EU Approves Copyright Extension, Despite Evidence Of The Harm It Does

from the what-a-shame dept

It's a huge shame, but the EU Parliament has voted to extend copyright on performances from 50 to 70 years despite the fact that this breaks the deal made with the public, goes against the entire purpose of copyright law and has been shown to cause significant harm to the music business. The various member states still need to agree to this individually, but it's ridiculous that it could even get this far. This is a huge boost for some record labels and some big name musicians, who will simply pad their earnings at the expense of new and struggling musicians. If you want a sense of how ridiculous the whole thing is, just read this section of the linked article:
The measure must still be passed by individual countries, and even if this is done by this summer, only recordings made in the 50 years before that point will qualify for the extended copyright.

This means that Sir Cliff [Richard] will lose control of income from his first hit, Move It, as well as from Living Doll, his fourth single, written by Lionel Bart and recorded in late April 1959, which sealed Cliff's place as Britain's answer to Elvis Presley.

This will not necessarily dismay him. Sir Cliff was unavailable for comment yesterday at his holiday retreat in Barbados, but when he travelled to Brussels last year for talks on the proposals he said: "I'm absolutely fed up with singing Living Doll but I have sung it constantly since 1959 because every time I sing it live, it generates sales of the original record and royalties to me."
Poor Cliff Richard. He's at his holiday retreat in the Bahamas, consoling himself over the fact he no longer has to sing a song he hates just to generate royalty checks... but his other songs from 50 years ago will just keep paying off.


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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 7:34pm

    Why do I not get continual payment for the flipping of burgers performed twenty years ago?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 9:39pm

    Burgers in perpetuity

    You're not getting paid for those burger flips 20 years ago because no one has figured out a way to padlock the bun and only give a key out to the people who can find you and give you money. Excellent point and I think this is very similar to what the artists are asking. If everyone asked for these terms for their work the world would be a fantastic place...

     

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    Felix Pleșoianu, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 10:38pm

    *shrug* I had forgotten Cliff Richards exists at all. In 10 or 20 years, who will remember The Beatles or ABBA, let alone Metallica? These overprotective artists who have never understood the true value of their own creations are shooting themselves in their respective feet. Then again, in 10 to 20 years they may be dead, so it makes sense they don't care. It's just sad that we'll still remember Mozart but not them.

    As for the young artists, I'm listening to Jamendo music right now. I found out about Jonathan Coulton from www.creativecommons.org. I learned of Minstrel Spirit from Magnatune. These are the kind of artists whose music will live on. Who have the record labels given us lately? The likes of Britney Spears?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 1:32am

    The opportunism of Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Paul McCartney and Roger Daltrey

    When scanning through the channels, I recently stopped on an interesting show detailing the top 100 songs from the 1980s. In addition to the song, and music video (if they had one) it also included a little "where are they now" blurb and short biography.

    Most of the featured artists left the industry all together for greener pastures. Some were actually appalled to be interviewed: noting that their musical career had no bearing on their current success as a vice president or director of a company. Some continue playing at corner dive bars, as such solace allows them to see it as what it originally was: a hobby.

    But a common theme for most of the bands and artists interviewed was an almost distaste for the music and industry that made them famous. The ones who do continue to make music seem to have a staple: they only play their own work. Perhaps they do this out of fear of being served paperwork for performing, expanding upon, or re-interpreting others work. In such a situation, it seems likely that the copyright thing that keeps getting in the way.

    When it comes to extending copyright, I believe that the court of public opinion has spoken, and has spoken quite loudly as of late. So it's no surprise that draconian solutions are consistently pushed forward with such fervent secrecy, often with little or no input from the public.

    A friend once told me, it isn't how good your recipe is, it's how well it's put together and presented to the customer for purchase. Sometimes, you can surprise yourself if you allow for a little creativity, and sometimes this creativity is found outside of the four walls of a sound booth. But to appropriate that a song is ever complete, perfect, and can't be improved upon and become new works as it was originally created in the 1960s, can be considered injudicious.

    To purport that this breaks the deal made with the public, seems like a reasonable deduction. And this is quite possibly why input is often hand-picked, and certainly not solicited. Even their own current employees, or those that went on to become a Vice President of a firm won't ever be asked to provide an attestation.

    But then again, who would actually take Britney Spears with any amount of credibility if she got up before lawmakers and provided testimony requesting her desire to ensure royalty checks will cover her and her children's living expenses until she veritably goes bald and qualifies for Social Security. It seems, on one level or another, that's what was approved.

     

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    Tor, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 4:38am

    And it could have been even worse...

    And don't forget that this is a compromise - the original proposal was for 95 years of protection. A young swedish MEP (Christoffer Fjellner) put it like this:

    "Honestly, what 25 year old musician will refrain from recording a CD just because he is 'only' guaranteed revenue on it until he is 75, and not until he is 120 years old? No, this is a stupid proposal."

