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.

"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."
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.


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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2011 @ 11:08pm

    Public domain theft should be a criminal offense.

     

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    charliebrown (profile), Sep 27th, 2011 @ 11:54pm

    Rachmaninov

    There's some reordings of Rachmaninov's Piano Concertos performed by Rachmaninov that Naxos released under their public domain "Naxos Historical" label. I wonder if they're still available? I'd love to get them but my local record store wouldn't order them for me.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 12:33am

    I think the original idea behind copyright was not such a terrible thing, its the evil warped thing it has become that is a horrible thing.
    I see nothing wrong with J.K. Rowling having X years of exclusive use of Harry Potter. This was a work she put great effort into. She is entitled to have the fruits of her labor. In return for we the people granting her the exclusive rights for X time, we get the payback of a young fan of the series can then read the story to a grandchild or great grandchild as a classic story from the public domain. Where a new generation of people might be inspired to use elements of her groundwork and create something wonderful and new, adding to the whole. And they should have copyright on their work for X time, for the same pay off.

    X should not be a number than allows a writers great great great great great step grand nephew (the only survivor) claim the rights are his, and still demand payments. Copyright should benefit only the creator, not corporations.
    And yes if the creator should happen to die young, the rights should pass to the heirs, but they do not get a new start time for X.
    X needs to be set and left to a reasonable number, so that we are not waiting 10 generations before we get the payback for what we gave up.

    Our culture is growing hollow, and they keep making the same movies on the same ideas but this time with aliens, next time with pirates, then zombies, then ninjas... because all of the amazing ideas someone had about using a story they heard as a child... are locked in a closet in a corporate vault, slowly being bled dry to get a few more coins. As they lengthen the time to bleed them more, they still have yet to notice there are no new ideas, no new amazing worlds with new stories to tell, because they took it all away and forbid you to dream about it unless you pay them... again.

     

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      Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 12:35am

      Re: I think the original idea behind copyright was not such a terrible thing

      The original idea behind copyright was to give book publishers a monopoly. You don’t think that was “such a terrible thing”?

       

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        Tor (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 1:10am

        Re: Re: I think the original idea behind copyright was not such a terrible thing

        I hear this being pointed out quite often, but I don't think it's a very strong argument. After all, you could say that taxes were originally collected by ancient kings to enrich themselves and the higher classes of society and for that reason all taxes are inherently bad even in the current setting.

        Although there can be problems with both copyright and taxes I don't find that starting point very helpful. Just like the purpose of taxes has shifted over time, so has the purpose of copyright and I think one has to acknowledge that fact.

         

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          Richard (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 1:13am

          Re: Re: Re: I think the original idea behind copyright was not such a terrible thing

          Just like the purpose of taxes has shifted over time, so has the purpose of copyright and I think one has to acknowledge that fact.

          The problem is that it hasn't. The PR says that it has but then the PR always said that even in the time of Queen Ann.

           

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            The eejit (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 1:25am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I think the original idea behind copyright was not such a terrible thing

            No, I'd agree with Tor on that: it was originally designed to promote progress; now it's a tool of pure control. For example, if Chuck Lorre died right now, some of his works wouldn't be in the public domain until the end of this century (should humanity live that long).

            That's so far beyond fucked up it's not funny.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 1:40am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I think the original idea behind copyright was not such a terrible thing

              you're only saying that because you're not the one doing the fucking.

               

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                Anonymoys Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 8:47am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I think the original idea behind copyright was not such a terrible thing

                And where does it say 'bend over' in the Constitution? The UK is a different story, so where does it say 'bend over' in the Treaty of Anne?

                 

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              Richard (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 1:50am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I think the original idea behind copyright was not such a terrible thing

              it was originally designed to promote progress

              That was never more than a front.

              Plus the mean of the words "promote the progress" in 17th century England included the concept of "suppress the undesirable" (ie censorship)- we have put a modern interpretation on those words. That was not the way they were interpreted at the time.

               

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              Nina Paley (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 2:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I think the original idea behind copyright was not such a terrible thing

              it was originally designed to promote progress

              Actually it wasn't. The rhetoric was always there, though.

               

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                That Anonymous Coward (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 2:54am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I think the original idea behind copyright was not such a terrible thing

                Thank you for that link Nina... maybe when I am not amazingly tired I can get through it.

                 

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                The eejit (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 3:05am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I think the original idea behind copyright was not such a terrible thing

                My mistake, I forgot the "dick quotes".

                 

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                Richard (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 3:37am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I think the original idea behind copyright was not such a terrible thing

                The rhetoric was always there, though.

                Well actually the rhetoric evolved over they years as the lobbyists noticed what worked for them. Early on this "promote the progress" thing was actually more about censoring the bad than encouraging the good - commentary on the 1643 "Humble Remonstances of the Stationers Company" includes the following:
                "The stationers began by stressing the two main benefits to a well regulated press. The first, they argued lay in the "advancement of wholesome knowledge". In this regard, they continued, that "[t]he main care is to appoint severe Examiners for the licensing of things profitable, and suppressing of things harmfull";"

                By 1706 however this had transformed in to the now familiar argument about incentives to write books.

                 

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                That Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 11:27pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I think the original idea behind copyright was not such a terrible thing

                Just wanted to say thank you again Nina, it was information I was not fully aware of and it was a very interesting read.

                 

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          SomeRandomPerson, Oct 2nd, 2011 @ 10:35am

          Re: Re: Re: I think the original idea behind copyright was not such a terrible thing

          I think his point was fair use. This was debating during the founding of america, whether copyright should exist or not.

