How Copyright Extension Is Harming Classical Music
from the for-shame dept
With all the talk of the EU's decision to retroactively extend copyright from 50 to 70 years, despite no evidence that this is needed or useful, very little attention was paid to the massive harm this causes. Multiple studies showed that such an extension wouldn't provide much, if any, money to musicians, but most of the money would actually be diverted from artists to major record labels. And it gets even worse. Copycense points us to some reports about how copyright extension is guaranteeing that plenty of classical music won't be heard:
Last week, the EU ratified a new law extending copyright in music recordings to 70 years. That, argued Bob Stanley, was a bad thing for most musicians, and for music itself: much would now remain locked in the vaults of the big record companies. Stanley had been looking at the world of rock and pop, but PristineAudio, who runs a label specialising in out-of-copyright recordings, explained the ruling had far-reaching implications for classical music as well. "One major release of ours earlier this year illustrates well something this new act most certainly will kill off. A historic concert given in 1960 by British conductor Leopold Stokowski with the Philadelphia Orchestra … fell into the public domain in Europe [in 2011], and we were able to transcribe the conductor's own copies of the master tapes, prepared for him by the radio station, and release in the highest quality a concert that has long been of great interest to collectors.That's not the "irony" of copyright. It's the design of copyright, which has always been about granting monopolies to a few players, while limiting the market. It's a protectionist plan designed to protect a few industry leaders, rather than do what it says on the face of the box: promoting progress by increasing cultural output.
"The irony of copyright law as it stands is that historic orchestral broadcasts are often almost impossible to reissue by anyone, until they pass into the public domain. The standard contract with an orchestra would allow for an initial broadcast and then a single repeat transmission. Thereafter, a new contract would need to be drawn up with the musicians for any further use of that recording. Trying today to track down the performers (or their estates) for a symphony orchestra that existed in 1960 is well-nigh impossible."