Copyright Waffling with Mark Lewisohn Part 2 – copyright, archives and researching the Beatles

Jane, Mark Lewisohn and Chris at his archive
Jane, Mark Lewisohn and Chris at his archive

We are thrilled to announce that Part Two of our recent podcast Copyright Waffle with the highly acclaimed Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn is now available. We released Part One a few weeks ago where we talked to Mark primarily about the Beatles and copyright. Readers of this blog might recall that we first met Mark after first hearing him talk in February at the Faversham Literacy Festival. We’ve had a fantastic response to the Part One which currently has over 1000 listens on Soundcloud (and potentially many more, as it’s syndicated on various other podcasting platforms).

In this episode we talk with Mark how he does his research and how he verifies stories from people with evidence from documents. We start with a tour of his incredible archives in which we get to see his unparalleled collection of Beatles books and delve into some fascinating primary historical sources. One unexpected treasure was a box full of “Tele-snaps” – an invention by a man called John Cura in the 1940s which involved taking photographs of live television. Cura took many unique photos from live broadcasts, for example of the Queen’s coronation, which he sold these back to performers and the BBC, although not without controversy. Ultimately his activities led to changes to UK law in the 1956 Copyright Act, so we were very excited to learn about this and incredibly honoured that Mark has agreed that we can publish in full an article he wrote on John Cura.

Our podcast also explores the impact that copyright has on the way Mark does his own research and what he can make available in his books. We discuss his use of libraries and archives and how copyright can sometimes get in the way. Mark also discusses his thoughts about what should happen to his fantastic collection that he has amassed when he’s no longer around. We return to the subject of the Beatles when Mark provides us with some ‘Copyright News’ related to the Northern Songs saga and the credit lines on Lennon and McCartney songs. I get to have my fan boy moment and we do finally get to find out what Mark thought of that banana loaf.

We’re really grateful to Mark for taking the time to talk to us for so long and both recognise the value in going what Mark calls ‘deep Beatle’. We really hope you enjoy this latest podcast (and also thanks to the ‘Copyright Pedant’ for putting in his first appearance and helpfully setting us straight on case law around copyright in titles and termination of assignment under US copyright law).

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