8. Legal problems

In conclusion we should take a brief look at some of the legal problems involved in collecting, accessioning and distributing ethnomusicological material.

Generally, contracts or at least agreements are essential at the following levels:

between the musician and the person making the recording;

between the person making the recording and the archive;

between the archive and other institutions or individuals to whom material is to be given.

In every case the institution should endeavour to reach an agreement which allows it the maximum possible control over the material it acquires and, as far as practicable, which precludes any possibility of the material being abused. The first problems are likely to arise in reaching agreement with musicians. Artists working in Western cultures will be quite sympathetic in this respect, but in the case of illiterate peoples it will inevitably cause some measure of confusion and arouse false expectations, which in turn will eventually detract from the genuine and honest nature of the informant and, therefore, of the end product of the recording. In all such cases it is best to remunerate the musician in accordance with accepted local norms thus effectively purchasing the rights over the recording's usage. In the field of European folk music it is often customary to pay the musician nothing if the recording is being made for academic use, on the understanding that it will not be used for commercial purposes. In allowing access to an archive, one should take care to remember that composers have a penchant for taking traditional music as the basis for adaptions, which then go on to earn them money, while the originator of the music receives nothing. It is the duty of institutions with holdings of this sort to give full consideration to the 1nterests of all parties concerned. In this they are faced with the problem of copyright which, being based on Western concepts of culture, is often difficult to apply to music in the ethnological field.