S. Copyright Office. The term for these recordings doesn't expire until 2067 (the case to look at is Capitol Records v. Naxos in the NY Court of Appeals, for those who want to dig deep).

In Europe, the term for sound recordings is 70 years, but the last 20 years are "use it or lose it." That's why you see things like the Dylan and Beatles copyright releases, and the recent shenanigans involving ABKCO uploading rare Stones tracks from 1969 to Youtube and taking them down a few hours later on December 31, 2019. Very conceptually...if a quadraphonic sound recording isn't made available and the 50 year mark is hit, it can lose protection. Likewise, if a quadraphonic mix is created but not published within 50 years, once again conceptually, it is never protected by copyright in the EU.

This is all theoretical. And remember that I'm just a plaster fish on the internet, and any legal advice would be accompanied by a bill.
 

ubertrout

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Incidentally, I believe we have a few people here from New Zealand. As far as I know, the term for sound recordings there is still a straight 50 years. It was going to be extended to 70 by the TPP but when the US pulled out of that the IP provisions were removed.
 

Old Quad Guy

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We just have to hope that DV will keep going and that we all keep buying, if we want more Quadraphonic titles. We also have to convince the artist that a mix be released.

Even with a 50 year copyright, this still won’t give us access to the Master tapes. That’s why we must do what we can to convince the record label’s to at least backup their tapes, before they get lost or burned up in a fire.
 

ubertrout

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We just have to hope that DV will keep going and that we all keep buying, if we want more Quadraphonic titles. We also have to convince the artist that a mix be released.

Even with a 50 year copyright, this still won’t give us access to the Master tapes. That’s why we must do what we can to convince the record label’s to at least backup their tapes, before they get lost or burned up in a fire.
This is absolutely true. My hope is that the added incentive of retaining EU protection will spur the owners of the master tapes to release authorized versions, even if only as downloads.
 

Old Quad Guy

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This is absolutely true. My hope is that the added incentive of retaining EU protection will spur the owners of the master tapes to release authorized versions, even if only as downloads.
Thanks for the legal information. It looks like there has been updates to the copyright laws. I’m also reading about the Capitol Records v. Naxos case.
 

winopener

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The important thing is to check out carefully the exact release date for the Quad version. The first batch of RCA, Columbia and Vanguard are likely candidates for entering soon the 50-Y mark - and there are some excellent titles among these!
 

4-earredwonder

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The important thing is to check out carefully the exact release date for the Quad version. The first batch of RCA, Columbia and Vanguard are likely candidates for entering soon the 50-Y mark - and there are some excellent titles among these!
The RCA/COLUMBIA and associated label QUADS are slowly/efficiently being released by Dutton Vocalion. As for Vanguard Records .... it's currenty controlled by the Concord Music Group.

As for the Warner/RHINO QUAD TREASURES .... Warner likes the big box set approach {Fleetwood Mac/The Band} and that long promised Doobies Quadio boxset but there are so many of their prized QUADS which may never see a stand alone release which I hope will change over time.
 
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