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
    Ethan Bauley, 26 Jan 2007 @ 7:07pm

    Can we put an end to this??

    Liberty Dave,

    If you want to get up to speed on the point of copyright from a third party, please, please read the introduction and the first couple chapters of "Free Culture" by Lawrence Lessig, probably the preeminent IP lawyer in the universe, and a law professor at Standford.

    This very readable treatise on the point of copyright is available for free in pdf format here:

    Free-Culture.org

    You will really enjoy reading this. Really fascinating for someone argumentative like yourself.


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