Biophon SUMMER 1996 Vol. IX No. 1 (Resumed from 1983)

EDITED and PRINTED by M.Rebbeck CONTACT ADDRESS Dept. of Industrial Technology, Bradford University,
Phone +44 1274 384242 Fax +44 1274 381333 e-mail Bradford,West Yorkshire, BD7 1DP, UK.
Web Edition by G.Pavan, Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali

Welcome to BIOPHON re-born! Its future lies in your hands. Please use it to air your views on matters of interest to bioacousticians; to suggest topics for discussion at IBAC symposia (now held annually). Use it as a means of advertising forthcoming activities of interest in your own country. Given time, it is hoped that local members will translate each issue into your own language and add items of local interest too. Use of Web-sites and the Internet generally will promote success in this initiative. Finally, I hope to meet as many of you as possible at Pavia.




At the 13th IBAC Symposium hosted by the Natural History Museum of Aarhus, Denmark, in April 1994 it was decided at a general meeting of all participants to recommend:-



held at
University of Potsdam, Friday, 20th October 1995 at 1800 hours.

1. The Chairman, Patrick Sellar, opened the meeting by explaining the need to raise IBAC's status and improve its organisation. Until now, there had been no formal membership which at least meant that subscriptions had not been needed. By raising IBAC's profile, it might be possible to get grants to students to attend meetings. He would continue as Chairman for a year. G. Pavan would succeed him at the next symposium in 1996 in Italy.

2. Election of Executive Committee.
Honorary Secretary - R.D. Ranft, proposed by J. Vielliard, seconded by E.D.H. Johnson.
Carried unanimously. Honorary Treasurer - no nominations.
Three members - Gianni Pavan; (non office-bearing) Sten Wahlstrom, proposed by R.H. Kettle, seconded by J. Bohner; E.D.H. Johnson, proposed by J.Vielliard, seconded by P. Fogelin.
Carried unanimously.

3. Consideration and adoption of IBAC Rules.
In response to a question from R. Kettle asking whether it was intended that there would be a symposium every year, it was stated that this had been agreed at the Møls symposium in 1994.

Clause 2.2: there were several objections that the wording implied a distinction between scientists and field workers. It was agreed to change the sentence to read "To encourage and effect liaison between amateurs and professionals working in bioacoustics."

Clause 3.4 change to read: "The Executive Committee shall have the power to expel from its number any of its officers or Committee Members who have failed to attend..."

Clause 5.1 change to read: "Members shall be required to pay an Annual Subscription of such an amount and at such times as may be proposed by the Executive Committee and accepted by the membership at an AGM."

It was agreed to add an additional clause permitting future alterations to the Rules.

Y. Espmark proposed adoption of the rules. Seconded by M. Rebbeck; carried.

4. Venue for 1996 Symposium and second AGM.
G. Pavan declared the next meeting would be held in either Pavia or Venice between 24-27 October 1996 [note: venue now confirmed as Pavia]. Details would be posted on the Pavia University World Wide Web site at:

5. Membership and subscriptions.
The question of raising subscriptions would be postponed, pending the election of a Treasurer. Members will be kept informed.

6. Newsletter.
M. Rebbeck offered to editor a newsletter and produce two issues per year. It should not be used to publish scientific papers; they should be submitted to the Bioacoustics journal. G. Pavan
offered space on his WWW site for an electronic version of the newsletter, but he would mail a hard copy to those who want it.

7. Any other business.
G. Peters asked for advice on copyright and licensing of sound recordings to commercial organisations. R.D. Ranft said it was important to sign an agreement with the user to restrict the use of the recordings to a particular medium, region of the world, and within a time limit of a certain number of years. He will put details in the newsletter.
S. Wahlstrom pointed out that we could follow rules used in the film industry.
J. Vielliard asked whether sub-committees are to be set up. P. Sellar replied that two had already been set up unofficially after the Møls meeting: one to look at the question of developing IBAC; the other to investigate the standardisation of bioacoustic analysis and terminology.

The Chairman thanked the organiser of the Potsdam meeting, Prof. Dieter Wallschläger, and closed the meeting at 19:05 hours.



IBAC - International Bioacoustics Council Conference 1996
XV Symposium of the International Bioacoustics Council

Time and Place
The conference will be held at the University of Pavia and organised by the Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali, October 24th - 27th 1996

Conference fees
70.000 liras for ordinary members and 50.000 liras for student members.

