WWI museum in Kansas City to pull disputed recordings

Thursday, August 2, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The National World War I Museum plans to remove a series of recordings from its exhibits after failing to reach an agreement with the recordings' owner.

Edward Golterman, of St. Louis, claims his family owns the rights to a number of recording produced by his grandfather decades ago that are now featured in the audio alcoves of the National World War I Museum at the Liberty Memorial.

Among them are a speech "From the Battlefields of France" by Gen. John J. Pershing, and recordings of Gen. Leonard Wood, President Franklin Roosevelt and the U.S. ambassador to Germany.

Golterman complained that the museum, which charges admission, is using his family's recordings for commerce without permission. The Liberty Memorial Association, which operates the museum, said a contractor provided the recordings, thinking they were in the public domain and didn't require a licensing fee.

The association this week said it couldn't reach an agreement with Golterman and will remove the recordings from the alcoves.

"We are disappointed that these important pieces of history will not be shared with thousands of guests visiting the National World War I Museum," said interim director Mark Cox.

Golterman has allowed the Library of Congress to provide the recordings on its Web site, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/nfhtml.

The Liberty Memorial opened in 1926 to honor those who served in World War I. The new National World War I Museum, which is under the towering monument, opened last December.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

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