    People need to start discuss the moral grounds of copyright. Is it a natural right or is it based on utilitaristic grounds? I say definitively the latter, one only needs to think of the american constitution: "to promote the progress of science and useful arts". From there one can go on to discuss whether the means (current copyright legislation) is the best way to achieve the goal (access for the public to many high-quality works, preferably not at the expense of other valuable things, such as the right to privacy).

     

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    Mechwarrior, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 5:09am

    There is a distinct level of disinformation and propaganda around this extension. The most important fact is that the artists get nothing. The record companies pay them , they usually dont get the money from anyone other than their employers. The record companies are the ones that collect on royalties. Why do you think the Beetles , for decades, had their entire catalogue of music latched on to Michael Jackson? Its because they didnt "own" the music, their recording company did. And just the same, their recording company keeps the money and gives the living members of the Beetles money.

    Frankly, this is only good for most bands that play the lowest common denominator of music, who consequently are usually the most popular.

     

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    Luís Carvalho, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 6:32am

    But...

    But... How? How is this even, remotely, in the actual interest of the artists?

    This is done with only the labels interest.

    Artists and actual producers of the work in question, are the least of their worries and concerns, at most, they provide the public excuse.

    The only REAL interest is to allow the labels to keep a FIRM grip on their "DIVINE RIGHT" to rent the media. Nothing else.

    Anyone that pays them, is the one to blame. Without those, none of this would happen.

    Ok, you can argue that all this is happening because of the free alternatives. But, that's all they are, alternatives. To their users, it really doesn't matter if the copyright is 8,000 years or "forever minus a day", it's meaningless.

    So, who actually cares for this? The artists? Their offspring? Or, the shareholders of the labels, studios and etc...?

    I believe that copyright is not only obsolete, it's unnecessary. You do something, make sure you get paid for it. ONCE. You have to repeat it? Get paid again. That's it.

    Now, somebody cares enough about your work, and records it, shares it, and tells more people about it. Chances are, you'll be asked more often to repeat it, and, get paid for it.

    Anything else, is preposterous.

    If you do something that is irrepeatable, and it gets recorded, what right do you have to ask for rights upon it's reproduction? If even YOU can't repeat it.

    This actualy reminds me of a philosofy lesson. When you present a argument, that depends of other arguments, if you contest one of the bottom, does the rest stay? If not, then your argument is null. The same happens here. The whole system is dependent on the right of the artists to be protected from one another copying their work. Because if you could reproduce a artist work, you may not be as creative, but you are is equal technicaly, and therefore also a artist. But, the extrapolation has been made to the public not being able to copy the artists work, that has no grounds whatsoever.

    Just abolish the darn thing...

     

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    PaulT (profile), Apr 25th, 2009 @ 7:04am

    It's worth noting that Cliff did a cover version of Living Doll with the cast of the TV show The Young Ones in the early 80s, so he'll still get royalties from that version. It's also worth correcting the misconception that idiots like this have - a work going out of copyright does not mean that the original artist cannot make money from it. It simply means that they no longer have the monopoly.

    What's concerning here of course is the culture that gets locked up by these things. The "name" artists who have had ongoing recognition have little to worry about from 50 year old works going out of copyright. Unless they were planning to retire off future royalties, in which case you have to ask what they've been doing in the intervening 50 years and with the royalties earned there.

    The problem is that not every song that was good 50 years ago was successful, and not every successful song is currently releasable due to copyright issues. Any country that extends copyright by 20 years under this decision has just sacrificed 20 years worth of culture to appease those who are already making huge amounts of money from 50 year old works, and who will probably not produce any new work.

     

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    Elvis (profile), Apr 25th, 2009 @ 7:18am

    Being from Portugal, it bother's me that a handfull of people are making these decisions for every other nation in the EU.

    More and more I'm seeing american style lobbying in europe (that for me is nothing more that legalized bribing) that in the end will continue to award singers/performers that did one good thing in their life(song, wahtever) and will live off the royalties from just a couple of songs for the rest of their life.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 12:18pm

    Do artists celebrate the extension of Government Welfare in the Bahamas?

    After reading the article again
    ( http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article6157660.ece ) I may have picked up on something new.

    I wonder if the artists in the article have come to believe it's something of a government-sponsored welfare system.

    While every licensing contract can vary wildly, the numbers I've seen describe that for every CD sold, around 8%-12% is what the artist ultimately sees. With 8 to 12 cents on every pound collected being appropriated to the group represented by testimony-providers, it seems like an incredibly expensive welfare system to maintain.

    Let's assume this happened in another context. What happened during the India Tsunami was a horrible disaster, and the Red Cross did a fantastic job providing aid. But if thousands of people learned that for every £100 in aid the Red Cross collected, only £12 actually went to fund relief efforts in India, I suppose many people would be searching for the ones on payroll who brought caviar.

