Copyright Is Not A Welfare System For Musicians

from the please-explain dept

As the battle over copyright term extension is still going on in the UK, the Register has an interview with a former general manager of Motown, talking about how those in favor of extending the length of performance rights screwed up because they had successful musicians like Cliff Richard as the figurehead for the movement, leading people to question why a successful musician needs any more money. Instead, he points out that they should have focused on the studio musicians or less well known players where "500 quid a year to them that's a significant amount of money." Of course, that bases the entire argument on the idea that copyright is some sort of welfare program for content creators. It's not. It's very clearly laid out purpose is simply to put in place the incentives for creation of new content. The content that was created 50 years ago does not need any more incentive to be created. Yes, additional money to these musicians probably would be nice for them, but copyright isn't designed as a system to support musicians. They did this work 50 years ago. They got paid then, and they've been paid for it for 50 years, as the law stated. It was enough incentive for them back then -- and it's one of the few jobs in the world where you get paid for work you did 50 years ago. If we want to create a welfare system for musicians, that's a different discussion -- but don't try to hide a welfare system in copyright.

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  1. identicon
    Mar Onni, 26 Jan 2007 @ 3:52pm

    Re: Rob is right, Mike is wrong, royalties forever

    Please, please, PLEASE:

    Our Culture has been made putting one brick over another one, and that could be done because cultural bricks passed, after certain time, to public domain and free use.

    Holding control and grasping revenues from cultural items FOREVER would suppose the cultural death of a society.

    All music written in pentagram (99.99%) should pay to the monks who developed the latter. And all musician who works with the terms "Octave" or "third" should ask Pitagoras' heirs for permission.
    The "Nike" brand would have its copyright in Athens (Greece, of course).
    Is any trash-food chain paying the city of Hamburg for selling "Hamburgers"?
    Should all major "Maionese" brands, including Hellman's, pay royalties to the small city of Mahon (Spain) in wich it was developed, and after wich is named?
    Nearly 80% uf u.s. gov't buildings should pay (and ask for permission to be built) to the city of Rome (Italy) for the architectural models. Soon afterwards, Rome would be sued by Athens, Athens by Knossos, and so on.
    In the end, nearly ALL machinery should pay iraquis, heirs of Babylon, for using the WHEEL, something that NEVER will stop producing profits.

    That's, above impractical, just nonsense.

    As is nonsense that the royalties from my Beatles' cd's have gone to Michael Jackson, who owns them: royalties should ONLY be paid to the creators and, perhaps their most direct heirs.

    Less greedy societies came to ways to compensate social and cultural creators without forbidding the cultural evolution of its creations.

    Culture is not just a product, and only societies that donĀ“t respect it, treat it that way.


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