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 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright debate

    "The way you say this is so innocent, like someone saying "it's for the general welfare". Again, that's very dangerous, and completely the opposite of saying what you started out with"

    Yes, it is somewhat innocent but it isn't opposite my previous statement. It simply addresses different issues.

    "we as the great government body will take your work and allow other people to have it free of charge,"

    The government is not taking your work away. Ending copyright protection is actually decreasing government intervention and protection. Copyright is not an inherent right that governments must step on to eradicate but is a government granted right to protect the artist's interests and promote creation of new material.

    "Why should anyone else have the right to take something from you that you created and let people have it for free without your consent?"

    They aren't taking anything from me, I'm giving it to them. It's the government's intervention that doesn't allow them to use it how they wish. If I don't want people to have it I should never have performed it publicly.

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