Horror Of Horrors: Rock Music To Hit The Public Domain In Europe

from the lock-the-doors!--hide-your-daughters! dept

While the US locks up copyrighted works for longer than could possibly be reasonable thanks to our friends at the Walt Disney Company and the Sonny Bono “Keep Mickey Locked Up” Act, over in Europe they have dared to go with a horrifying 50 year copyright. Why is it horrifying? Well, it appears that fifty years ago popular rock and roll began, and that means plenty of those songs are about to hit the public domain. Of course, the music industry folks could never let that happen, which is why they’re lobbying hard for a Sonny Bono copyright term extension act of their own, because the thought of Elvis Presley’s or the Beatles songs entering the public domain scares the living daylights out of the industry. They’ve convinced Reuters to write up a very one-sided piece that never talks to anyone who might point out why there’s a limit on the length of copyright, and how stuff in the public domain is important to our culture. Is anyone over in Europe complaining about how Shakespeare’s works are in the public domain? However, Reuters digs up some random musician to say: “It’s scary.” It’s scary? This is a musician who is on “a 37-date sold-out tour.” You’re on a sold out tour, making plenty of money, and you’re complaining that you won’t get your royalties from something you did fifty years ago? In most lines of business, you get paid for what you’re doing today, not what you did fifty years ago. Update: Ernest Miller points out that if the entire point of copyright is to incentivize people to create, then no one should care. The material was created already, so it worked: “I can safely say that extending copyright for existing recordings is highly unlikely to incentivize the creation of more music in the 1950s and 60s.”

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Comments on “Horror Of Horrors: Rock Music To Hit The Public Domain In Europe”

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Factory says:

No Subject Given

“I can safely say that extending copyright for existing recordings is highly unlikely to incentivize the creation of more music in the 1950s and 60s.”

That’s dodging the point, the issue is how affecting copyright will affect music being made today, the theory being that longer copyrights will encourage music production, and shorter copyrights will retard music production.

Of course as the material gets older it looses value, and the value of the protection decreases, they giving a law of diminishing returns effect to the extension of copyright.

hanzie says:

Everywhere in Europe...?

Quaint. You see, I live in Belgium, which I still believe to be in Europe. And in Belgium, artistic works are protected until 70 years after the author dies.

So the Beatles’ great-great-grandchildren can rest assured. Even if Macca and Ringo (assuming they actually co-wrote anything and are still alive) keeled over dead tonight, no Beatles songs would enter the public domain until 2074. Yes, we’re all very progressive in Europe…

Quick extra note: Copyright law is pretty much determined by international law (treaties and stuff), and I know for a fact that the rule is the same in the Netherlands. Odds are that other European countries are equally “free thinking”. :-/

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