    Unfortunately, this appears to be the way the system is setup, and it's amazing that not one of the lawmakers had a backbone to ask the hard questions, requested actual facts that were audited by third parties, be admitted under penalty of perjury of what percentage of collected monies are delivered to artists. Instead, a 10 minute testimony about the "poor starving artists", who remain on holiday in the Bahamas took precedence. Seems a little Cheeky.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX3S1f_7dI4

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 12:45pm

    Character of the EU

    I'm not really too familiar with the workings of the EU, but I've learned that you can tell a lot about the nature and character of a person or organization by not listening to what they say but looking at what they do, especially on important issues.

    This action really tells me a lot about the nature and character of the EU, and it isn't good. I have no respect for corrupt, dishonest organizations, therefore I have none for the EU. All the member countries should be aware that this reflects poorly on all of them by association whether they supported this particular action or not. So when the EU starts doing stuff like this then the member countries should reconsider their membership. By remaining, they show their support for this action despite any words to the contrary.

     

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    Leigh (profile), Apr 25th, 2009 @ 1:03pm

    Just a note...

    Barbados is not in the Bahamas. It's in the Southern Caribbean, just east of the Windward Isles, and it is its own nation, not part of an island chain.

    Great post though! I have often pointed out to people that much of the debate about file sharing and copyright law only exists because of our strange assumption that popular musicians and actors deserve to be exceedingly wealthy and live lives of luxury.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 1:05pm

    Re:

    "Why do I not get continual payment for the flipping of burgers performed twenty years ago?"

    Have you made the proper political "contributions"?

     

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    Peter (profile), Apr 25th, 2009 @ 2:13pm

    Apologies

    That bill was proposed by Charlie McCreevy. He used to be our Finance Minister and was a huge contributing factor that led to the mess our country's finances are in today, so it's not a big surprise that he's up to no good in Brussels.

    Apologies on behalf of Ireland!

    And to the person who suggested that countries should leave the EU because of something like this, thanks for the chuckle!!

     

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    Bloodyscot, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 4:14pm

    Just wrong

    This is just wrong, when the copyrights were made the artist knew how long it ran but now ever 20years just add another 20yrs and alot of campaign money gets passed around. This is bad for new artists because record companies don't need to sign many new artist that cost alot of money upfront plus studio time when they make alot off of old songs. I think the labels are afraid to make good music now days because current artist have better lawyers and would get abetter deal while hurting the oldie sells.

     

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    Overcast, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 5:08pm

    It's not about the music business per se so much, or what damage it might do to music itself.

    It's about control.

     

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    Tron, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 6:19pm

    This has come to be possible because people choose to politicians to watch the best of them in the show. They are fixing the taxes to secure their works in this worldwide opera house. Artists are gone out of the scenes.

    Childs, stop playing with the guns. Let us use the votes!

     

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    Tubagus Rusmawan, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 6:30pm

    Thanks for this post, my friend will be so exciting to check this. I really appreciate your work over here.

     

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    Scott Gardner (profile), Apr 25th, 2009 @ 9:17pm

    Re:

    Well, the simple answer is that while you were flipping burgers, you agreed to be paid on an hourly basis, so that's how you were paid.

    But for people like recording artists and authors, where the value of their work is based on how much money that work is going to make for someone else well into the future, royalty payments make sense.

    Other than a relatively small advance payment, publishing houses aren't going to want to pay a huge up-front fee for a work that may be a total flop, and authors aren't going to want to accept a few thousands dollars in payment if they know their work is going to be worth millions to the publishing house. In these cases, royalty payments make sense. The more valuable the author's work turns out to be to the publisher, the more he makes.

    But that's not to say that royalty payments are the only way to go in this type of situation. Look at movies. In most cases, the stars are paid a flat fee, regardless of how well the move ends up doing. I don't honestly know why this model works for movie studios and not publishing houses, but it seems to.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 10:02pm

    Re: Re:

    Well, the simple answer is that while you were flipping burgers, you agreed to be paid on an hourly basis, so that's how you were paid.

    Are you suggesting that burger flippers have the option of lifetime royalties? If so, I think you're either being disingenuous or you need to put the pipe down.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 10:05pm

    Re: Apologies

    Apologies on behalf of Ireland!

    Apologies not accepted. You deserve the financial mess you got and more.

     

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    Scott Gardner (profile), Apr 25th, 2009 @ 10:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, I was just pointing out the obvious answer to his (rather inane) question - burger flippers don't get paid on a royalty basis, because royalties don't make sense in the case of unskilled labor.

    Now, there *are* some people out there being paid hourly wages or annual salaries that could be paid on a royalty basis instead. Software designers spring to mind as an example. In fact, that's exactly what software designers are doing when they sell apps on the iTunes store, for example. But those projects are usually the work of a single creator or at most a relatively small team. For much larger projects, royalties would be problematic because it's hard to quantize how much a particular programmer's work contributes to the success of the project as a whole.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 11:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, I was just pointing out the obvious answer to his (rather inane) question - burger flippers don't get paid on a royalty basis, because royalties don't make sense in the case of unskilled labor.