          For example there was a time when your property was considered yours from the ground to the sky. After the invention of the airplane, this became unreasonable. commercial airlines would have to get permission from thousands of people to fly over their property when traveling from one destination to another.

          In regards to copyright, yes the artist should be paid for what their work is worth, however it should be for a limited time and with in reason. Only the artist or copyright owner can sell the content for profit. Their rights should be limited.

          Copyright owner(s), should be prevented from sueing indivuals who "pirate" content for non profit. We also need to weigh the cultural cost of giving artist and major labels to much power. When considering what is reasonable copyright.

           

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        Richard (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 2:28am

        Re: Re: I think the original idea behind copyright was not such a terrible thing

        The original idea behind copyright was to give book publishers a monopoly. You don’t think that was “such a terrible thing”?

        At the time there were arguments in its favour. The main one was that copyright allowed the printer to make a substantial effort in ensuring the accuracy of what was printed - because he would be safe from competition by those who were less careful of quality. Authors originally backed copyright mainly for this reason - as they were fed up with the errors in pirate versions.

        Of course modern digital technology makes this completely moot.

         

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        bikey, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 2:37am

        Re: Re: I think the original idea behind copyright was not such a terrible thing

        Yes, publishers (not authors), and yes, it was arguably a good thing, as it provided an incentive to publishers, but it was a short thing, and not designed to facilitate a life of leisure three generations down the road (e.g. Hugh Grant's life of leisure in 'About a Boy').

         

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      Jay (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 1:18am

      Re:

      TAC, no... No, no no, no no!

      We need to stop and explain Copyright for a second.

      First of all, JK Rowling was getting benefits in Scotland before she "got lucky" and created Harry Potter in 1998. There is no way in hell that copyright protection has assisted her in any way, shape or form. In fact, JK Rowling's books are a GREAT example of what copyright interferes with. It interferes with the people having a connection to their author. She didn't sit down, writing out the world of HP in a cafe because she knew copyright would protect her work. She did this because she wanted an out. She wasn't turned down by editors that made her change her writing style 10 times until the first book was done because of copyright. NEVER has copyright actually protected an artist.

      When she didn't put her books online, who did? Her fans.
      When her fans made new story tropes to her characters, did she stop them from doing so? Hell no! She sat down, she read the stories and she Jossed the crazy rumors, such as Draco just being misunderstood, the Hermione/Harry fanfics, and the weird rumor about Sirius Black and Lupin the Werewolf being gay, while (*spoiler*) Dumbledore was gay all along (/*spoiler*)

      Did copyright make her more money? No.
      Did copyright give her a fanbase? No.
      Did copyright give her a contract or an incentive to create anything? No.

      And this gets into the next part of my rant. NO ONE is entitled to stop my enjoyment of a book, a piece of music, or anything else. If JK Rowling can't find a way to market her book towards me, she doesn't deserve my money. If her marketing team fails on that end, that's her loss. If the fans want to trade pdfs of technology, it does not cost $150,000 to make a copy. She needs to find a way to make it more enticing for people to give money to her and copyright has NEVER done that.

      Copyright is a contract with the public. One that we hold the terms of negotiation. If someone uses copyright through various means to limit how WE, the people, consume media, then we can choose to accept it, or we can choose to find it elsewhere. DRM does not work. Ask Ubisoft. Filesharing has increased over the years, but the number of people willing to spend money on digital goods has also increased.

      There's no way in hell I'm waiting 20 years, let along 98 years for a song to go out of copyright. If I hear it, and that's copyright infringement, so be it. But there are far too many media content choices in the world to wait for someone to get their act together. They want my money? They've got to earn it.

      Our culture is growing hollow, and they keep making the same movies on the same ideas but this time with aliens, next time with pirates, then zombies, then ninjas... because all of the amazing ideas someone had about using a story they heard as a child... are locked in a closet in a corporate vault, slowly being bled dry to get a few more coins. As they lengthen the time to bleed them more, they still have yet to notice there are no new ideas, no new amazing worlds with new stories to tell, because they took it all away and forbid you to dream about it unless you pay them... again.

      And here, I disagree with you. Art is moving. The ideas are moving away from Hollywood, but it's taking a while. Games are slowly becoming more indie. Smaller, more risky...

      Music is all about the remixers such as Madeon, girltalk, along with the more established people like Jay-Z (a rapper) or Rihanna.

      Movies seem to have gone the way of the webisode. Pioneer One has an interesting premise of having people pay for the next episode along with other scarcities.

      Freddie Wong, a Youtuber has been successful in securing funding for his webisode project.

      And I know copyright seems all well and good, but if this has a shot at funding in the next few days, I would watch it, copyright be damned.

      Ok, I'm finished ranting. I remain positive that more content is being introduced to people all the time. You just have to look for the good stuff.

       

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        That Anonymous Coward (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 2:48am

        Re: Re:

        I see your points, I was working in the more abstract idea of copyright. That the author would be the only one to collect money for their ideas for X time. Not all of the extra added bull that we have tacked on over time. It works better in the picture in my mind when there was only printing presses, and it was a matter of making sure that another printer would not "knock off" the book.

        I most likely have a romantic idea that copyright once upon a time was to make sure someone else would not make a copy of an authors work and deprive them of income.

        But then I hate the mass shakedown copyright lawsuits, but I applaud them going after people doing commercial infringment (not the infringing website thingy the real deal, burning their own dvd's and hocking them on the web/street.)

        The extra burdens and silly shit they do past that about no ebooks, no meeting consumer demand, etc etc... I dislike.

        The system as it is, is horribly mangled and stupid.

