Mudcat Café message #1077702 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #65401   Message #1077702
Posted By: JohnInKansas
22-Dec-03 - 05:55 AM
Thread Name: Questions Re: the Lomaxes and Copyright
Subject: RE: Questions Re: the Lomaxes and Copyright
A comment on PapaWhiskey's note (22 Dec 03 - 12:36 AM ):

Many employers require virtually all employees (especially technical and/or "knowledge" skilled workers) to sign an agreement giving the employer ownership of virtually all patentable and/or copyright eligible material produced by the employee regardless of whether it is produced on company time and/or using company resources.

A very few states have laws exempting work done by an employee on his own time and with his own resources from such agreements; but in general the agreements have been upheld except in those few states - and only if the person doing the work can meet fairly strict standards of proof for showing that the company made no contribution to the work.

In other words, someone working (full time means only a specified number of hours per week, usually) for a company, but doing consulting as a "second occupation" could find his employer claiming ownership of work he produced for someone else - as a consultant. Full time employment is taken rather loosely, and employers have, for example, attempted to claim ownership of a student's thesis work (even when funded under a Federal research grant through the school) based on his/her "part time" employment agreement.

With respect to the Lomax works, there are some comments included in Traditional American Folk Songs: from the Anne & Frank Warner Collection, by Anne Warner (with Foreword by Alan Lomax), Syracuse University Press, 1984, ISBN 0-8156-0185-9, implying some bitterness on the part of Frank Warner over some songs he contributed to the LOC, that were taken and incorporated into the Lomax (and other) "copyrighted" publications. Unfortunately, you pretty much have to read the whole book to get the "flavor" of the feeling(s); but it's an excellent one to spend some time with.

A brief comment at the end of the "Acknowledgments" cites the Warner's "experience with 'Tom Dooley'" as a key to Frank Warner's decision to copyright songs collected later in his career, and some especially pertinent info may be found with the material in the book on Frank Proffitt, who supplied that song to Frank Warner, who passed it on to Alan Lomax. You don't get the whole sense of it from that one selection; but writing papers does mean doing research...