    The point being made in the original comment was that it is unfair that burger flippers indeed don't have that option. You countered by suggesting otherwise. Way to backtrack.

    As to skilled vs. unskilled, I've seen burger flippers who were definitely more skilled than some "artists", so that distinction doesn't really fly either (as if there would be any moral justification for it anyway).

     

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    Scott Gardner (profile), Apr 25th, 2009 @ 11:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Re-read my original post. AC asked why he wasn't still getting paid for burgers he flipped 20 years ago. I just pointed out that he was paid hourly, so why would he expect lifetime payments? I never said that a royalty-based alternative for burger flippers exists.

    Seriously, how would royalties even be applicable/appropriate in such a case? Are people still eating the burgers he prepared 20 years ago?

    And don't get your panties in a twist about the whole "skilled/unskilled" thing. "Unskilled labor" is not a derogatory term - it's just a description of a certain type of work. And I still claim that unskilled labor doesn't lend itself to a royalty-based payment system, because the results of their labor are usually fleeting. A flipped burger is eaten and is then gone. A freshly-mown lawn grows ragged again over time. The work that's performed doesn't have any lasting value for anyone or provide profits for anyone over an extended period of time, so royalties don't make much sense, do they?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 12:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    AC asked why he wasn't still getting paid for burgers he flipped 20 years ago.

    Did you really think the point was literally about burgers? I guess it just went right over your head then.

    I just pointed out that he was paid hourly, so why would he expect lifetime payments? I never said that a royalty-based alternative for burger flippers exists.

    Umm, you said that he "agreed" to it, as if though he had a choice. I have news for you, most hourly workers don't have a choice in how they are paid.

    Seriously, how would royalties even be applicable/appropriate in such a case? Are people still eating the burgers he prepared 20 years ago?

    Seriously, you're just proving again that you missed the point. It wasn't really about "burgers" per se. I thought they taught about symbolic representations even in high school literature classes.

    But if you want to get literal anyway, then some of the matter contained in those burgers is probably still part of the consumer's body today (as if though it makes any difference).

    blah blah balh ...panties... blah blah blah... And I still claim that unskilled labor doesn't lend itself to a royalty-based payment system, because the results of their labor are usually fleeting.

    Oh really? And the building you're living in was built by "artists", huh? Or was it a "fleeting" thing that fell down as soon as it was built because it was built by hourly workers? No, I suspect it was built by hourly workers who don't get any further compensation even though it is still standing. So just because something was created by an hourly worker does not make it somehow inferior to something created by someone who calls themselves an artist. Nor is their work devoid of any lasting value. If you think otherwise, I suggest you go live on the streets for a while to develop an appreciation for the shelter produced by the fruits of the hourly worker.

     

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    Scott Gardner (profile), Apr 26th, 2009 @ 12:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: To Scott

    Umm - "hourly" and "unskilled" are not synonymous. And even though works created by unskilled workers can sometimes still have value years later, you're ignoring my second criteria - that the work continues to directly produce a profit for the person that commissioned the work in the first place.

    Do you really not see a difference between someone that nails a house frame together and an author that writes a book which is continually re-sold again and again at a profit for the publisher? How would you suggest that authors be paid? Hourly? An annual salary that entitles the publisher to everything that the author writes during the year? I think that an author's pay should be related to the amount of money his work is going to directly earn for the publisher. And the model that makes the most sense for that is a royalty arrangement.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 1:52am

    Re: Apologies

    No need to apologize. Do you have a source?

    I hate to go swatting flies into the night, but a potential connection presents something relatively unfortunate: An article from the distant past paints quite the picture of Bono, McGuinness, and McCreevy to be quite good pals.

    I found additional articles where McCreevy ended up returning campaign money to Bono for some tax thing that never went through, details are sketchy so I won't post a link here.

    But it would be helpful to research this further.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 2:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And don't get your panties in a twist about the whole "skilled/unskilled" thing. "Unskilled labor" is not a derogatory term

    I disagree. The higher you go up in this supposed "unskilled labor" food chain, it appears that you're more of a threat you are to creating new, market shifting business. It's quite fun, actually. :-)

    I held and been on conference calls with 17 Congresscritters this week that represent various states, and met with representatives (in person) from 4 states.

    You?

    Need a hug?

     

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    Scott Gardner (profile), Apr 26th, 2009 @ 2:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I really don't know what you're babbling about, but if you look up "unskilled laborer", I'm willing to bet you don't fit the accepted definition.