Official languages
English and French

For Further Informationcontact
Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali
Sezione di Bioacustica Marina
Università di Pavia
tel./fax +39 (0)382 525234

  • Underwater bioacoustics
  • Biodiversity in communication
  • Evolution in biological acoustic systems
  • Behavioural aspects in acoustic communication
  • Methods & Instruments for sound and ultrasound data acquisition and analysis

The meeting will include Talk sessions, Poster sessions, Technical demonstrations

The following facilities will be available at the meeting:
Overhead projector, slide projector, VHS - SVHS (Pal and NTSC) video playback, compact cassette player, DAT player, CD player, VGA to PAL converter, Real-time spectrograph

Pavia is located 40 Km south of Milan, in the northern part of Italy. The nearest airport is Milan- Linate. The city is located on the train line Milan-Genoa. Frequent trains leave from Milano Centrale (reach Pavia in about 30 minutes) and from Genoa (in about 1 hour).


welcome you to attend an evening of lectures and light refreshments beginning at 18:30 hrs.

THURSDAY 28th NOVEMBER at the British Libray's Novello meeting rooms, Sheraton Street, London W1. Phone Richard Ranft, NSA, on 0171-412-7402 for details.

PROFESSOR P.J.B. SLATER (University of St. Andrews)
"Song Learning in Birds."

DR. GILLIAN GILBERT (Research Biologist, RSPB)
"Use of Sound for Censusing and Monitoring Birds."


Richard Ranft
British Library National Sound Archive, Wildlife Section

Copyright is a complex legal issue but is becoming important to all owners of animal sound recordings, as new markets for using audio are opening up and commercial organisations search for ever more obscure noises to enrich their TV programmes, adverts or CD-ROMs. The laws of copyright vary from one country to another, but a few words on the subject as they apply to the British law might be helpful. In Britain, copyright applies to any sound recording and can be used to prevent or control its exploitation. Formal registration of a recording is unnecessary as the rights are automatically implied (as they are for photographs) as soon as the recording is made. Music recordings have more complicated rights in that the composer, performers and publishers of the music and lyrics all have separate rights. In unpublished bioacoustic recordings, on the other hand, the only rights in the recordings are those of the recording itself - the performers have no rights! For published recordings, remember that the publisher may also have separate rights in the publication. Copyright of bioacoustic recordings is usually owned by the recordist unless the recording is commissioned by another person or institution. It can be held jointly and may be transferred or sold on to others. It is an infringement of copyright law to copy, allow the playing in public or broadcasting or other distribution of a recording, without the owner's consent. Copyright in the UK exists for 50 years after a recording is made, but an EC directive of 1995 to harmonise copyright in different countries means that the term will soon extend to 70 years.

The owner has the right to retain rights in the recording while controlling its use by licensing. When licensing your recordings, it is important to restrict the terms of the licence if you wish to retain control of the recordings in the future. The restriction should limit the use of a recording in time, space, media and be production-specific and non-exclusive. To explain this better, a sample contract for multimedia publication is given below:

Non-exclusive license to reproduce recordings of [sounds listed] for inclusion in [name of publication] under the following terms and conditions:

Parties: [Your name and client name]

Territory e.g. "The World, all languages."

Term: e.g. "7 years from the date of publication" [Note: some publishers will not accept a time restriction]

Copying and administration fee:

License Fees: [per recording]

Formats: e.g. "PC CD-ROM, Apple Macintosh CD-ROM formats only."

Exclusions: e.g. "The material licensed shall not be used in any other electronic media publication or form nor be included in any electronic database either during or after the term of the agreement nor be otherwise made available through any other system of electronic distribution." [such exclusions are very important!]

If you are licensing sounds which are a small part of the whole production, it is usual to ask for a once-only fee instead of a royalty based on sales or broadcast time, because royalty payments are administratively complex. Fees vary widely according to the duration of the recording, prominence of the recording in the production, expected sales, whether use is purely commercial or more educational, and so on.

A final note: a sonogram of a recording is not regarded as infringing copyright, but it is courteous as well as scientifically accepted practice to cite the source of any recording (e.g. archive, or audio publication) and the recordist next to the graph.


The following people act as local contacts for IBAC. If you know of anyone in your area who may benefit from IBAC or hear of any activities which should be more widely known please get in touch with your local organiser.

