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 @ 10:21am

    Sales argument

    Hey Anonymous,

    Yes, I believe that unless specifically specified, as it is in music, movies, art work, etc, that it's understood that you own the product and never have to pay anything ever again to use it.

    is it right for one person to make something, sell it and get paid years after the sale while someone else doesn't? that's the real argument. what makes artists different from programmers, carpenters welders...and so on?

    This question just boggles my mind, that so many of you ask. The difference between most artists and a carpenter, or programmer, is that most artists have a stipulation with their artwork, and I think in most states and countries it's treated that way be default, that you cannot use that creative work for commercial uses. If a carpenter put that stipulation on their work they wouldn't get hired anywhere. It's like comparing apples to oranges. They're two completely different types of transactions. They're two completely different types of products. Do you go around trying to set limits on what a carpenter should be allowed to make at his/her job? Or programmers? No, consumers make that choice by voting with their money when purchasing or not purchasing a product/service.

    Also, with software, there are stipulations that you have to purchase the software on a per user basis, or per server, or whatever. Some software allows you to use it for free, but not for commercial purposes. It doesn't matter how much time has passed...if you break that agreement you will owe them money and be sued, if caught.

    Again, if you don't agree with the terms of the sale, don't buy it. No one has the right to declare or change the terms of sale after it's completed. That would be disastrous for everyone.

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