    And since you asked, in the past week I secured 200k in funding for a relatively tiny project I'm working on as a result of an in-person meeting with DARPA representatives, including the former Chief Scientist of the US Secret Service. This will allow me to easily finish up the experimental portion of my thesis, so I'm all set to graduate with my master's degree in applied physics in June. Then I go back to Virginia to continue my career as a Naval officer.

    No, I don't need a hug - thanks, though.

     

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    Steven, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 5:44am

    Written like someone with no comprehension of what intellectual property means. Maybe when you buy a house, you'd like that house to revert to public domain after 50 years. It's the same bloody thing. Extend copyrights indefinitely, that's my suggestion. Make it identical to any other property. I think my caveat would be that things such as literature should be protected as per the original document staying in the possession of the given copyright holder, whereas other writers should be allowed to write original works within the context of the story. ie, a story written within Tolkien world, but not the exact story duplicated without royalty payments to whomsoever entity, corporation, or individual that owns it.

    Intellectual property is challenging to protect, but it should be protected as vigorously as any physical property.

     

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    Steven, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 6:09am

    Oh yeah, some folks here have suggested a link between flipping hamburgers and putting together a CD. I suggest that you try putting together a CD, and then try flipping a hamburger. When you're finished either, let me know and let's see if you still hold the same opinion.

    Putting time and money into an album is an investment in time, energy, and money, which might never pay off. A single CD can cost tens of thousands of dollars, not including the time involved for the artists.

    I've heard people equate a CD to a business card. Again, it's a ridiculous comparison. It would take me 10-20 minutes to throw together a basic business card. I can then go into any Staples store and have a few thousand of them made for less than $100. Comparing this process to that of creating a CD is equally stupid to that of flipping burgers.

    People love entertainment, they just don't like paying for it, so they make excuses as to why it's OK to steal, or that the artists or their investors should lose value from their work because over time it becomes public domain.

    Bravo to the people at the RIAA and the EU who are doing everything they can to protect copyrights.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 6:15am

    If you can find someone that would enjoy a 20 year old burger, then I am sure they will pay you for it. I still like listening to 20 year old music.

     

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    dazz, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 7:21am

    do buskers infringe on copyright?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Apr 26th, 2009 @ 7:23am

    Re:

    Way to miss all the points being raised.

    1. Flipping a burger and recording a CD are both a single act that results in an end product. Nobody argues that the latter is a different and more difficult thing. Nobody would suggest that the hourly wage for both acts should be the same. But why is one act only rewarded by a single one-off payment while the other somehow needs to result in payment for over half a decade after the act is completed? That's the issue.

    2. Your business card example also misses the point. Regardless of whether a song takes longer to create than a business card, they cost similar amounts of money to reproduce after the original copy has been created. Why should one infinitely reproducible item carry a high margin while the other doesn't? Once the album has been recorded, it becomes a commodity, like a business card.

    3. "Bravo to the people at the RIAA and the EU who are doing everything they can to protect copyrights."

    Overprotection of those copyrights has led to me refusing to buy anything from RIAA members. I still buy plenty of music, but the $30+ per month that the RIAA, BPI and members of similar organisations used to get from me has been reduced to zero. Through legal means, by the way, I simply refuse to pay money to these organisations.

    Yeah, what a great success... Continuing to overprotect these "assets" is what's leading to new business models being pursued by artists and is what will ultimately kill the RIAA and its cronies. The music industry will still thrive, but without these toxic dinosaurs.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Apr 26th, 2009 @ 7:40am

    Re:

    The difference being that the architect, builders and landscapers who worked on the house don't get paid every time you resell or make alterations to the house.

    If music is to be treated like physical property, then the artists involved get paid like people who make physical property do. If they want the benefits that come with infinite replication of their work, then they give up some of the things that single physical entities would get. They can't have it both ways.

     

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  36.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Apr 26th, 2009 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re:

    Gah... Sunday typing...

    "Nobody argues that the latter is a different and more difficult thing."

    should read:

    "Nobody argues that the latter is NOT a different and more difficult thing."

    "half a decade" should of course read "half a century"....

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 7:56am

    "1. Flipping a burger and recording a CD are both a single act that results in an end product. Nobody argues that the latter is a different and more difficult thing. Nobody would suggest that the hourly wage for both acts should be the same. But why is one act only rewarded by a single one-off payment while the other somehow needs to result in payment for over half a decade after the act is completed? That's the issue."

    Are you serious? You can't see why a 50k + years of time off the lives of the major players involved as an investment should pay off in the long run while a burger shouldn't? This should be a no brainer, but you're hardly the only one who seem to be lacking in this. The guy who owns the burger joint gets money every time someone buys his burger. McDonald's owns the market, and their TMs and menus are well protected and will continue to see protection for as long as the company is owned by somebody. Comparing McDonalds to a band is more accurate, and perhaps a Big Mac could be compared to a #1 song. The folks who deliver and print the discs themselves get an hourly wage while the owner of the franchise or CD get their cut for as long as they own the company/copyright.