        I think girltalk should have the right to sample and remix, and there should not be these massive long drawn out paths of the rights being held by 40 different people for 100's of years.

        There is no benefit for an artist to lock their music away for 20 years, they make no money that way. But like the group that was selling the acoustical soundalike things of the Beatles catalog... they should be shut down for just trying to use the Beatles recordings to profit. (mind you the original copyrights might have been up without the extensions etc etc etc... but for this example pretend the Beatles still had legitimate copyright on the songs).

        Maybe my grasp of copyright isn't exactly perfect, but it was making sense to me.... which is more than how copyright is handled today does....

         

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          Jay (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 8:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "But then I hate the mass shakedown copyright lawsuits, but I applaud them going after people doing commercial infringment (not the infringing website thingy the real deal, burning their own dvd's and hocking them on the web/street.)"

          TAC, have you read rethinking piracy?, the first chapter of Joe Karaganis' "Media piracy" book? It will change you life.

          "I most likely have a romantic idea that copyright once upon a time was to make sure someone else would not make a copy of an authors work and deprive them of income."

          Yes, but I have to be pragmatic here. Copyright is a fight with technology to set up middlemen to profit. It's not the most efficient way to utilize technology by any means. Think about the collection societies that use an artist's name as leverage. Think about how Microsoft makes money off of Google giving away Android and MS' patent infringement cases. Nowadays, the digital fight doesn't "deprive" them of income. When more people gain access to a work, there's more chances people will pay for it, not out of the goodness of their heart, but because they make a decision they want to support the artist. The really good ones always rise to the top. The ones with entitlement complexes languish worse than Sonny Bono with his copyright extension. If copyright has actually helped an artist, I have yet to see any evidence of it. I actually had someone argue that copyright helped an artist who was a victim of Hollywood Accounting. Because he withheld his script for a new movie that "progressed the arts and sciences".

          Yeah, I never took the person seriously after that. Usually, they had a set up diatribe about how copyright is a right of the artist over the consumer. And the consumer lost every time.

          " But like the group that was selling the acoustical soundalike things of the Beatles catalog... they should be shut down for just trying to use the Beatles recordings to profit. (mind you the original copyrights might have been up without the extensions etc etc etc... but for this example pretend the Beatles still had legitimate copyright on the songs)."

          Culture always builds on the past. The Beatles built on the folk songs of US history. Just like the songsters of now built on those of the 90s and beforehand.

          What I want to impress here is that these people created songs and were fans of the Beatles enough to make their own rendition of songs. That should be celebrated. If someone thought it was good, give them money. Does this hurt the Beatles' following? I don't think so. It's like Universal going after DJ Danger Mouse for making the Grey Album, or trying to make someone pay for infringing on copyright $150,000 per song. It makes no sense.

          So for the intents of this mini rant, I'll make a suggestion. If copyright is to act as a socio-economic tool to people enjoying entertainment, we need to take it away. It has been subverted and abused to punish those that create, not assist in making new works. That's to the detriment of all.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:37pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Copyright is a fight with technology to set up middlemen to profit."

            That is quite possibly the single most cynical and incorrect lines I have read on this site, and it takes a whole lot of work to top some of Mike's bullshit.

            You guys keep looking at the musician's flash paper. You are looking where they want you to look, which is a couple of steps down the line. Back up a couple of steps, and you will find singers, song writers, performers, actors, directors, and movie producers trying to make a living, and needing a structured system in which to do it efficiently.

            Copyright provides the structure.

            The "middleman" aspect is bullshit, because middlemen don't just appear out of nowhere. The record labels, the movie distribution companies, they all exist because they are the most efficient means that could be found that is also a relatively global solution. No piecemeal required, they provide methods, systems, and processes that allow the artists to work at being artists, instead of having to be little business men, little miniputt players, or little sidewalk shucksters trying to push their wares.

            Basically, the guy starts with a horrible fucked up premise, and runs with it. You guys are idiots if you buy it.

             

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              Jay (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 9:22pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Aw look, the maximalist is playing smoke and mirrors.

              Let's get right down to it.

              " Back up a couple of steps, and you will find singers, song writers, performers, actors, directors, and movie producers trying to make a living, and needing a structured system in which to do it efficiently"

              Yeah, the "structured system" that you're advocating sure cherry picked those actors, directors, and movie producers while the middlemen got rich. Or is the next thing on your agenda to tell me that RIAA accounting and MPAA Accounting didn't keep profits in corporations instead of the artists and the public?

              "Copyright provides the structure."

              ... That has to be the funniest line that I've seen all day. You get a funny vote for that. Not only does it ignore the fact that exceptions to copyright give a lot more leeway, not only does it ignore all the research that filesharing increases sales and the fact that my first rant shows how it didn't work for JK Rowling, but it shows exactly the type of people that don't understand where the puck is going, merely where it's been (Smith Sundance Speech).

              As I said before, the artists, the movie goers are moving away from giving Hollywood their ideas, instead opting to make them and fund them through the crowd, making the middlemen dynamic of Hollywood obsolete. Unless more of the CEOs of Hollywood and the music industry get it through their heads that the 80s are gone and the digital technology is forcing them to change their jobs, they won't have to worry about being dinosaurs. The people will move around them without the use of copyright enforcement to keep them controlled.


              The record labels, the movie distribution companies, they all exist because they are the most efficient means that could be found that is also a relatively global solution. No piecemeal required, they provide methods, systems, and processes that allow the artists to work at being artists, instead of having to be little business men, little miniputt players, or little sidewalk shucksters trying to push their wares.

