In the midst of recording and digitally archiving some old 78s (and I do mean old, dating back to the early 1900s), I noticed the following language on a disc from the Columbia Phonograph Co. (catalog #3045, “Mamma’s Boy (Marching Song)”, tenor solo with orchestra accompaniment, sung by Byron G. Harlan):
CONDITION OF SALE
This record is sold upon the express condition that it shall not be copied or duplicated and that the full right of property or possession reverts to the Columbia Phonograph Co. upon violation of this condition.
Two things popped into my head:
- Wow, copyright lawyers have been rabid for at least a full century!
How in the world would the common consumer have copied or duplicated records in the early 1900’s? For reference, while there’s no definite pressing date on the disc, “Grand Prize Paris 1900”, “Grand Prize St. Louis 1904”, and “Patented December 10, 1901” are printed on the label, and “Patented Nov 25 1902” is pressed into the surface of the inner ring, so it’s reasonable to assume that the disc was pressed sometime after but reasonably close to 1904.
I love being able to listen to this old stuff.