    Creating a popular CD is in no way as easy as creating a business card. The CD is a product of an awful lot of hard work, a tremendous amount of talent and skill, and a huge amount of organization to make it profitable. As I said already, it is in essence a the equivalent of a business, not that of a burger flipper. Even someone we may disregard as a respectable artist - ie Britney Spears, has decades of training behind her, all kinds of artists including song writers, performers, etc. The CDs deserve to be protected by whatever means necessary just as all of McDonald's stuff is protected.

    Another retarded comparison I hear is how patents get only 17 years or so protection. Again, this completely lacks vision. Elvis did not have his invention protected at all. Other people picked up on rock and roll immediately after they saw his success. There is no way to patent it at all. Imitators can come along right away and emulate any given artist. The only thing that artists and the companies are asking for is complete ownership of their work. It's all too common for these types of websites to deride them for what should lawfully be theirs in totality for as long as possible, just as a landlord and his descendants may own any given piece of property.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    rjk, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 9:41am

    The only thing that artists and the companies are asking for is complete ownership of their work. It's all too common for these types of websites to deride them for what should lawfully be theirs in totality for as long as possible, just as a landlord and his descendants may own any given piece of property.

    No creator on the face of the earth has ever created anything out of nothing. No creator alive today created the alphabet, words, notes, scales, style, genre, etc. on their own. Every creator builds on the work of others. So on what basis should any creator be able to have 'complete ownership?'

    Disney was built the shoulders of the public domain, why should it not also be expected to contribute to the public domain?

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Dave, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 10:34am

    Burgers, yeah!

    Great point. "Artists" are just special, I guess. I'm a musician, and even a geezer by many estimates, but it's blindingly obvious that copyright laws are ridiculously out-of-date.

    Sometimes Europe is smarter than us. It's funny to see that they can be just as dumb.

     

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  40.  
    icon
    Scott Gardner (profile), Apr 26th, 2009 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    If the busker hasn't obtained a public performance license, than probably so.

    But there's very little oversight when it comes to street performers, because the system in place for collecting royalties for public performances is set up for collecting payment from the venue where the performance is held, not from the individual artists giving the performance. In the case of buskers, the "venue" isn't well-defined, and there are just so many of them that enforcement would be problematic, to say the least.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 11:18am

    Putting aside the proposed extension of copyright terms, it is indeed disappointing that both portions of the article and many of the comments associated therewith exhibit a fundamental misunderstanding of what copyright actually entails. For once it would be a real pleasure to read substantive comments, rather than the all too typical rants.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 12:47pm

    Re:

    Creating a popular CD is in no way as easy as creating a business card.
    Dear Tard,
    Different CDs have different amounts of work put into them. Some have less than that which goes into creating a burger, some more. But all CDs get the same copyright protection regardless of amount of work involved. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous.
    Elvis did not have his invention protected at all.
    Just what invention would that be?
    Other people picked up on rock and roll immediately after they saw his success.
    You seem to be confusing rock-a-billy with rock and roll. Take a music history class sometime and learn the difference. You'll also learn that Elvis didn't "invent" either one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 12:59pm

    Re:

    Oh yeah, some folks here have suggested a link between flipping hamburgers and putting together a CD. I suggest that you try putting together a CD, and then try flipping a hamburger. When you're finished either, let me know and let's see if you still hold the same opinion.

    Heh, I could make a rap CD single with far less effort than it would take me to make a burger. There are even decks that will record direct to disk. Grab a microphone, plug it in, insert disk, mouth off some crap (being sure to include lots of profanity), eject disk, done.

    A burger, on the other hand, would probably take a little longer.

    ...so they make excuses as to why it's OK to steal,

    So who's stealing? You need to explain that one.

     

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  44.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 26th, 2009 @ 1:19pm

    Re:

    Written like someone with no comprehension of what intellectual property means

    I'm quite familiar with intellectual property. However, your response suggests that it is you who is unfamiliar with what the term means, because you seem to think it's identical to actual property. That suggests a near total ignorance of both what it is today and what it was intended to do.

    That's scary.

    Maybe when you buy a house, you'd like that house to revert to public domain after 50 years. It's the same bloody thing.

    It's not even close to the same bloody thing, and saying so only exposes a massive amount of ignorance.

    The reason for putting creative works into the public domain have been well documented since copyright first came about. A creative work can built upon without loss to the original creator. That's not the same with a scarce good -- such as a house.

    If you can't understand the difference, you have no credibility commenting on the subject.

    Extend copyrights indefinitely, that's my suggestion. Make it identical to any other property.