              And the internet does a lot to make their jobs as gatekeepers obsolete. Who needs to be a part of Universal if they've got Soundcloud, 10000 mp3s, a few minutes of free time, a vision of the remixes they want to do and places to show off their talents? Does girltalk and deadmau5 need a huge label like that or a smaller one that caters to them? OR do they want to go it alone? Nowadays, the playfield is level, and there are people that connect on Youtube, Veoh, Kickstarter, or a number of places and figure out how to meet up, make movies, music and games while not tied to one place like Hollywood is.

              Most of those "methods" don't do much to help the artist. They do more to help the studios. What happens when they run out of ideas? Oh, that's right...

              They just remix the same old crap when they've run out of ideas.

              Seriously, Charlie's Angels? In this day and age? WTF?

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 10:19pm

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

                Jay, as you have proven to be an asshole in the past, and unable to accept things even when shown to you, there isn't much to say. I can hear your inner freetard leaking out all over your post.

                You join Marcus Carab in the schmuck department.

                 

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                  Jay (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 10:43pm

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

                  Wow, I broke the AC's argument so badly that he can't defend himself. All the AC can do is throw out small insults without backing up his argument!

                   

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                    PaulT (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 3:02am

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

                    That's all he has: launch unsupportable or plain wrong assertions, act smug and then disappear in a cloud of insults ready to do the same in the next thread.

                    He does seem to have switched to directly attacking people in unrelated posts, though. I must have missed what Marcus said for him to keep doing that, as it's at least the 3rd time I've noticed a direct attack!

                     

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            That Anonymous Coward (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 8:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            When I have a chance I will read that chapter, like I plan on reading the history link that Nina shared with me. I find myself pulled in a few to many directions at the moment, most of my efforts are still being diverted to keeping people informed and standing strong in the face of the "presettlement" letters the trolls keep sending them.

            My position on "infringement" hasn't changed.
            I see the no harm no foul of noncommerical (and to be clear I see no issue with a website hosting links to things having advertising to pay their server and bandwidth bills, they are not selling the individual item, but the experience of a site that has a collection of links) sharing and the massive benefits it can bring... to people making quality things.
            I see harm in someone running a dub of Avatar off and then selling that in the marketplace.
            I see no harm in someone owning a copy of Avatar and format shifting it so they can watch it on their phone on the train ride to work, or a parent making a copy of their kids favorite DVD to a hard drive in the kids media center to keep the original from being harmed.
            I would see no harm in that dub of Avatar if it was in the public domain as the copyright on the work expired and someone was keeping it alive in the public domain.

            The acoustical soundalikes I refereed to was a company who ran MP3s of Beatles original recordings through a "system" and claimed that they were new works. They were not done by fans, but by someone with an idea on how to bypass the protections the band should have had on the original work.

            I think that there is a place for fans recording covers of songs, I think there is a place for the work of DangerMouse and I found the Grey Album to be very interesting.

            I think what passes for copyright today is broken and wrong, I do think there needs to be a system that lets the artists be paid exclusively for X time, but after X time they are in the public domain and available for remixes, remakes, re-imaginings.

            I think if we took the teeth out of the middlemen, and showed the artists the real evidence that ebooks will not kill you, that a fan passing this book on to a friend could result in a new fan buying things (if your good), and that this brave new medium opens up a world of new things you can do to create revenue streams you never imagined possible.

            We do not have to call it copyright, but I think the grant of a set period of time where a creator can get exclusive benefits to their work needs to exist. I think they could decide to put it under CC or one of the "other" licenses, but it is their decision. The benefit to the public should then it be becomes part of the public domain after that set period. Some artists will refuse requests from girltalk or DangerMouse to use their works in a new work they are creating, and I think that is perfectly fine. If they want to keep more people from hearing their work it is their loss, but the day it is public domain they don't get a say if someone makes a huge remix album of their work, and the new artist then controls those new creations for that same limited window.

             

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        surfer, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 3:27am

        my take..

        my take on copyright is much more simple. it was designed to support the scribes that made copies of bibles, to ensure accuracy. back in the days when it took 10 scribes a week to create a book/bible/etc. with the advent of the printing press, magnetic recordings, and then digital recordings, copyright is a moot point, no longer required to ensure the scribes that took a week get paid, and even back then, they were religious folk, that only took donations, so in fact, the church held the 'copyright', and sold bibles to build churches to feed homeless, and underprivileged.

        usenet now has a repository larger than the library of congress, and every other library in the civilized world, right at your fingertips. the control of dissemination is gone, the reason for copyright is gone, the acknowledgement, recognition and respect for copyright is gone.

        rest in peace copyright, long live the information age..

         

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          Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 6:59am

          Re: my take..

          You should realize that copyright came about well after the printing press was widely used.

          Gutenberg printing press - around 1440.

          16th century - estimated 200 million books copied with printing presses.

          Statute of Anne - 1709.

           

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      Krusty, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 6:51am

      Re:

      It's all that damn rat's fault. SCREW disney and his stinkin' rat!

       

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      Krusty, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 6:51am

      Re:

      It's all that damn rat's fault. SCREW disney and his stinkin' rat!

       

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      out_of_the_blue, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:17am

      Re: @ That Anonymous Coward:

      "I see nothing wrong with J.K. Rowling having X years of exclusive use of Harry Potter."

      Me, neither, IF limited to X, not constantly extended by moneyed interests.

      "This was a work she put great effort into."

      As usual, so? Farm laborers put great effort into feeding us. We need to be concerned first with /objective/ values, not the luxury of parasites.

      "She is entitled to have the fruits of her labor."

