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
    Liberty Dave, 26 Jan 2007 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Re: Replying

    Ah yes, see I wasn't thinking in the terms you are. I agree with you that it would be bad for society if someone were to have the ability to copyright certain chords progressions, or scales. Just like if a programmer try to copyright certain keys on the keyboard or something crazy like that.

    That would be an abuse of they system for sure.

    I guess this article from the Cato institute sums up the difficulty with copyright law:

    I was thinking in more general terms, not the specific terms you are thinking. I was thinking, this entire post, only of whole songs, whole pieces of work, as it's generally accepted by law.

    We could all be silly and say what if's, such as "what if a car manufacturer wanted to copyright the roll up window?" or "What if a home builder wanted to copyright a door that opens on hinges"? That would obviously be an abuse to the majority of people, and would be very detrimental to society.

    I'm talking about Led Zepplin for example, their song Stairway to Heaven...after 50 years if a company wants to use that song in a commercial they should still have to pay royalties to the bad, or their company (i'm not sure how they're set up legally). And the original post made it seem like you, and others, were against this idea, which is why I was so loudly against it.

    But I certainly agree with you about the abuse that can occur, according to your examples in post #91.

    Of course artists, lawyers, corporations etc will continue to try and push the envelope, as many of your past posts have pointed out. So it's still going to be attempted, which is sad, but hopefully your posts can continue to point out these crazy lawsuits and raise the alarm to at least some people, get them talking about it.

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