    Fine. Then if I buy a CD, I should be free to make a copy of it and sell it -- just as I buy a chair, I am free to make a copy of it and then sell that copy.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 5:16pm

    Re:

    because flippin' burgers isn't an art. Artwork you pay for, any monkey can flip a burger.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 6:14pm

    Re: Putting Together a CD

    Steven wrote:

    Oh yeah, some folks here have suggested a link between flipping hamburgers and putting together a CD. I suggest that you try putting together a CD, and then try flipping a hamburger. When you're finished either, let me know and let's see if you still hold the same opinion.

    Audio engineers play a crucial part in putting together a CD. As do the skilled folks who operate the CD-mastering plant. How come they don’t get royalties for their work?

    And what about the manufacture of hamburgers? That takes a lot of skills and high-tech equipment, not to mention the design of the stoves, electrical safety certification, health inspection etc. How come the folks who work on those things don’t get royalties for every burger flipped?

    Next stupid argument, please.

     

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  47.  
    icon
    Scott Gardner (profile), Apr 26th, 2009 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Re: Putting Together a CD

    Audio engineers play a crucial part in putting together a CD. As do the skilled folks who operate the CD-mastering plant. How come they don't get royalties for their work? And what about the manufacture of hamburgers? That takes a lot of skills and high-tech equipment, not to mention the design of the stoves, electrical safety certification, health inspection etc. How come the folks who work on those things don't get royalties for every burger flipped?


    I suspect the answer to your question lies in the fact that the individual stove designers, electrical inspectors, health inspectors, audio engineers etcetera generally don't possess a level of skill that is so unique or extraordinary in their field that they have the influence to demand compensation in the form of royalties. The production of a successful album requires an audio engineer, but is there any *specific* engineer whose skill is so great that obtaining his services will "make or break" the project? Most likely not. So the studio is free to find another engineer that isn't going to demand royalty payments.

    As for the stove designer, if he has truly come up with a design so unique and so valuable that the burger company absolutely must have it, he may well be able to negotiate to license the design to the burger company in exchange for royalty payments, rather than selling his services outright for a flat fee.

    Lastly, the people that do electrical inspections and run the disc-manufacturing facilities might prefer to be paid up front, rather than hoping for trickling payments over the next few decades. It's not as if they're sitting on vast personal fortunes and can afford to take a chance on the future success of a particular project. After all, if some stranger came up to you and asked for your services in exchange for a percentage of possible future earnings, would you jump at the chance? Or would you rather just take a check and go the hell home?

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 9:59pm

    Re: Putting Together a CD

    Scott Gardner wrote:

    I suspect the answer to your question lies in the fact that the individual stove designers, electrical inspectors, health inspectors, audio engineers etcetera generally don't possess a level of skill that is so unique or extraordinary in their field that they have the influence to demand compensation in the form of royalties.

    That’s circular reasoning.

    The production of a successful album requires an audio engineer, but is there any *specific* engineer whose skill is so great that obtaining his services will "make or break" the project?

    Yes. Audio engineers have reputations just as much as musicians do.

    It's not as if they're sitting on vast personal fortunes and can afford to take a chance on the future success of a particular project.

    And how many musicians are sitting on such “vast personal fortunes”?

    After all, if some stranger came up to you and asked for your services in exchange for a percentage of possible future earnings, would you jump at the chance?

    Isn’t that exactly what record labels expect the musicians they sign up to do?

     

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  49.  
    icon
    Scott Gardner (profile), Apr 26th, 2009 @ 10:24pm

    Re: Re: Putting Together a CD



    That's circular reasoning.


    No, it's not. It's a simple fact that the "behind the scenes" workers (burger flippers, lawn mowers, machinery operators) tend to come from a much larger pool of available labor and don't have as much power to negotiate. If the bosses don't want to pay them royalties, they'll easily find someone else that doesn't demand them.

    Yes. Audio engineers have reputations just as much as musicians do.


    Seriously, how often do you hear of an album being abandoned because the audio engineer backed out?? They're important, but they're replaceable.


    And how many musicians are sitting on such "vast personal fortunes"?


    It's more common with the musicians than it is with the support staff, I can tell you that. Getting small royalty checks over the next 50 years for work you do today works a lot better if you already have your immediate financial needs taken care of.

    Isn't that exactly what record labels expect the musicians they sign up to do?


    And I never claimed it was a good deal for the newly-signed musicians. They'd probably rather be paid up front as well. But getting them to agree to royalties plays on their hopes of "striking it rich" with a big album, and it also allows the studios to screw the artists by hiding all the profits and/or eating away at them with "expenses" so they end up paying the artists very little. Royalties are much more favorable for the Madonnas and Stephen Kings of the world - they know that no matter what dreck they may put out, it'll still sell a ton of copies, so there's less risk involved in basing their pay on a percentage of sales.

     

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  50.  
    icon
    bikey (profile), Apr 27th, 2009 @ 1:53am

    Re: Burgers in perpetuity

    Are there, can there be, two anonymous cowards, or have we started conversing with ourselves? But yes, why does singing a song one night lead to perpetual income while flipping the burg to perpetual poverty. Lobbying power? Flippers unite!