      BUT NOT A THOUSAND TIMES BEYOND ITS VALUE. Mass markets unduly reward. (Could qualify that, but flatly is accurate.) By the way, look into history of "titles", and it's odious, a benefit of lucky birth, not merit, repugnant to all civilization.

      "In return for we the people granting her the exclusive rights for X time, we get" -- Rowling and her heirs forever "entitled" to make demands on laborers, of a thousand times beyond luxury. She's said to have gotten a billion dollars. It ain't reasonable to allow such for writing a book, no matter how popular. We can get her products cheaper by changing the deal to raise taxes on high incomes. Changing the deal is what The Rich do at every opportunity, and always in their favor.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:36am

        Re: Re: @ That Anonymous Coward:

        So do you also think that your tax rate should be set on the year you are born, never to change? Do you think speed limits should be set based on the year the car was made, rather than current laws?

        Shit happens, things change. Grow up and get use to it.

         

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          RadialSkid (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 11:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: @ That Anonymous Coward:

          Shit happens, things change. Grow up and get use to it.

          Oh, the unfettered irony of a copywhiner posting that...

           

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        That Anonymous Coward (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 11:38pm

        Re: Re: @ That Anonymous Coward:

        The system as it currently is, is brokeded.

        I think X needs to be a fixed number. I am not sure what X should be, that needs to be a debate between the artists and the people not the middlemen.

        The books and other material she sold was lapped up by people netting her the billions dollars in marketing. Her side set a price and people were willing to pay it, no one held a gun to anyones head to buy that harry potter themes footie pajamas. If she clears a billion she clears a billion.

        I do not have sour grapes for them making money, I wonder how much more they could have made if they had not clamped down like they had.

        She can set her price at $5000 a book, if the market pays her... the market pays her. But in X years, someone could stumble across the world containing Hogworts and spin a new story of young wizards and she has nothing to say about it.

        You also have to consider some of her money was made on trademarks on items and other things well beyond the realm of copyright.

         

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      Atkray (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:55am

      Re:

      Where X = Roman numeral representing 10

      Sounds acceptable. Not necessarily reasonable, but acceptable.

       

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        Ron Rezendes (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 10:31am

        Re: Re:

        I don't even think 15 or 20 would be too far of a stretch, honestly. However, I'd also prefer 10 years on copyright.

        Someone here had a link here showing that 90+% of income on copyrighted works occurs during the first 10 years after publication.

        (Please re-post that link if you would be so kind!)

        If that number is 95+% I would think 10 years is plenty of time for copyright, if it actually takes 20 years to get to 95% then that would seem reasonable as well. The idea behind my preferred length of copyright is not to punish or take things from the creators, it is to have these works put into the public domain in a reasonable amount of time so that humanity can actually enjoy them before a generation or two has come and gone and the works are essentially lost culture because they have been locked away for far too long. Copyright doesn't guarantee sales, nor should it be branded as a sword to slash away at our current culture which is somewhat defined by the very works themselves.

        Let the creators make their money in a reasonable amount of time.

        Let society have its culture in a reasonable amount of time.

        If this can't be done inside of 20 years then the world will solve the issue on their own and resistance will be futile - it will happen whether anyone wants it to or not

         

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    Tor (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 1:02am

    Impact assessment

    Here are some quotes from the impact assessment of the term extension by the European Commission:

    many recordings that are not available in retail stores due to limited shelf space can now be made available online. Older or niche European repertoire will be more widely available. While it might be expected that public domain companies would make more recordings available, this has not been the case.
    The impact on consumer choice is also expected to be positive. In the long run, this is because a term extension will benefit cultural diversity by ensuring the availability of resources to fund and develop new talent
    it should be noted that public domain companies do not release their sound recordings on the internet, but instead only sell them as CDs.
    The impact on the quality of the products and services offered to consumers might also be positive. Although competition in offering public domain sound recordings might increase their quality, it is not clear that this is the case.
    The impact of on consumer prices is expected to be minimal. (...) The various pricing models of online music clearly show that whether a sound recording is in or out of copyright is not a relevant factor to determine consumer prices.

    So you see, according to the commission everything is fine. Because of the term extension there will be more cultural diversity, better online services and no negative effects on the price or availability of old music. The only one having the ability to make works available seems to be the record companies and even though nobody will suffer increased costs the report says that performers and record labels could earn a lot more money (it's funny how the kind of creativity that copyright spurs often seem to be creative accounting...)

    It's strange that this report says that relating the protection to the life span of performers would lead to big administrative burden, but it doesn't mention with one word the problems brought up in The Guardian.

    The only negative effect is described in one sentence: ("The impact on digital libraries and other similar services would be negative."), but the report then goes on to say that that flexible solutions to those problems can be found on an ad hoc basis.

    Btw. I find the last quote about consumer prices interesting. It's a bit like saying that if a fitness center suddenly sees the cost of equipment go up by 50%, that won't affect the prices for customers since the they pay for the access to the center and not the equipment itself. As if the cost of running a business wouldn't affect the consumer prices.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 2:33am

      Re: Impact assessment

      "many recordings that are not available in retail stores due to limited shelf space can now be made available online.'

      Wow, I might as well have stopped there. There's absolutely nothing that copyright does to allow this that can't be done with public domain material.

      "it should be noted that public domain companies do not release their sound recordings on the internet, but instead only sell them as CDs."

      Are they really trying to suggest that all non-PD material is available online? Are they saying that because one holder of a PD recording doesn't decide to release said recording online, that somehow stops others from doing so?

