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 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: copyright is your right

    I suggest you go learn a little bit about copyright law, because this is false both in theory and in practice.

    And I think the current copyright law is wrong, if it isn't true that something you created doesn't belong to you.

    I don't know why you brought the argument of the chair into this, I think it's pretty much established that selling music and selling a chair have completely different agreements with the seller and buyer. If I sell you a chair, it's understood that you own the chair, I no longer have any claim to it, and is proven by your receipt in a court of law.

    Music on the other hand, works of art, digital creations such as photography, are different.

    And just because current law supports one thing doesn't make it right, either. So whether or not someone reads up on copyright law doesn't matter if you disagree with that law and think it should be changed, or at least debated, which we are doing here peacefully (which is my favorite way of debating).

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