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
    Leo, 26 Jan 2007 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Copyright debate

    "So again, you think that other people should be able to determine the worth of someone's work?"

    It is always other people that determine the worth of someones work. That is how a free market functions, your able to charge what people are willing to pay.

    I don't think that anyone is saying that artists shouldn't be paid for their work, but they should continue to work for payment. If their song is truly so great people will be willing to pay for them to perform it as opposed to other people copying. They might also pay for personal appearances and other things that can't be copied by others.

    Allowing works to go to the public domain greatly increases the worth to the public. Other people are be able to work with it, interpret it and use it in ways the original artist hadn't thought of. All this can also increase the value of the work to the original artist by generating interest in their current work.

    I work in a creative profession and feel I have an inkling of how creative people think. I don't work here because of great pay (it's not) I work here becuase it's what I would be doing whether or not I was getting paid. If I created something that was wildly popular now, great! If I have nothing new to offer 50 years down the road I would be ashamed to still be milking that old creation while not making use of it myself.

    Lastly, we aren't specifically talking about music but about copyright which applies to many things.

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