      I'm getting the feeling they don't even know what public domain means, let alone its impact... If they're trying to get more material released online legally, extension of copyright must be a surefire way to hinder that, not help it.

       

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        JEDIDIAH, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 4:01am

        Re: Re: Impact assessment

        Of course as soon as a work goes into the public domain, it requires only a SINGLE enthusiastic preservationist. Quality may vary, but the content at least has a fighting chance of seeing the light of day.

        The more modern the copy, the easier the task of preservation will be.

        If copyright were rolled back today, there would be a lot of useful legal torrents tomorrow.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 5:55am

    Actually, this doesn't appear to be an issue of copyright, as much as an issue of someone failing to properly secure the rights and to form some sort of "artist collective" to manage them.

    Instead, by having poorly written contracts and by creating a boondoggle when it comes to trying to re-secure rights, they are the ones who screwed it up.

    It isn't a copyright issue - it's a bad contract issue.

     

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      The eejit (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 6:11am

      Re:

      Why can't it be both?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 6:23am

        Re: Re:

        With properly done contracts, copyright wouldn't be an issue.

        If the musicians had been grouped into a collective of some sort, and they all signed their rights to the collective, then it would be a simple case of asking the collective for permission to re-issue, which would likely be forthcoming, because it would bring more money into the members (or would make them happy to hear it again).

        The terms of the original contract, and the concept of having somewhere in the range of 100 unique contracts with the musicians is just stupid.

        The expiry of copyright would have served to terminate the stupid contracts, but it wouldn't change the nature of the original problem, the contracts themselves.

        There isn't much to blame on copyright here, except that the extensions happen to highlight the stupidity of the original contracts.

         

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          PaulT (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 6:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Ah, I was wondering how you people would spin this one.

          "It's not our fault for extending copyright at the expense of works like this. It's the orchestra's for not predicting the current mess and creating contracts accordingly".

          Pretty pathetic, especially since any contracts would be a moot issue had terms stayed the same as they were when the piece was originally recorded.

          Now, apparently, artists have to be able to predict the future lest works rightfully made available to the public domain 34 years after their death (in the case of Leopold Stokowski) run into problems due to money grubbing idiots.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Paul, please. Your quote isn't at all what I said, and rather insulting too. That isn't the point at all.

            Rather, if you look at the contract on it's face, it was doomed up front to fail. It was extremely limited, and limited the ability for the work to be reproduced through the years regardless of copyright extension. The mess of the last 50 years has nothing to do with extension, and everything to do with horrible contracts.

            They don't have to predict the future, that is bullshit and you know it. A bad contract is a bad contract, no matter what. If copyright was 20 years, the bad contract would have fucked it up for 20 years. At 40 years, it fucks it up for 40 years. It isn't copyright's fault that these people made truly horrible contracts.

            It's like the whole WKRP thing - in order to cur corners and save a few bucks, the took a lesser license and didn't assume anyone would want the show in the future. It is a poor choice of contract terms by people who didn't think and didn't care past their immediate needs. That isn't copyright's fault, that is the fault of bad contracts and bad choices.

            If you are going to blame copyright for something, at least let it be a problem with copyright, and not a problem with contracts.

             

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              PaulT (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 8:03am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Your quote isn't at all what I said, and rather insulting too. "

              Aw, did I hurt your feelings? You'll probably get back at me in another thread when you're back to accusing me of being a thief again... Never mind, anyone with common sense knows I was paraphrasing.

              "If copyright was 20 years, the bad contract would have fucked it up for 20 years. At 40 years, it fucks it up for 40 years."

              I wonder, were such "collectives" you advocate common at the time, or have they only recently been used to overcome the problems associated with long term copyright? I'll admit that I don't know much about the classical side of things. It just seems strange that a group of over 100 musicians should have been expected to draw up contracts that were future-proof on a technology that was still in relative infancy, and it's *their* fault that the terms have been extended.

              Even assuming you're correct (and again, you, seem to place more focus on lawyers than those actually creating content), then the issue *should* be moot. The contract would have messed things up until last year, at which time the public domain as agreed at the time those contracts were signed takens over. It should not still apply, except for the fact that copyright has been extended past its original agreed date.

              You're advocating for material to be removed from the public domain and rendered unreleasable because some people had contracts in 1960 that don't stand up today.

              "That isn't copyright's fault, that is the fault of bad contracts and bad choices."

              The extension of copyright is the only reason said contracts still stand. They should have expired (and did expire) last year on this recording, but have been extended because copyright was.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 11:11am

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

                "You're advocating for material to be removed from the public domain"

                I am doing no such thing.

                Honestly Paul, if you cannot read what I am saying without adding a bunch of shit that I am not saying, it is sort of meaningless to keep going. Clearly, I could say anything here, and you will come back and call me a copyright maximalist scum shill for the mafiaa types, blah blah blah.

                I don't advocate anything here. I just want the blame assigned in the right place (shitty contracts) rather than copyright itself.

                The contracts the musicians signed were stupid because they significantly limited the use of the material, effectively blocking it from re-issue or reuse for the entire term of copyright (which was still 40-50 years at the time) and for whatever reason didn't have provisions to allow for revisions to be made without 100% of the original parties signing an addendum. It's absolute insanity.

                Blame them for keeping the music out of your hands for 50 years. They are the ones to blame.

                 

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                  PaulT (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 12:05pm

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

                  "I am doing no such thing."

                  Except you are. Your entire point appears to be (and correct me if I'm wrong) that if a musician enters into an unfair agreement when signing a contract, then tough shit for the future.