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    bikey, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 1:55am

    Re:

    This is not about the Beatles - they will have copyrights in their works whoever sings them. This is about one singer/dancer/juggler, one night. How creative is that? This is pure lobbying, and it's not European lobbying (unless you consider Carla a lobbyist...).

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    bikey, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 1:57am

    Re:

    This is not about the Beatles - they will have copyrights in their works whoever sings them. This is about one singer/dancer/juggler, one night. How creative is that? This is pure lobbying, and it's not European lobbying (unless you consider Carla a lobbyist...).

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    bikey, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 2:02am

    Re: eu and portugal

    How right you are on all counts. Why should Brussels decide (as an old time fan and teacher of the EU, I have to admit it has all gotten out of hand), why should bribery be legal if done by corporations and their henchmen, why should the EU respond to US lobbyists and enact legislation that has zero benefit to Europeans (growth of their orgs in Brussels over the past five years has been phenomenal) and why should some singer (and worse, his/her lazy heirs) be guaranteed lifetime income for what may have been grandpa's fling on stage. It makes no sense, except to the lobbyists who invented it.

     

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  54.  
    icon
    bikey (profile), Apr 27th, 2009 @ 2:05am

    Re: Character of the EU

    The EU has kept Europeans for bashing each other (which they previously did whenever the opportunity presented itself) for over 50 years and encouraged millions of people to think beyond their own little cultural pen - that's no small potatoes. The culprits here are US lobbies operating in Brussels and the Commission for responding to them. Calm down anonymous coward.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    bikey, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 2:07am

    Re: Re:

    And any monkey can sing a song, or wiggle their rear end in front of a camera - it's all 'performance' within the meaning of the act.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 5:18am

    If a million monkeys sitting at a million typewriters over a period of a million years will produce the entire works of Shakespeare ... will those monkeys get PAID ?

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Tgeigs, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 6:44am

    Re: Apologies

    As an American Irishman, I forgive you, but I require two admissions to the Bushmills brewery in pennence. Just don't let that bullshit happen again.

     

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  58.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Apr 27th, 2009 @ 6:46am

    Burger flippin art

    To all those who say burger flipping is not an art, you guys sound stupid.
    You either don't eat out much, or don't get out much, or are just lying to everybody to try to prove your point.
    Over the years I have eaten at many a food establishment. This ranges from McDonalds to high class 50$ for just your meal places.

    I can tell you without any doubt in my mind that cooking is indeed an art. Just to use McDonalds as the example, I have had truly delicious Big Macs. And yet, I have gone to even the same store before, and had a Big Mac that just tasted horrible. Same place, who knows if it was the same people, but its certainly the same meal, with a completely different taste or texture based on how long its cooked any everything.

    So stop saying the burger flippin or cooking isn't an art. Unless all food tastes the same to you. You just make yourself sound ignorant about food.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Tgeigs, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 7:40am

    Re: Burger flippin art

    I think the distinction is that a burger, regardless of it's intrinsic artistic value, is not reconsumable in its artistic form the way that music/movies/paintings/etc. are.

    Now I'm certainly not on the side of copyright here, but I do believe that would be the distinctive factor.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    The infamous Joe, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re:

    Well, the simple answer is that while you were flipping burgers, you agreed to be paid on an hourly basis, so that's how you were paid.

    Yes, and the artists agreed to have a monopoly for X number of years, and when the time started to get closers, they *changed* the contract.

    How is that fair?

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 10:37am

    If a true "limited time" works for pharmaceuticals becoming generic. Why does "limited time" have to be hundreds of years for music?

     

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  62.  
    icon
    Scott Gardner (profile), Apr 27th, 2009 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I *don't* think it's fair, but that wasn't the question being asked.

    Personally, I'd like to see all works enter the public domain upon the creators' death. That poses a problem when the "creator" is a corporation like Disney, though. In a case like that, you'd have to do something different, such as having the work enter the public domain "X" years after its creation. I think a good value of "X" is somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-50 years, personally.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Streets were made by hourly workers.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2009 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re: Burgers in perpetuity

    Anonymous Coward is the name the Techdirt system puts in as a name if any commenter is so cowardly/lazy as not to write in their name.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Apr 28th, 2009 @ 5:34am

    Re: Re: Burger flippin art

    I see what you are saying, and would agree, but all those people are completely downplaying the effort that goes into food like just any old bloke can cook anything perfectly no problem. And I think anybody who has taste buds would not agree with that, even though that is how they are treating it.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Barack Obama, Apr 28th, 2009 @ 4:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Burgers in perpetuity

    Anonymous Coward is the name the Techdirt system puts in as a name if any commenter is so cowardly/lazy as not to write in their name.

    Which is why I always put in my real name.
    -Barack Obama

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Son of Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ...and you can tell that by how many hours it took them to make them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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