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 @ 11:04am

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

    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.

    I agree with what you say about ending copyright protection, to a degree. I don't think the government should have anything to do with copyright protection, I think people should be free to enter into any contract with another person however they want. However, with something like music, artwork, or movies, since it can be played over the air for others to hear, they need some protection so other people can't use it for commercial purposes to make themselves money without you getting any compensation.

    That's very nice of you if you wish to just give your music away for free, but maybe other people don't want to do that. If a movie or company making a commercial decide to use your music and not give you any money, and you're fine with that, ok. But they should not be able to use any artist's work and profit off of it without payment to the artist. They are the creators of that work. It's wrong to take that away from them.

    You say they're not taking anything away from you, but this isn't about you specifically. You should be free to charge whatever you want for work you created, whether it's writing a book, creating a movie, or singing a song, or playing music you created. If you want to give it away for free, go ahead. If you want to charge for it, go ahead and do that.

    The government is not taking your work away. Ending copyright protection is actually decreasing government intervention and protection.
    That's like saying ending laws that protect your property from being taken from you by someone else is decreasing government intervention and protection. Government should protect people's person and property from theft, damage from others, and fraud. If you create music, artwork, a movie, a book, a piano, a table...whatever it is no one has the right to take it from you without paying for it, unless you give it away of your own free will.

    If I don't want people to have it I should never have performed it publicly. I have a problem with this philosophy. You're saying that it's okay to create something, but as soon as others hear it, too bad so sad now it's theirs to do with what they want, I'm not entitled to anything. I guess we have to agree to disagree. I support laws that give a creator entitlement to their creations, to charge what they want for it's use, for as long as they live (I won't go into a detailed explanation of passing on their creations to someone else). I think it's very wrong to say that you own something as long as you keep it secret, but as soon as others hear it it's no longer yours.

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