                  Normally this would be OK - not good, but typical M.O. for the music industry. But as evidenced above, there are attempts to infinitely extend copyright. A few months ago, it didn't matter what the contract was, the music would be in the public domain. Then it was public domain. Now, it isn't again, and those musicians aren't exactly able to negotiate another contract. After 20 more years, do you think that further extensions won't be levied? It's unlikely, given recent history.

                  "I just want the blame assigned in the right place (shitty contracts) rather than copyright itself."

                  But, again, you miss the point. The contracts may or may not be bad, but it's completely irrelevant once the material itself is in the public domain. Nobody cares what contracts Shakespeare may or may not have signed, they just enjoy his works (and those derived from them).

                  "effectively blocking it from re-issue or reuse for the entire term of copyright (which was still 40-50 years at the time)"

                  Again *at the time*. The condutor who died 34 years ago could not have known that copyright would have been extended to this point, even if he agreed with the original contract. You're now advocating that his work be removed from the public domain for a further 20 years... why? Because his lawyers in 1960 weren't up to scratch?

                  "you will come back and call me a copyright maximalist scum shill for the mafiaa types"

                  I'll wait for you to do something different than call me a thief. I've never advocated piracy. You, on the other hand, seem to assume anyone with a legitimate gripe against DRM, regional licensing or the endless extensions to copyright just has to be a thief. Again, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I am.

                  Oh, and feel free to quote where I said "MAFIAA". Maybe I have in a moment of jest, but you can research. On the other hand, you're an AC so I can't directly quote you. How convenient, even though I'm pretty sure I know what you're already said (attitude and grammar help identify repeat posters in many ways).

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:43pm

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

                    "Except you are. Your entire point appears to be (and correct me if I'm wrong) that if a musician enters into an unfair agreement when signing a contract, then tough shit for the future."

                    What the fuck?

                    They didn't enter into an "unfair agreement", they entered into one that was strictly limited (to their benefit, no doubt), but setup in such a way that a single recording has 100+ separate contracts attached to it. Nobody in their right mind can go back 30 years later and try to track down each of them of their heirs to get a waiver for additional releases.

                    It's not an unfair contract, it is a contractual situation that was poorly structured and poorly thought out. At the time it didn't matter, likely because they didn't think the recording would have any value past those initial uses. They didn't say "fuck the future", they just never thought of it.

                    " You, on the other hand, seem to assume anyone with a legitimate gripe against DRM, regional licensing or the endless extensions to copyright just has to be a thief. Again, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I am."

                    I can correct you if you are wrong, because you are wrong. You can have all the gripes you want, but in the end, the copyright holder should have the right to license and sell their work where they want, when they want, and under the restrictions they choose (within the boundries of the law) and you shouldn't say boo about it. If something isn't available in your region, well, tough titties. That it their decision. Move along.

                    It isn't a question of "you are a thief", rather it is a question of being disrespectful of the rights owners, the creators, the people who paid to make it. It's their choice, you need to learn to respect it properly.

                     

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                      Jay (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 12:59am

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

                      "It isn't a question of "you are a thief", rather it is a question of being disrespectful of the rights owners, the creators, the people who paid to make it. It's their choice, you need to learn to respect it properly"

                      Meanwhile, those that utilize alternative methods of funding find ways to fund projects without looking like selfish brats with entitlement issues...

                       

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                      PaulT (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 2:08am

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

                      "It's not an unfair contract, it is a contractual situation that was poorly structured and poorly thought out."

                      So, now you're back to arguing semantics. Let's skip what the problem was with the contract itself, since I'm only addressing what you say, and you're not going into specifics. Let's boil this down to the basic point being made:

                      It wouldn't matter how fair, structured or thought-out (or otherwise) the contract was if public domain was still in place as it was in 1960. It's been extended retroactively without the consent of any of the interested parties in this case, and as a direct result the work is being removed from the public for a further 20 years. Presumably with infinite options to extend, knowing your lot.

                      In response to this, you don't address (and appear to support) the issue of works being retroactively removed from the public domain. You instead attack the licences signed in 1960. But, these should not be relevant. Whatever the quality of the contracts signed, they were signed with an understanding that by this point in history, the work would be public domain.

                      "That it their decision. Move along."

                      It's also my option not to pay them, but every time I've done that I've been called a pirate and worse by idiots like you.

                      "It isn't a question of "you are a thief", rather it is a question of being disrespectful of the rights owners, "

                      ...and once again, since you're completely unable to understand simple terms:

                      I DO!

                      Is that simple enough for you? But, apparently to watch my rights being eroded and the rights of artists being thrown away retroactively is "disrespectful".

                      If that's your point, you're wrong. All I try to do is point out the mistakes that lose your industry money, and your comeback is that I should just shut up and be glad to pay them for the lower quality product they offer me. Screw that.

                       

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:06am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Hence the extensions and copyright highlights the urgent need for piracy to preserve works for future generations.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 6:28am

    just classical music?

    copyright has been harming art in general since ever ago

     

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      Richard (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:10am

      Re:

      since ever ago
      Since 1556 actually (with the exception of a few years in the 1640's and around 1700!)

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 9:13am

      Re:

      Copyright has NOT hurt Aristotle, Plato, Ulysses, Socrates, Rembrandt, Rubens, Beethoven, Brahms, etc. including all creators up to approximately the birth of Mr. Gutenberg.

      The only folks who get 'hurt' by relaxing copyright are the various sorts of 'publishers' AKA 'copyright trolls'.

       

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    out_of_the_blue, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 6:47am

    "How Copyright Extension Is Harming Classical Music"

    No, Mike, this is one of your characteristic INflations. "Music" is NOT harmed by some recordings being locked up. ALL that's NOT happening is that a few people aren't able to hear those particular recordings. -- Well, and that this company isn't able to GRIFT on those!