PATRICK SELLAR c/o Wildlife Section, National Sound Archive,
29 Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AS, UK.
Fax: +44 171 412 7441

Slovene Museum Of Natural History,
Presernova 20, PO BOX 290, SLO 61001 Ljubljana, SLOVENIA.
Tel. +38 661 218886/211670, Fax. +38 661 218846,

Sollaren 12, S-655 94 Karlstad, SWEDEN.
Tel. +46 54 861345 mobile:002 645 974,
Fax. +46 54 861354

Fonoteca Zoologica, Museu De Zoologia, Po Box593 ,
Parc De La Ciutadella, 08003 Barcelona, SPAIN.
Tel. +34 3 319 6912, Fax. +34 3 319 6869

Laboratoire D'ethologie Experimentale,
F-28210 St. Lucien, FRANCE.
Tel. +33 37 82 77 75

Centro Di Bioacustica, Instituto Di Entomologia,
Universita Pavia, Via Taramelli N.24, 27100 Pavia, ITALY.
Tel. +39-382-525234, Fax. +39-382-525234,

Natural History Museum, Universitetsparken ,
Bygning 210, DK 8000 Århus C, DENMARK.
Tel. + 45 86 12 97 77, Fax. + 45 86 13 08 82

Institut für Okologie und Naturschutz
Universtitat Potsdam, Lennestrasse 7A D-14471, Potsdam, GERMANY.
Tel. +33 19672879

Zoologisk Institut, Univ. I Trondheim,
N-7055 Dragvoll, NORWAY.
Tel. +47 7359-6295, Fax. +47 7359-1309

Department Of Vertebrate Zoology, Biological Faculty,
Moscow State University, 119899 Moscow, RUSSIA.
Tel. +70 95 930-28-21, Fax. +7095 930-28-21,

Unicamp, Dept. Zoologia, CP 6109
18083 - 970 Campinas, SP. BRAZIL.
Tel. +55 192 39 7022, Fax. +55 192 39 3124

Natural History Museum, Chiba 955 - 2,
Aoba - Cho, Chuo - Ku, Chiba 260, JAPAN.
Tel. +81 43-265-3397 Fax. + 81 43-266-2481


IBAC - The International BioAcoustics Council


Bioacoustics Journal


Center for Bioacoustics and Environmental Research, Pavia University, Italy


Wildlife Section, British Library National Sound Archive, UK


Bioacoustics Research Program, Cornell Lab. of Ornithology, USA


Library of Natural Sounds, Cornell Lab. of Ornithology, USA


Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics, Ohio, USA


Bioacoustics and Sonar, Department of Electrical Engineering, Loughborough University of Technology, UK


Songs of Cicadas, Slovenia



For the benefit of readers who may be unaware of IBAC's past a short history has been written by the Chairman - Patrick Sellar:

IBAC was founded in Denmark in September 1969 "with the object of promoting international participation throughout the entire field of bioacoustic activity". Its lofty title "reflects the intention that it should act as a referendum for and generally help in any way possible those who are engaged in the scientific study of biological sounds".

Looking back over the twenty-seven years since those first ambitions were declared at the meeting in Århus, one can report simply that it spawned fourteen international symposia in eight different countries and sponsored the publication of the news bulletin Biophon running to twenty-four issues. Biophon was the means by which IBAC members kept in contact and received news of impending conferences. Membership of IBAC and indeed Biophon itself was entirely free, the cost of production and mailing being born all those years by the Danish Natural Science Research Foundation.

Thus there was never any need to collect subscriptions or to encumber the executive committee with such impedimenta as a treasurer, accountant or auditor. An ideal institution, one would say.

Unfortunately, the Danish economy took a downward turn in 1983 and our grant was terminated. The final issue of Biophon appeared in July that year but, with the help of mail shots put out by the National Sound Archive in London, we continued to hold conferences, the latest having taken place in October 1995 at Potsdam in Germany.

Subscribers to Biophon, numbering around 450 world-wide, were used as the sounding-board for planning the new, bigger and definitive journal Bioacoustics.

IBAC will continue to support the journal in every way possible. The headquarters of IBAC for 25 years was the Natural History Museum at Århus, Denmark.

From now it will transfer to the National Sound Archive (Wildlife Section), of the British Library in London. Links with Århus will nevertheless survive strongly through the presence there of IBAC's President, Dr. Poul Bondesen and the very supportive efforts of Dr. Poul Hansen who hosted the 1994 IBAC symposium in Møls.


This is a rather formal start to the new Biophon. I hope to expand in the next issue with more contributions from members, including thumbnail sketches of activities in specific countries or in particular topic areas.

Letters to the Editor would be very welcome especially putting forward ideas for raising the profile of Bioacoustics generally.

The next issue will be in January 1997.

Last but by no means least
I know there is plenty of talent out there.
Are there any artistic souls prepared to try?

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Web Edition by G.Pavan, August 1996. Please send your comments to