    As for the /music/: a recording doesn't exactly keep it alive -- nor is anything but physical preservation somewhere needed.

    IF this company is SO concerned about /music/ and /musicians/, they can hire a hall and musicians, make their own recording, and give it away!

    But nope, easy MONEY by mining past treasures is the real goal. It's grifting, just like on TV (according to Firesign Theatre), "The Graverobber's Roadshow"

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:04am

      Re: "How Copyright Extension Is Harming Classical Music"

      How do you get a dead Maestro to come play an epic one of a kind piece just like he played on the original?

      We are not talking creation here, we are talking preservation and spread of culture.

       

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:05am

      Re: "How Copyright Extension Is Harming Classical Music"

      *stares and blinks*
      I might not have a firm grasp on copyright, but you really have lost touch with reality.

      IF this company is SO concerned about /music/ and /musicians/, they can hire a hall and musicians, make their own recording, and give it away!


      They are talking about a specific performance by a specific conductor with a specific orchestra. This is not something that can be recreated, but in your flat version of the world.

      Anyone who wants to keep public domain things available is grifting... and your defending an industry that still charges artists the fee for the breakage of VINYL ALBUMS for things that are sold digitally or on CD.

      *stares and blinks*

       

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      Richard (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:07am

      Re: "How Copyright Extension Is Harming Classical Music"

      As for the /music/: a recording doesn't exactly keep it alive -- nor is anything but physical preservation somewhere needed.

      The evidence is that record companies don't even bother to physically preserve their stuff. One company dumped all its old master disc into the foundations of its new building!

      Your assault on the companies who do valuable work by restoring old recordings and making them available to the public is uncalled for, wrong and in bad taste.

      I have on my shelf a number of classical recordings that I bought years ago , which, as the law stands until this is enacted in the UK, I am currently free to use however I wish. I regard this as a fair reward for a) buying the disk all those years ago under terms that said I would get full rights after 50 years and b) keeping the disks in good condition.

      Why should this right be stolen from me at the stroke of a bureaucrat's pen and on the behest of some selfish racording companies and wealthy megastars (guilty Paul McCartney and Clif Richard) ?

       

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      PaulT (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:13am

      Re: "How Copyright Extension Is Harming Classical Music"

      Yes! They should just re-hire Stokowski and create a new recording. Wait, not only would that not sound the same, I doubt his conducting ability's up to snuff right now...

      Or, maybe you're just saying that all original artists' recording effort is irrelevant, they can just re-record and it'll sound exactly the same?

      As ever, you people are confused.

      "But nope, easy MONEY by mining past treasures is the real goal."

      Yep, grifters like Summit (how much did they pay Alexandre Dumas for their new Three Musketeers movie, I wonder?) and, well, pretty much every classical orchestra.

      Is that what you're claiming? That everyone using one of Beethoven's compositions or Shakespeare's plays is "grifting"?

       

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    Richard (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 6:59am

    But nope, easy MONEY by mining past treasures is the real goal. It's grifting, just like .....

    DISNEY

     

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      Rikuo (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 11:12am

      Re:

      Thank you! Hopefully that will cause OotB to pause and think for a bit. S/he's actually one of the better debaters on the side of copyright, just that s/he really needs to think carefully about what they believe and write it down in a coherent manner.
      OotB - You argued that these guys shouldn't get easy money by mining Public Domain music. But that's exactly what Disney does. The ultimate manipulators/abusers of copyright law grift their content straight from the public domain. How come you aren't calling them out?

       

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    DNY (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:10am

    irony, or lack thereof

    In a European context, there is no irony.

    It is only in the American context that the harmful effects of the present copyright regime contain any irony. After all, the Constitutional basis for American copyright and patent law is provided by

    Article I, Section 8, Clause 8: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

    The way Congress has behaved since they passed the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act", one would think the clause read "To impede the Progress of Science and the useful Arts, by securing for indefinitely extendible Times to Commercial Interests and estates the exclusive Right to the Writings and Discoveries of Authors and Inventors."

    In America the harmful effects are ironic, since they provide an argument for the unconstitutionality of the law. In Europe, it's just crony capitalism as usual.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 8:09am

    I think Hollywood has the solution to all of this, we need a reboot of copyright law.

     

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    iBelieve, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 9:28am

    BOYCOTT

    If these lawyers acting in bad faith and are entirely acting on behalf of the labels rather than the music makers(Who Are Supreme to this planet for the enjoyment they bring and their messages they bring to the masses via the internet) as well as physical media, then let them all boycott these ~labels and Big money influences and lets all settle this once and for all. Lets change the way music is brought into this world. Good God, I haven't heard a song I like from a lawyer in about .. lets see, a godzillion years.. They don't own the internet. The more these true musical geniuses share with their fans and newcomers alike, the more they will profit, if the music ~is music. The more we will rope these profiteers into line with what is really important to see that the music gets played and the artists get paid. Thank you.

     

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    •  
      icon
      PaulT (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 12:12pm

      Re: BOYCOTT

      The problem is, I tired boycotting. Then I spent the next decade arguing against idiots who assumed I must be stealing from them...

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Paul Keating, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 11:26am

    The WORST OF IT.

    The worst of this is that the statute as I read it is not clear as to what happens to works that have already passed into the public domain under the old law. We have already seen decisions by EU courts that have taken public domain material and placed it back under the copyright regime. I fear that this is by far the worst because artists who used works that were previously in the PD now must contend with being restricted.

     

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